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"Five axiomatic propositions of Canadian Nationalism vis-a-vis the Americans:

1. Boy, we hate Americans.

2. We really do.

3. Really.

4. I'm not kidding. We really hate them.

5. So how come they never pay us any attention?"

--Will Ferguson, Why I Hate Canadians, Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1997, p.105.


Monday, May 13, 2002




And um, the "John" is obviously John Pilger.
Anagram-agram. Much truth may be discerned from the ancient art of anagrams...for those of us who have the mystical power:

Anagram redux This may explain why Damian Penny feels compelled to keep visiting, even though it just makes him upset:

A Bibi boo-boo? Leave it to the Knesset to make Arafat look moderate. Yesterday at a party meeting, the Likud Party passed a resolution saying there should never be a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. There I was last night laughing at Arafat for announcing that he is "prepared to accept a Jewish state called Israel" (see three entries down), and Likud makes him look like the sane one.

This seems stupid on so many dimensions: most obviously vis-a-vis 1) the U.S.; 2) the Palestinians; and 3) domestic Israeli politics.

First, vis-a-vis the U.S. (and the rest of world opinion, but, frankly, who cares about the rest of world opinion? This can't make the editorials and "reporting" in the European newspapers any more rabid than they already are). The U.S. public would like to see an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza. (Personally, I'd like to see this too.) The point is, the U.S. public recognizes that the current state of affairs among the Palestinian leadership precludes this, and has thus far (rightfully) supported Israel in resisting calls for the establishment of what today would be a staging ground for unrelenting attacks on Israel. But the U.S. public is also generally optimistic about the capacity to change, and is optimistic that in the not-too-distant future a Palestinian leadership can mature to the point that an independent state that does not threaten Israel is feasible. (Personally, I still hope against hope for this as well.) So if there is one thing that has the chance to erode U.S. support for Israel, it's Likud's adopting a posture that is so totally inflexible as to forever preclude the kind of compromise that the U.S. hopes can someday, somehow occur.

Second, vis-a-vis the Palestinians. We often lament the absence of a "moderate" alternative among potential Palestinian leaders. I still have no idea whether we'll ever see a moderate Palestinian leader -- by which I mean someone who would actually be willing to negotiate in good faith if presented with an offer similar to that made by Barak in 2000 and who would actually be willing to take on the Palestinian militants. But I am sure that without being able to offer the prospect of a state on the West Bank and Gaza, such a leader will never materialize.

Third, this resolution is markedly out of step with Israeli domestic opinion. Even today, after the suicide bombing campaign has hardened attitudes among the Israeli public, a majority of Israelis cling to the hope of a peace deal that results ultimately in a Palestinian state.

So that's why I find this move so inexplicably stupid. It's cheap talk (in the game-theory sense). As a non-binding resolution, it carries virtually no enduring weight and thus has little credibility. Plus, it is so divorced from the U.S. position that (should it ever be enacted by the Knesset) it would not survive U.S. pressure to abandon it. To the extent that it has any signaling value at all, it's more likely to harm than help on three key fronts. So is this just part of Netanyahu's bid to unseat Sharon? Seems like a steep price to pay for a promotion.
Anagrams are fun! How about this, for a certain set of annoying "reporters"?

Norwegian Nobel Institute: Don Quixote best book of all time. A vote by about 100 of the world's greatest living authors has awarded Don Quixote, "the tale of a Spanish knight driven mad by reading too many chivalric romances," the "most meaningful book" of all time, the Norwegian Nobel Institute announced last week.

However, controversy soon erupted when Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize judge Hanna Kvanmo publicly lamented this decision. Launching an unprecedented verbal assault on Miguel de Cervantes and his novel, Kvanmo raged, "The book Don Quixote led to the play Man of La Mancha. Richard Kiley starred as Don Quixote in that play. And Kiley went on to do a guest starring role on Gunsmoke, a reactionary American television show whose glorification of violence is directly related to American- and Israeli-sponsored injustice throughout the world. I wish it were possible that we could recall the prize, because Miguel de Cervantes has not acted to prevent this travesty of justice."

Kvanmo's concerns were immediately echoed by fellow judges, and the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions (LO) called for a boycott of all Spanish literature as a protest against the bestowal of the best book honor.

In a bizarre and potentially related development, French ice-skating judge Marie-Reine le Gougne broke down at a hastily-called press conference, during which she admitted voting for "Don Quixote" under pressure from French and Spanish author associations. Her true first choice was Aesop, for "The Boy Who Cried Wolf."
A fire-breathing she-monster, or a grotesque product of the imagination? Thanks to the exigencies of Mother's Day, I wasn't able to get to Heather Mallick's weekly column until late yesterday. By that time Flit and Damian Penny had all said what needed to be said. Damn! And it was such an exemplary example of Mallickitis, too! So I'll simply link to this response in the Globe and Mail today, and also note that an anagram for HEATHER MALLICK = HELLKAT CHIMERA.
This just in! Arafat says he is prepared to accept that humans breathe oxygen! CNN reports that in a wide-ranging interview on Sunday, May 12, Yasir Arafat declared that he is "prepared to accept a Jewish state called Israel."

Um, wasn't this something that Arafat agreed to four days before signing the Oslo Accords in 1993? And now, nine years later, reiterating it is supposed to be lauded as a new concession?

And then the interview gets downright weird:

Arafat was asked whether he knew who carried out the April 12 suicide bombing in a Jerusalem marketplace -- the terror attack killed six people. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a military wing of Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has carried out numerous attacks against military targets and civilians in Israel and in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. The U.S. State Department designated it as a foreign terrorist organization in March....

[Arafat] seemed astonished that the group would even be involved in militant violence. "Al Aqsa Brigade is engaged in terrorism? Give me one, one example."

Humans breathe oxygen? Give me one, one example.

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