June 25, 2003

Massive Run-on Propaganda Sentence of the Week

From Edward Said's Rachel Corrie screed, about bulldozers:

Mr. Corrie told me that he had himself driven bulldozers, although the one that killed his daughter deliberately because she was trying valiantly to protect a Palestinian home in Rafah from demolition was a 60 ton behemoth especially designed by Caterpillar for house demolitions, a far bigger machine than anything he had ever seen or driven.

That sentence is what happens when, in one's eagerness to get to the crunchy political center, one tries to cram too many details into one's sentences.

It's also what happens when one has somehow managed to become too important for proofreading or editing.

I won't even go into the rest of the article; as usual, the subject matter is more about Said than it is about Corrie, particularly when he contributes only one parenthetical aside in a couple thousand word essay to the fact that suicide bombings are bad, but manages to conclude with this:

Isn't it time we caught up with our own status and made certain that our representatives here and elsewhere realize, as a first step, that they are fighting for a just and noble cause, and that they have nothing to apologize for or anything to be embarrassed about? On the contrary, they should be proud of what their people have done and proud also to represent them.

Being embarrassed is SOOOOO 19th century, you know?

Link found via Tim Blair

Posted by Big Arm Woman at June 25, 2003 03:10 PM

Not to harp on metaphors, but isn't it better to say that Said was rushing to get to the sweet and chewy political center and thus smashed through the restrictive, crunchy shell of grammar? Just a thought.

Posted by: Adam at June 25, 2003 04:06 PM

Yeah, originally I wanted to make some sort of "creamy nougat" reference, but then my sentence would have been even longer and weirder.

Sometimes these things just don't roll trippingly off the keyboard. Sigh.

Posted by: BAW at June 25, 2003 06:42 PM

OK, so his English isn't too good - but his lies are top-drawer, just below Baghdad Bob (both of them, the Info Minister and the reporter[?]). Just from your sample -

"... killed his daughter deliberately": I read interviews with the protestors given the same day before HQ decided to spin it as murder. It was quite clearly regarded even by [all but one] of them as an accident. Well, in the sense that if your car is hit by another the 400th time you run a red light it is an accident...

"...valiantly to protect a Palestinian home in Rafah from demolition" Nope, sorry. It was clearing the underbrush from a field next to the house, and - well, see next:

"...60 ton behemoth especially designed by Caterpillar for house demolitions" These do exist (for clearing blockhouses and such fortifications, or quick airfield construction, etc.), but even the pics posted by HQ show a normal-sized dozer that might be used to take out a doghouse or possibly a tree less than four years old... Clear a site after a house is taken down, maybe, but take down said house? All by itself? Not unless the operator is intent upon committing suicide.
- - -
And I hear the Minister mentioned has been taken into custody - at a traffic stop. Since every one of the five million citizens and four thousand correspondents have known where he was living for the past two weeks, I don't think the arresting personnel can expect a letter of commendation.

Posted by: John Anderson at June 26, 2003 12:19 AM

Well, BAW, it certainly reads like your words do just flow from your keyboard "trippingly." I started following your blog about 6 months ago, and I love it. Your biting insight and felicity with the written word is really impressive. It's also absolutely hilarious.

I am also an emigre from the academic life in the humanities; I'm ABD in Philosophy. Alas, off to law school I went, and now I'm a law professor. Much happier. More reality focused in law school, which I have surmised has something to do with an external, objective, real-world standard of reference for being a law professor--the law. A common refrain among law professors is: Interesting, but what effect does it have in law/politics? Of course, there are still your academic bozos--the pomos, our own brand of Marxism (called Critical Legal Studies, or "Crits" for short), the continental philosophy types who apply Habermas or Derida to the law, etc., etc., ad nauseum. But they are not the norm, and one can easily avoid the law schools where they are the majority of profs. Yeah!

Anyway, keep up the amazing and delightful blog. Loved the wee-wee post! You and Rita (at Res Ipsa Loquitor) make me laugh every day you post something.

Posted by: Adam at June 26, 2003 10:04 AM

Adam -

Glad the law thing is working for you. I was tempted that way as well, but since everyone I knew was in law school at the time, I figured the market was pretty well saturated. Also, I didn't think massive sarcasm would play well in court.

I am curious, however, about people trying to Derrida-ify the law. I wonder if a certain famous law school grad who decided to parse the meaning of "is" took a course or two in that vein...

Posted by: BAW at June 26, 2003 10:34 AM

Well, I suppose he did, because that stuff is imbecilic and, in my humble opinion, constitutes diarrhea of the brain.

And, he's proven time and time again that he's still at the development level of your son: completely fascinated with his "special extra accessory" and also wanting everyone to pull.... ahem.... well, you get the point, I mean... message. I suppose it all depends on the meaning of "wee-wee," doesn't it?


Posted by: Adam at June 26, 2003 03:26 PM

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