Wednesday, September 14, 2005

battle of the egos

Listen/watch live here or here. Update: Link to mp3 archive and more commentary here (transcript "exclusive" on some Hitch-friendly site here.)

The Juan Cole (he who "changes his mind just about every week") article just mentioned may be found here. See also this.

Hitchens is debating the peanut gallery, talking about their "mummies." But he's no court jester.

Amy asks, "Christopher, after you changed your views, do you feel like the media was more friendly to you?"


Oh god, it's over.

Wait, it was already over.

Christopher's gone for his drink ("If you want to talk to me any further, you'll need a receit.") After leaning that direction for a good three-quarters of an hour. Who can blame him after Galloway refuses to engage with any of his arguments. Sorry, "arguments."

The vain one looks on and tries to decide whether his vanity has suffered any, whether he was maybe too kind. Hard to KO a bumbling hollow man.

There sure are some asshole kids in New York though. The references to the Cause of Socialism flew over their heads like so much Rabelais.

(image via)

The entire hot-air affair seemed to boil down to anti-climactic shadow-boxing:

The entire world agrees with me now. "This issues are already ajudged"


"I doubt he'll remember, but when you're committed to a cause [i.e. the perversion of Trotskyism into Neo-conism] you're committed win or lose. Otherwise, what do you tell someone when they ask you why you changed your opinion...'Well because Michael Moore said so'?"

Blowhard, even Francis Fukuyama has now abandoned your "cause."

Update: A more thorough live-blogging account here (courtesy of lenin).

One thing that stood out for me as well, in addition to the glaring lack of original substance or nuance of any kind, was the obvious hot-botton hostility with which New Yorkers of either stripe respond to the politicizing of the Saudi terrorist attacks. The Sharpener writes:
But mostly, they hurled insults at one another. Insults poured in a vertiginous torrent. There was enough hatred, yes, real hatred, between these two men to keep a small civil war going for several decades.

Hitchens started by accusing Galloway of ’slobbering’. Slobbering then over Saddam. Now slobbering over Assad of Syria. Slobbering over every loathsome dictator he came across (although, disappointingly, he didn’t accuse him of slobbering over Slobodan..).

For Galloway, Hitchens had performed a feat never before seen in the natural world: he had undergone a ‘metamorphosis from a butterfly back into a slug’ and was now wallowing in his own slime. People like Hitchens, he said, are ready to fight ‘to the last drop of other people’s blood’.

The audience loved it. Or, rather, the audience loved hating the speaker they were opposed to. From where I was sitting, it seemed the audience was reasonably evenly divided, with perhaps a small advantage to Galloway. It frequently got rowdy. It frequently got profane. It frequently was great fun.

Things threatened to turn ugly when Galloway described the attacks of 11 September 2001 as coming from ‘a swamp of hatred created by us’. Shouts of ‘how dare you!’, ‘go home!’ and worse echoed across the hall. When Hitchens replied by evoking the memory of the 9/11 dead in his favour, he was subjected to a similar barrage of audience invective. New Yorkers, it’s quite clear, do not take kindly to having the events of four years ago used to score cheap political points, whichever side they’re on.

And worse...yeah, I believe it was "fuck you," followed by a growly "shut the fuck up!" to be precise. Lovely.

To which Hitchens kept cutely responding, "Remember, you're on the telly," forgetting that aside from "telly" being a hopelessly quaint and comical word in our language, for Americans this just amounts to saying, "bring it on."

But anyway, Galloway's monotone bluster allows this man to sound the very voice of reason. And that's a real fucking shame.

Finally, our special correspondent writes:
I'm swamped at work and don't have time to give you
the promised post-mortem. My apologies. All I can say
is that I found both characters unsavory and felt
gross afterward. RB

Update final: Since Galloway didn't exactly rise to the challenge of defending himself from being smeared with the convenient label of "anti-American," how about remembering a post or two that succinctly address the issue.

See also the extensive Wikipedia entry on the subject.

It seems clear that this is both a propaganda term and a reality. A propaganda term when right-wingers use it, and a reality when describing the effects of right-wingers (and of privatizing, sychophantic conglomerate centrists) on the international scene.

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