"A man who tells lies, like me, merely hides the truth. But a man who tells half-lies has forgotten where he put it," says Claude Rains' Mr. Dryden in "Lawrence of Arabia" (screenplay by Robert Bolt, 1962), foreshadowing by two generations the sorry place to which the postmodern project has led many of our nation's Bush-bashing intellectual elites today. Take Sy Hersh, investigativoid journalist extraordinaire formerly of the New York Times and most recently of The New Yorker. Chris Muir's cartoon, above, says it all. As Chris Suellentrop wrote in New York Metro yesterday:
There are two Hershes, really. Seymour M. is the byline. He navigates readers through the byzantine world of America’s overlapping national-security bureaucracies, and his stories form what Hersh has taken to calling an “alternative history” of the Bush administration since September 11, 2001.
Then there’s Sy. He’s the public speaker, the pundit. On the podium, Sy is willing to tell a story that’s not quite right, in order to convey a Larger Truth. “Sometimes I change events, dates, and places in a certain way to protect people,” Hersh told me. “I can’t fudge what I write. But I can certainly fudge what I say.”
Bill Clinton's "It depends upon what your definition of is is" comes to mind, of course, not to mention Dan "False but Accurate" Rather's characterization of Bubba:
I think at the core he's an honest person . . . I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things.
Then the Boschian horrors of the entire postmodern project, from Rousseau on down, come spilling out. If you've got the time, check out Mark Brittingham's heroic "The Cold War is Not Over: Europe and the Post-Modern Left [from the comments at One Hand Clapping]:
Thus, the Post-Modern [sic] project enjoys both the energy of moral outrage and a philosophical cover for its errors that prevents anyone from undercutting the outrage. Attempts to point out its philosophical shortcomings are nearly useless because the expressions of this philosophy are maddeningly jargonesque and impenetrable. In this, Post-Modern Leftism is enormously attractive to any party having a gripe against the modern world. Every failed state, every ethnic hustler, every ideological movement, every intellectual poseur, and every tyrannical thug has a stake in feeding and propagating this modern variant of Rousseau's Hydra. Its energetic rise in modern Europe will prove to be one of the great ideological challenges of the 21st century.
We happened to read some of Rousseau in the original French in our undergraduate days, and even then, we knew "the noble savage" never existed except in the utopia-addled minds of reality-challenged intellectuals.