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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Monday, December 30, 2002
SHE'S BAAACK...An interview with Oriana, from the Financial Times (found via Sullivan). You know, back when Paola and I first translated Rabbia, I used to hope Oriana would see it. Now I realize that she would merely have chewed us out. And I don't hold that against her, because she'd be right to. Even if our translation reads better than hers, and even if its distribution (and that of the piece on antisemitism) on the web made her message accessible at the moment when people needed to hear it, it wasn't our call to make. At the time though, it was something I needed to do, and I don't regret it.

I have to say that the portrait of her one gets from this interview isn't terribly flattering. She's dogmatic, arbitrary, very full of herself. All her worst attributes on display--and without the compelling writing and insight that let her get away with them. She wants us all to forget her political journalism, because now she's an artiste. Oriana, if we toss all of your career as a journalist covering war and vivisecting power into the oubliette, how exactly are we supposed to credit the ex cathedra pronouncements you make throughout Rabbia with any moral weight whatsoever? You want to speak with a tone of assumed authority, and you want us to forget the experience which is the only justification for that authority? And if that really is the way you want it, then stop citing that experience when it suits you. Stop talking about how independent minded you were when you went to Hanoi. That was just journalism! An unimportant part of your life! Get over yourself, girl. In his dish link, Sullivan likens Oriana to la Paglia. Much though it pains me to say it, there's some truth to that. Unlike Andy, I don't mean it in a nice way.

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