Little to say for myself

Friday, April 11, 2003

Our Gift to the Oppressed

This article in the Grauniad, about the patenting by the Sony Corporation of the term "Shock and Awe™" just one day into the conflict, should serve to convince any Iraqi doubters of the merits of western democratic freedom. The freedom to register groups of words as a trademark, thus preventing anyone else from using them without paying for the privilege, is one that goes right to the heart of our culture. That this particular group of words symbolises diplomacy at its most crass, and reveals an almost adolescent sensibility towards the process of systematic destruction, lends a certain poetry to its final destination. After all, this whole jaunt has been little more than a virtual reality game for many US consumers from the start.

As Punt and Dennis said on the Now Show last week: generations ago, military campaigns were given codenames (Market Garden, Overlord) so that they could be discussed over vulnerable communication channels without their objective being revealed. These days they are given brand names which spell out, in the tritest possible way, the desired political spin. Can we expect the next bunfight (Syria? Iran?) to be called "Operation Sony Playstation 3" or "Operation Lockheed-Martin Kicks Ass, brought to you by MTV and Pepsi Max - the official beverage of the US Marine Corps. Go to the Max!"?

Just for the record - I thought of it first....

posted by Plig | 12:16 |

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Forget the sentimental notion that foreign policy is a struggle between virtue and vice, with virtue bound to win.
Forget the utopian notion that a brave new world without power politics will follow the unconditional surrender of wicked nations.
Forget the crusading notion that any nation, however virtuous and powerful, can have the mission to make the world in its own image.
Remember that diplomacy without power is feeble, and power without diplomacy is destructive and blind.
Remember that no nation's power is without limits, and hence that its policies must respect the power and interests of others.
Hans Morgenthau

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts
Bertrand Russell

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one
Albert Einstein

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative
Martin Luther King Jr.

Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man
Bertrand Russell

I think it would be a good idea
Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization

There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun
Pablo Picasso

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others
Groucho Marx

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it
Mahatma Gandhi

Always make new mistakes
Esther Dyson
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