Saturday, October 18, 2008

Let The Tumbrels Rumble

After W., Le Deluge
Published: October 18, 2008

Maureen Dowd, the Queen Bee of the Forth Estate has decreed that the current economic disaster be compared to the French Revolution. Let’s go through the references.

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.
Since most people’s knowledge of the French Revolution starts and ends with A Tale of Two Cities, that is where Maureen starts, fittingly with the first line from Charles Dickens's high school reading list classic. She then moves on to the book’s famous plotting knitter.
I’m feeling as vengeful and bloodthirsty as Madame Defarge sharpening her knitting needles at the guillotine.
But it doesn’t end there. She makes a decent pun on Reign of Terror by recasting it as Dubya’s more mistake prone epoch.
The best of times because W.’s long Reign of Error is about to end.
She also makes reference to Marie Antoinette:
In an astonishing let-them-eat-cake moment, the A.I.G. big shot Sebastian Preil held court at the bar and told an undercover reporter, “The recession will go on until about 2011, but the shooting was great today and we are relaxing fine.”
And finally, the Crossword Puzzle Clue Of The Week is also guillotine related. A tumbrel is “a crude cart used to carry condemned prisoners to their place of execution, as during the French Revolution.”
I can’t wait to see the tumbrels rumble up and down Wall Street picking up the heedless and greedy financial aristocracy that plundered and sundered free-market capitalism.
Dowd also raises the bonus degree of difficulty of sneaking in two internal rhymes into that one sentence.

Most of the article is outrage directed at the outrageous behavior of AIG executives who are beyond the ability to be shamed publicly. Dowd suggests public mockery.
The New York Times should follow up the excellent Portraits of Grief it did after 9/11 with Portraits of Greed.
But beyond the storming the Bastille rhetoric, she saves some asides for McCain’s latest living metaphor.
The paper reported that the A.I.G. revelers stayed at Plumber Manor — not the ancestral home of Joe the Plumber, a 17th-century country house in Dorset — and spent $17,500 for food and rooms.
Poor Joe is also the victim of another aside:
John McCain wasted his last-chance debate Wednesday by trying to stir up faux class rage against Barack Obama with Joe the Unvetted Plumber instead of tapping into the real class rage the country feels over bailing out ungrateful financiers who gambled away the life savings of working people.
And when it comes to expressing class rage, nobody outclasses Maureen.
Heads must roll.
And when Maureen says "Off with their head!" Somebody gets a really really close shave.

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