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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Wednesday, August 14, 2002
IF IT DOESN'T FIT... The proverb, that is. The L.A. Times reports that Pasadena attorney Joe Hopkins is griping about how his high profile police beating case got pulled out from under him by Johnnie Cochran. He is quoted as saying, "Yes, it's sour grapes. But there is nothing wrong with complaining about sour grapes."

I have two responses: No, it's not. And yes, there is. Complaining that Cochran stole your client is not sour grapes. Sour grapes is when you disparage something you really desire, but are unable to obtain. You know... Aesop? High grapes? Greek fox who apparently jumps like white men? Ringing any bells here? Or, if you prefer, as in the Violent Femmes song ...

you know that i want your lovin'
but mr. logic tells me it's never gonna happen
then my defenses say i didn't want it anyway
but you know sometimes i'm a liar

Those, my friend, are sour grapes. It would be sour grapes if you went around now saying how you didn't really want to represent Jackson, that you thought he had a meritless case, that you're glad Cochran took it on. Which would be transparently dishonest. Which is why there is something wrong with complaining about sour grapes. What you're doing may be somewhat overwrought, but at least it's honest. Sympathetic even, to some degree. So don't impugn the validity of your complaint by giving it an invidious and unwarranted label! Smash those sour grapes and reveal what you're really indulging in!

A little cheese with that?

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