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English 101

Holden Caulfield at First Draft responds to James Taranto’s claim that the use of “Mandela” in reference to Iraq wasn’t a mistake, but an excellent metaphor.

Actually, to be a good metaphor, people really have to understand the connection, and that obviously didn’t happen. The Shrubbery has been trying for some time to find an analogy for his war with little success because he doesn’t understand the basics of the situations he alludes to. Frankly before the Hedgemony starts running down the list of figures of speech, they might want to take the Shrubbery aside and brush up on the parts of speech, and things like subject-verb agreement. Even with the earpiece, I don’t think his short-term memory is good enough to deal with metaphors.

Holden asks the question: “Who are the multiple Iraqi Mandelas that Saddam killed? Was Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, Muqtada’s father, one of the Iraqi Mandelas Saddam killed?”

Actually the al-Sadr family isn’t a bad example of people struggling for a better, freer Iraq. Muqtada al-Sadr is the survivor of a series of assassinations and executions by Saddam Hussein directed at members of the al-Sadr family. Muqtada’s father, Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, and two of his brothers were murdered. Muqtada’s father-in-law and distant cousin, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Bāqir al-Sadr, was executed by Saddam. The entire family opposed Saddam for a very long time, so, in a way, the US has been trying to kill or capture the last “Mandela” in Iraq.

Wow, no better luck with metaphors than analogies. He should stick with non sequiturs, he has a natural talent for those.

3 comments

1 Cookie Jill { 09.23.07 at 11:26 pm }

It’s not a good metaphor when you hear audible gasps from the audience and you feel your own heart sink into your stomach when Commander Cookoo Bananas turned a phrase that seemed to mean that Mandela had passed.

2 Steve Bates { 09.24.07 at 12:00 am }

Not even the best analogy or metaphor can save a wretched situation to which it is drawn.

The Iraq war may someday become the basis of a later metaphor, as the Vietnam war commonly is today. But there is IMHO no legitimate analogy, historical or recent, to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq that works even remotely to Bush’s credit or advantage. He should just give it up.

But of course he won’t. His combination of unrestrained arrogance and utter lack of judgment makes that almost a certainty.

3 Bryan { 09.24.07 at 12:22 am }

Frankly, I don’t understand why they have him speak at all. He is the pits and can’t remember his lines. Even with Alzheimers’s Reagan could remember his lines and had a pretty good group of writers. He occasionally stumbled, but knew how to recover.

The Shrubbery should just go off somewhere and deliver his toxins without commentary.