Dagger in hand

A man of prodigious fortune, coming to add his opinion to some light discussion that was going on casually at his table, began precisely thus: "It can only be a liar or an ignoramus who will say otherwise than," and so on. Pursue that philosophical point, dagger in hand.

--Michel de Montaigne, Of the art of discussion.

Stab back: cmnewman99-at-yahoo.com


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Friday, June 21, 2002

They proved that there was no fluke, that they were worthy to be on the field with Germany and give them a run for their money. Pace Den Beste, Germany didn't crush them at all. They were too busy defending against our attacks. Geopolitically, maybe this was the best of all worlds: we did just well enough to earn the world's respect but not its hatred. (Of course, that's not what I was saying while cheering them on.) And we won't whine about that missed hands call, especially since Mexico regards it as divine justice at work. But something occurred to me while watching. Europeans like to sneer at us when we say we don't like soccer because the scores are too low. The childish Americans, who understand only quantity and not nuance. But there is something good about games with higher scores: the margin of error isn't as likely to be outcome determinative. Yes, there's still always the chance of a Bush v. Gore or Lakers v. Kings, but most of the time it's not so close that a controversial penalty call can make or break the game. When the margin of victory is so often one measley point on the other hand, the subjectivity of the rulings assumes a huge role.

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