August 30, 2004
When Journalists Attack

Yup, I guess Ellen's right, everything does come in threes. In the space of ten days, we've had three journalists actually not be press-release-regurgitators. The final jewel in this triple crown comes from a British journalist who is neither dazzled nor impressed with Hollywood fuzzy thinking:

So I ask how Kosovo was a threat to US security.

'Ahm...' he hesitates. 'I believe... I'm not the right person to talk about this... but that region of the world, this is the way I've heard it put... Can I go get a cigarette?' He disappears and, as if having remembered his Noam Chomsky, returns a minute later with a ready-fit anti-imperialist answer. 'Where it's all flawed is this hegemonic belief that if you bring business to a country it will help them.'

Leaving aside what he had said a moment earlier about the Marshall Plan, I say that when I visited Kosovo it was less about bringing business than preventing communal bloodshed.

'I'm ignorant on this subject,' he admits, without bluster. 'I'd have to read up on it.' He returns to Iraq, a subject on which he has done a fair amount of reading. Contradicting himself once again, he repeats the line that the Iraq war was a neoconservative plot hatched in 1989 by Bush advisers who believed 'they could spread democracy. They thought they were altruistic' - so not about destabilisation after all - 'They were wrong.'

Robbins is not a politician and it is therefore a little unfair to parse his words, teasing out the contradictions and inconsistencies. But his muddled thinking, in which the only continuum is that American foreign policy is always bad, informs his writing as a dramatist. He shows me a scene that he's editing from Embedded that is both pretentious and simple-minded - not a happy combination - and is reminiscent of the worst shouty agitprop.

The whole article is a scream, shot through with that lovely dry British "look-I-don't-care-how-rich-or-good-looking-you-are-you're-still-an-idiot" attitude. I just wish our bunch had an attention span longer than a gnat's. Maybe then they'd remember these things.

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Via Misha.

Posted by scott at August 30, 2004 03:26 PM

eMail this entry!
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?