talking points

I have to admit I like this Iraqi Information Minister myself, as a particularly colorful player in this farce. I was watching Sky News with Jackie Saturday morning, and he held one of his increasingly bizarre press conferences. This is high comedy. His press conferences are parodies of ours. In the interest of balance and fairness the BBC presents them in full, highlighting the main points of the speeches for the viewer. Usually, the bulleted main points are listed like so:

• American troops capture airport
• light casualties reported
• water supply soon to be restored
• humanitarian aid on the way

I mean, this is generally the content of your Cookie-cutter American or British Army General Press Conference. And the BBC believes it’s doing its typical on-the-go viewer a service by outlining it conveniently on-screen. In all fairness it should do the same for the typical Iraqi viewer. But the points are slightly different:

• American mercenary dogs fleeing airport with tails between legs
• several thousand of Satan’s minions buried in dessert sand
• everything is in our favor
• we will kill all of them

Meanwhile, Jackie’s sitting next to me on her bed (the TV upstairs doesn’t have cable) reading OK! and Hello!, these British tabloids. I like them, too, especially when there’s a little beefcake, but the last couple of issues she’s brought home have been pretty lean.

Every once in a while she murmurs something like (and I quote), ‘I’d hate to be called Amanda. What kind of name is that? It doesn’t sound real.’ She said it in a dreamy voice, almost to herself. I thought it was funny.

I always ask her where the different accents you hear on Sky are from. Of course I believed her when she said, he sounds like he’s from down south, or she’s from up north, or whatever. But then there was a guy who was clearly Australian, and I said, Oh, I know that one! He’s Australian. He was so Australian it wasn’t true. She’s like, sounds Irish to me. She’s off her head.

Later she was in the kitchen, and I was in the sitting room, and we were talking about men, and she’s like, ‘hmm, yes, they say the way to a man’s stomach is through his stomach.’ That’s what I’m talking about.

Arpad’s pretty much dumped her, I guess. He left the stairway undone. He had some big plans for it, but he’ll never finish it. I told her I’d be happy to do it up for her to her specifications, but that we’d need a certain tool. I was explaining to her what I thought we needed for it. I drew her a picture. It’s a knife—like a box-cutter, like the one’s the terrorists used on those planes that crashed into the WTC. I didn’t know what it was called. She was being a bit obtuse, which is why I drew her a picture. But I wasn’t nasty about it. I did it in the interest of clarification, so that she’d know what I was talking about.

She pretended not to until we got to the green grocer. There was one sitting next to the register. It wasn’t for sale, of course. I pointed to it and said, ‘Ooh! There! That’s what I was talking about! That’s what we need to do the job.’ And she lookS at me, very British-like, and says, it’s called a Stanley Knife, Michael.

well, if she knew it why'd she let me go on about it? I got the distinct impression—and I’m sure I’m not wrong—that she was trying to say, without saying it, that I thought I was cleverer than she was, but here I don’t even know what a Stanley Knife is called. But, really. I mean, if she knew it.


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