It was hosted by Tina Brown in honor of some “artist” who carves sculptures from wood using a chain saw. Lest Gentle Reader imagine this is really some edgy, transgressive expression of profound truths, you can go to pretty much any redneck arts-n-crafts expo across the South and find guys who do exactly that. They don’t even rate a breakfast at Waffle House.
Quite apart from the tone of self-congratulation that oozes from the article and seems to have caught Instapundit’s eye was the reference to the artist’s husband, “Zbigniew Brzezinski, 86, the former national security adviser to Jimmy Carter.” That is mentioned as if to awaken our respect. The NYT reports him as “regal[ing] guests with off-color stories about the current state of counterterrorism. ‘I am so annoyed by the fear-mongering,’ he said. ‘Sign this, sign that. So now I sign things “Osama Bin Laden.” And I haven’t been stopped once. Doesn’t that tell you something about the idiocy of the whole system?'”
He says this as if it’s either clever or funny, or even illuminating about his central point (assuming he has one, which from the conduct of foreign relations in the Carter administration (either its original iteration or its current one), is not readily apparent). Would, perhaps, he have signed himself “Walter Model” while the 101st was surrounded at Bastogne? Because I have news for you, you washed-up relic of four of the most disastrous years (except for those beginning January 20, 2009) of the last fifty in this country: Notwithstanding your understudy went squawking about the place in 2012 bragging that Al Qaeda was on the run (right before they slaughtered an American ambassador), they’re very much still in the field against us. And they’re very much still intent on killing Americans and Jews wherever they can find them.
I’m big on P. G. Wodehouse (who had his own problems with making light of an enemy during wartime, by the way). One of my favorite lines comes from his chapter “14 Days Without the Option,” in which Bertie and a friend have been arrested for trying to steal a policeman’s helmet on Boat Race Night. The problem was the policeman was still in it, and Bertie and his buddy are now in front of the magistrate. Bertie’s friend, who actually smote the bobby, is given fourteen days without the option, after which the beak turns to Bertie (I’m working from memory here, so forgive any inaccuracy in quotation): “As for the prisoner Leon Trotsky, which I am constrained to say I believe is a false or fictitious name . . . .”
Taking that cue, when I am asked to give a dollar or whatever it is for this-that-or-the-other charitable purpose, and in consequence to get my name on a cut-out shamrock, or bootie, or whatever symbol, for the store to paste up in its window, I generally give the name “Leon Trotsky,” or “Vyacheslav Molotov,” or some such. I know that both Trotsky and Molotov were about as blood-soaked as two humans could be, and that uncounted millions died at their hands. On the other hand, I am not doing it to be clever in the context of something like the physical security of my fellow Americans. I am not doing it to express either support for our country’s enemies, contempt for those persons’ victims, or to undermine legitimate efforts to further the interests of our country. I am doing it (i) in homage to Wodehouse, and (ii) to avoid my name appearing in a self-congratulatory light. And I’m just some redneck from out in fly-over country, so no one is going to pay the least attention to what I do. The NYT isn’t going to splash what I do across its society (or whichever) pages, presenting me as someone to emulate.