12 September 2008

Let's play two

After a lengthy hiatus, it's time for another installment of the nation's slowest-growing quiz-show sensation, America or Oceania?

Today's contestant is everyone's favorite moose-shootin', pork-denyin' hockey mom governor from the Great White North.

When Gibson said if under the NATO treaty, the United States would have to go to war if Russia again invaded Georgia, Palin responded: "Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help.

"And we've got to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable," she told Gibson.

It's fun, and by fun I mean the kind of fun you can only have sticking your eye on a hot poker and using it to garnish your mooseburger, to watch Bush, McCain and their acolytes talk about the Georgian war without also indicting American foreign policy. There was Zalmay Khalilzad, in an Olympian effort riffed hilariously by The Daily Show, claiming foreign invasions are only verbotem "in Europe." Now Mrs. Mooselini is playing the "democracy" card, as if a democratically-elected government has ever been an impediment to American intervention. Just ask Bolivia right now.

But what we're really shooting for, kids and peoples, is that alternate universe where the Russian invasion was "unprovoked," for tis there we may finally find the secret to the right-wing mind. You may have thought the war started when Georgia started shelling the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali. You can argue, quite convincingly, that the Russian response was several steps too far beyond what was justified, but you can't convince me that it was unprovoked. I know what I thought I saw, and no Lucasian "Russia shot first" editing can possibly change my mind.


‘It will not last,’ said O'Brien. ‘Look me in the eyes. What country is Oceania at war with?’

Winston thought. He knew what was meant by Oceania and that he himself was a citizen of Oceania. He also remembered Eurasia and Eastasia; but who was at war with whom he did not know. In fact he had not been aware that there was any war.

‘I don't remember.’

‘Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Do you remember that now?’


‘Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. Since the beginning of your life, since the beginning of the Party, since the beginning of history, the war has continued without a break, always the same war. Do you remember that?’


‘Eleven years ago you created a legend about three men who had been condemned to death for treachery. You pretended that you had seen a piece of paper which proved them innocent. No such piece of paper ever existed. You invented it, and later you grew to believe in it. You remember now the very moment at which you first invented it. Do you remember that?’


‘Just now I held up the fingers of my hand to you. You saw five fingers. Do you remember that?’


O'Brien held up the fingers of his left hand, with the thumb concealed.

‘There are five fingers there. Do you see five fingers?’


And he did see them, for a fleeting instant, before the scenery of his mind changed. He saw five fingers, and there was no deformity. Then everything was normal again, and the old fear, the hatred, and the bewilderment came crowding back again. But there had been a moment — he did not know how long, thirty seconds, perhaps — of luminous certainty, when each new suggestion of O'Brien's had filled up a patch of emptiness and become absolute truth, and when two and two could have been three as easily as five, if that were what was needed. It had faded but before O'Brien had dropped his hand; but though he could not recapture it, he could remember it, as one remembers a vivid experience at some period of one's life when one was in effect a different person.