Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It depends.....

The Blago case in Illinois is taking an interesting turn, one familiar to prevaricators everywhere.  Word parsing and fine legal distinctions are the last refuges of the terminal politician----and the media spin, clearly orchestrated by Blago's fine defense attorney, is already being published on the front page of the NYT.  I didn't do anything wrong---I never actually sold the Senate seat for cash; I only talked about it.  And yes, I'm sorry, I did use the F word.  

Though I'm no attorney, I've had plenty of experience with people in both my personal and professional lives who are experts at this sort of thing---
   You can count on me to do the right thing.
   I was not in the room when they discussed your demotion.
   No, I didn't sleep with him.

Any of those sound familiar?  Factually correct, perhaps, but, through omission of the essence of the matter, completely misleading about behavior and intent.

I'm no angel, so when I used to play the word game, I felt scummy---and wished my mommy had been here to wash out my mouth with soap.

Throw up enough smoke & mirrors, hang tough, and all sins are soon forgotten or subsequent events will make the errors of our ways seem less important.  The word parsers in my life gradually lose their power to convince.  For a politician, this is death itself.

For old time's sake, here's one to remember, from a world class wordsmith:

"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the--if he--if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not--that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement....Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true."

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