15 June 2006

I didn't mean calendar time

[source, source]

A review of Friedman’s punditry reveals a long series of similar do-or-die dates that never seem to get any closer.

“The next six months in Iraq–which will determine the prospects for democracy-building there–are the most important six months in U.S. foreign policy in a long, long time.” (New York Times, 11/30/03)

“What I absolutely don’t understand is just at the moment when we finally have a UN-approved Iraqi-caretaker government made up of–I know a lot of these guys–reasonably decent people and more than reasonably decent people, everyone wants to declare it’s over. I don’t get it. It might be over in a week, it might be over in a month, it might be over in six months, but what’s the rush? Can we let this play out, please?” (NPR’s Fresh Air, 6/3/04)

“What we’re gonna find out, Bob, in the next six to nine months is whether we have liberated a country or uncorked a civil war.” (CBS’s Face the Nation, 10/3/04)

“Improv time is over. This is crunch time. Iraq will be won or lost in the next few months. But it won’t be won with high rhetoric. It will be won on the ground in a war over the last mile.” (New York Times, 11/28/04)

“I think we’re in the end game now… I think we’re in a six-month window here where it’s going to become very clear and this is all going to pre-empt I think the next congressional election–that’s my own feeling– let alone the presidential one.” (NBC’s Meet the Press, 9/25/05)

“Maybe the cynical Europeans were right. Maybe this neighborhood is just beyond transformation. That will become clear in the next few months as we see just what kind of minority the Sunnis in Iraq intend to be. If they come around, a decent outcome in Iraq is still possible, and we should stay to help build it. If they won’t, then we are wasting our time.” (New York Times, 9/28/05)

“We’ve teed up this situation for Iraqis, and I think the next six months really are going to determine whether this country is going to collapse into three parts or more or whether it’s going to come together.” (CBS’s Face the Nation, 12/18/05)

“We’re at the beginning of I think the decisive I would say six months in Iraq, OK, because I feel like this election–you know, I felt from the beginning Iraq was going to be ultimately, Charlie, what Iraqis make of it.” (PBS’s Charlie Rose Show, 12/20/05)

“The only thing I am certain of is that in the wake of this election, Iraq will be what Iraqis make of it–and the next six months will tell us a lot. I remain guardedly hopeful.” (New York Times, 12/21/05)

“I think that we’re going to know after six to nine months whether this project has any chance of succeeding. In which case, I think the American people as a whole will want to play it out or whether it really is a fool’s errand.” (Oprah Winfrey Show, 1/23/06)

“I think we’re in the end game there, in the next three to six months, Bob. We’ve got for the first time an Iraqi government elected on the basis of an Iraqi constitution. Either they’re going to produce the kind of inclusive consensual government that we aspire to in the near term, in which case America will stick with it, or they’re not, in which case I think the bottom’s going to fall out.” (CBS, 1/31/06)

“I think we are in the end game. The next six to nine months are going to tell whether we can produce a decent outcome in Iraq.” (NBC’s Today, 3/2/06)

“Can Iraqis get this government together? If they do, I think the American public will continue to want to support the effort there to try to produce a decent, stable Iraq. But if they don’t, then I think the bottom is going to fall out of public support here for the whole Iraq endeavor. So one way or another, I think we’re in the end game in the sense it’s going to be decided in the next weeks or months whether there’s an Iraq there worth investing in. And that is something only Iraqis can tell us.” (CNN, 4/23/06)

“Well, I think that we’re going to find out, Chris, in the next year to six months–probably sooner–whether a decent outcome is possible there, and I think we’re going to have to just let this play out.” (MSNBC’s Hardball, 5/11/06)

As others have noted, the problem isn’t that Friedman says this over and over, but that he’s considered an expert for doing so.

Posted by orbital at 3:35 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Be careful what you ask for

[source, source]

Adriana Gil braved death threats, public insults and social ostracism to campaign for Evo Morales in Bolivia’s conservative eastern region during the presidential election last year. She now feels “betrayed” by the ruling Movement Toward Socialism, which expelled her and invaded her family’s land.

The only question here is, was Gil too ditzy to understand what she was supporting, or cynical enough to think she could get herself and family exempted from the fate planned for others in her class? I suspect the former, because later in the article it’s clear that she still doesn’t see the connection.

Posted by orbital at 1:24 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Post-modern art

[source, source]

David Hensel could not help but chuckle when he went to see his sculpture on display at the Royal Academy.

At first, after wandering through the Summer Exhibition, he concluded that it was nowhere to be seen. But eventually he found it. Or rather, he didn’t.

What he did find was the sculpture’s empty plinth and wooden base displayed as “Exhibit 1201”.

Mr Hensel had never considered the empty plinth a work of art in itself. But the exhibition selectors evidently did. So, too, did visitors, who pronounced it beautiful.

No one seemed to notice, or mind, that the sculpture itself, a laughing head entitled One Day Closer to Paradise, was missing. “What apparently happened was that they had become separated and the selectors judged the empty base a good enough sculpture in its own right to include it in the show,” said Mr Hensel.

What’s the problem? According to post-modern theory, it is the audience that determines the meaning of a text, not the creator.

UPDATE: I was kidding, but apparently this guy isn’t. [via Tim Blair]

Posted by orbital at 8:28 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL