Monday, July 2, 2007

Apologies, or at Least a Nod to Raymond Carver

...or what we talk about when we talk about Scooter.

There was neither surprise nor drama to the commuting of Ivan Lewis Libby's jail time; the wingnuts' spin of the punishment being harsh had begun not to soon after the verdict came through and the sentence meted out. As things stand now, at least one
presidential candidate had contributed to Scooter's defense fund and indeed the incumbent President ventured forth his belief that the sentence was out of proportion to the crime.

What we
talk about when we talk about Scooter is cronyism, a bonding and group behavior condition long known to anthropologists, archaeologists, and sociologists. We speak of it as loyalty when we speak of it coming from roommates at Yale, or fraternity brothers and sorority sisters. The curling of the lip into active sneer does not begin until we speak of tribalism, clans, moieties in nomadic cultures; then we expect cronyism. When we do it, it is a lady's or gentleman's agreement; when they do it we haul out the implications of primitive behavior.

In some ways, the behavior of this President of the United States is reminiscent of King Creon. You don't know about him without you have read the adventures of Antigone by Mr. Sophocles, but that ain't no matter. "This is law and order in the land of good King Creon," Antigone says at on
e sticky point in the play." Although Creon has nothing against Antigone and quite a bit against her brothers, he is forced by Antigone's behavior to threaten her life if she does not stop trying to bury one of her brothers who has died in battle.

If you were to see Antigone as a metaphor for the Rule of Law, or even more basic than that, the United States, you would get a picture of the position the President is maneuvering himself into.

A few days ago, it was Ahab, from Moby-Dick.

There will invariably some classic figure because this President sees himself as a classic figure, and very much like Hector, of Iliad fame, this President wants his legacy to be the President who was a classic figure.

Okay, so what about George Follansbee Babbitt?

The enclosed pictures have nothing to do with Ivan Lewis Libby or the man who commuted his sentence, or cronyism, but having been pressured to post images, I have chosen these:

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