September 13, 2004

The Original Copy?

Martin Devon raises an interesting point about the forged Bush bashing memos. What if the forgers had been a little more clever, sought out an old IBM Selectric, and had the language, style, references, acronyms, and signature blocks more or less correct, all the while expressing the same sentiments about President George W. Bush and his alleged failures to fulfill his Texas Air National Guard responsibilities?

Thinking this one through makes it crystal clear, at least to me, how deep in the tank Big Media has gone for John Kerry. They so desperately wanted to believe that these memos were true, or, like an audience viewing a play, they were at least willing to suspend disbelief, because it just fits, you know? I believe it is because Big Media has become so cynical about their role in the process that they have abandoned their normal skepticism when it comes to Bush bashing. Now they will pick up just about anything (come here, Kitty, Kitty) and run with it if it fits their preconceived, jaundiced, myopic worldview. The only thing more predictable is the self-righteous anger they radiate when challenged by the hoi polloi.

But suppose for a moment that there were some genuine, damaging memos from that time period that suddenly came to light. Would they be believed? Could they be believed? How long will it be now before some enterprising eager young person manufactures some memos using the right equipment, language, style, references, acronyms, and structure? Regardless, the most important question is why any of this is more important than what has happened the last twenty years, or even the last four years. Are people not allowed to grow and mature any longer or must the transgressions of their youth haunt them forever?

This whole fiasco also reminds me of something Umberto Eco wrote in Foucault's Pendulum:

"Gentlemen, I will now show you this text. Forgive me for using a photocopy. It's not distrust. I don't want to subject the original to further wear."

"But Ingolf's copy wasn't the original," I said. "The parchment was the original."

"Casaubon, when originals no longer exist, the last copy is the original."

Hmm..., makes one wonder what Dan Rather is holding on to now.

Posted by Charles Austin at September 13, 2004 11:05 AM

I loved that book, even though it was a mind-crimping read.

USAToday says it has the same thing, from an unnamed source. I'm guessing it's Bill Burkett, or someone like that. If they can't come up with the original, and it turns out they've been bamboozled, I hope they reveal their source. Or at least are able to arrange interviews with said source, under confidentiality.

Posted by: Slartibartfast at 02:58 PM

That was a great book.

And a warning to people who get too caught up in conspiracy.

Now if I can just find someone who can cure scrofula with a touch.

Posted by: Jim Durbin at 05:03 PM