• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show
"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket
"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming
February 17, 2009
So Much Nicer To Be George Will Before The Internet
Perhaps you've seen that on Sunday George Will made things up so he can claim global warming isn't happening. And two days later, Will and Fred Hiatt, the editor of the Washington Post op-ed page, still won't explain their behavior.
It must be hard for Will to get used to bluggs, because he's spent his entire career with total impunity. Here's a funny story of Noam Chomsky's from the book Understanding Power about a column Will wrote in 1982:
CHOMSKY: [A] few years ago George Will wrote a column in Newsweek called "Mideast Truth and Falsehood," about how peace activists are lying about the Middle East, everything they say is a lie. And in the article, there was one statement that had a vague relation to fact: he said that Sadat had refused to deal with Israel until 1977. So I wrote them a letter, the kind of letter you write to Newsweek—you know, four lines—in which I said, "Will has one statement of fact, it's false; Sadat made a peace offer in 1971, and Israel and the United States turned it down." Well, a couple days later I got a call from a research editor who checks facts for the Newsweek "Letters" column. She said: "We're kind of interested in your letter, where did you get those facts?" So I told her, "Well, they're published in Newsweek, on February 8, 1971"—which is true, because it was a big proposal, it just happened to go down the memory hole in the United States because it was the wrong story. So she looked it up and called me back, and said, "Yeah, you're right, we found it there; okay, we'll run your letter." An hour later she called again and said, "Gee, I'm sorry, but we can't run the letter." I said, "What's the problem?" She said, "Well, the editor mentioned it to Will and he's having a tantrum; they decided they can't run it." Well, okay.
Below the fold are the Understanding Power footnotes with references and excerpts.
50. For Will's article, see George Will, "MidEast Truth and Falsehood," Newsweek, August 2, 1982, p. 68 ("Sadat, remembered as a peacemaker, first made war. . . . Having failed to get to Jerusalem with Soviet tanks, Sadat went by Boeing 707"). On Sadat's earlier rejected peace offer, see footnote 47 of this chapter.
51. For Newsweek's article, see "Middle East: Small Blessings," Newsweek, February 8, 1971, p. 36. An excerpt:In part, the Egyptian position [in a memorandum to U.N. special Mideast mediator Gunnar Jarring] echoed the U.N. resolution of November 1967, which called on Israel to withdraw from territories occupied during the six-day war. In exchange, Cairo promised to call an end to the state of war against Israel, respect Israel's territorial integrity and agree that Israel should have free access to all international waterways. . . . Security in the area could be guaranteed, the Egyptians added, by establishing demilitarized zones on both the Arab and Israeli sides of the frontier, zones that could be policed by a U.N. peace-keeping force made up, at least in part, of American, Soviet, British and French troops. ("On no account," responded Mrs. Meir [the Israeli Prime Minister], "will a force of that kind come in place of secure, recognized and agreed borders.") . . . [T]he Egyptian text specifically did not call for a Security Council meeting on the Middle East, a move that Cairo had been threatening and Jerusalem had warned would upset the Jarring applecart. Commented [Egyptian] Ambassador el-Zayyat: "We want Jarring's mission to succeed."
—Jonathan SchwarzPosted at February 17, 2009 05:06 PM