Flooding the Zone
November 30, 2004 5:33 PM   Subscribe

The Iraq problem solved. George Saunders has got it all figured out. (from the New Yorker natch.)
posted by lilboo (34 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Each American will bring a thirty-day supply of food from his or her local market. Hams, turkeys, huge roasts of beef, wheels of brie, large jars of Greek olives, bottles of champagne

Yeah, that'll go over really well.
posted by smcniven at 5:40 PM on November 30, 2004


So.... the New Yorker is printing school essays from six-year-olds now?

"How I Wud Make Everybody on Earf Happy, by Tiffany Ogilve, Ms. Hofman's Grade 1. First, I wud buy everywon in the world a dog. I like dogs. And horses...."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:46 PM on November 30, 2004


After dinner, our Iraqis will smile, whispering among themselves. “Not so bad, these unarmed ones,” they will say. “That coffee was super.”

What? American coffee, described as super?? I think not.
posted by wilful at 5:54 PM on November 30, 2004


seriously though -- isn't Saunders a children-story writer?
posted by matteo at 5:56 PM on November 30, 2004


willful - "What? American coffee, described as super?? I think not."
Maybe not {ahem} "out there", but here in SF, it's a challenge to find a truly bad cuppa.
Just my $3.75...
posted by numlok at 6:04 PM on November 30, 2004


OK, so some explanation is needed: Shouts and Murmurs is the New Yorker showcase for funnny and/or satirical pieces.

And yes, George Saunders did write one children's book, but for the most part he is a short-story writer in the vein of Swift. So if you can put yourself in that frame of mind, the subtleties of the piece may become more apparent.
posted by lilboo at 6:07 PM on November 30, 2004


Actually, it would be cool to see six year olds writing essays like this. That'd be pretty funny. More entertaining that the usual political nonsense I read on a daily basis.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 6:12 PM on November 30, 2004


Hilarious in its wet-eyed naivity.

So, who's then going to look after the 300 million Americans? China? I've done the math. There's 1.2 billion mainland Chinese. So that's about 4 Chinese per American. They'd come in, bring you oolong and rice wine, cook you up a storm of oxen intestine and chicken anus (cue konolia: but I don't WANT to be exposed to chicken anus for dinner), all the CIA field ops and USMC on the ground will be hindered by the four chinese hanging around them while they're trying to ensure information dominance, if anyone get sicks you can get the finest acupuncture and herbalism 4,000 years of culture has to offer, and then we can all get to work on the Sudan.

Sorted.
posted by kamus at 6:43 PM on November 30, 2004


Maybe not {ahem} "out there", but here in SF, it's a challenge to find a truly bad cuppa.

Erm, except that they're in the Middle East? Where coffee cultivation started 904 years ago? When it comes to the bean, I think they know their shit over and above other cultures, *even* the West Coast :)
posted by kamus at 6:49 PM on November 30, 2004


(cue konolia: but I don't WANT to be exposed to chicken anus for dinner)

Side note: I move that nobody else be allowed to make that comment until they have actually wallpapered their own bedroom with photos in the vein of goatse.cx. Or, failing that, as one probably would, can at least to having met someone who has.

We now return you to the good natured discussion of why this plan for peace is impossible.
posted by weston at 6:50 PM on November 30, 2004


And then we can have cake! And hats! Hats with little propellers! Tin-foil! We can use all the punctuation we would ever want! As long as it's exclamation points! And we're all happy about it! Every one!

Except the period, who is deeply troubled by the total lack of awareness on the part of all those exclaiming lunatics, and who knows, solemnly, no matter how frivolous, no matter the whimsy or moxie or what-have-you, there eventually comes an inevitable and perfect, final, end.
posted by cgc373 at 6:54 PM on November 30, 2004 [1 favorite]


It's an amusing column, I don't think it's supposed to be anything more than that. Heck, I'd go visit the region if I could, hell, we're all paying for it 20 times over.
posted by mathowie at 6:54 PM on November 30, 2004


mathowie said:we're all paying for it 20 times over.

Yeah, good point, except that it was never for sale.
posted by kamus at 6:58 PM on November 30, 2004


Yeah, but I can still try and get my money's worth, can't I? They should be so free over there they can fly, and it should be as good as hawaii to visit, considering all the money our country has pissed away there.
posted by mathowie at 7:11 PM on November 30, 2004


Every time I see or hear some Otherwise Loving Christian war mongering I reflect a bit [PDF], and then mention my WWJD theory:

Instead of Shock and Awe, Carpet Bombs, Clusterbombs, and 100,000 troops: I like to Imagine Jesus' New Testament example inspiring 100,000 true Christian foot washers deployed throughout all these locales for 'Operation Humility'.

It's hard to hate someone who: facing such peril and Jihad hate stops by, loosens your sandals and gives you a free pedicure. Teva coulda made millions with early co-oped franchising.
posted by HyperBlue at 7:28 PM on November 30, 2004


They should be so free over there they can fly, and it should be as good as hawaii to visit, considering all the money our country has pissed away there.

Iraq the Theme Park. I think you could go somewhere with this.
posted by y2karl at 8:15 PM on November 30, 2004


I want to ride the Jesus Coaster through the loop.
posted by mathowie at 8:29 PM on November 30, 2004


Hats with little propellers!

my world for a metafilter hat with a little propeller on it.
posted by quonsar at 8:55 PM on November 30, 2004 [1 favorite]


They should be so free over there they can fly, and it should be as good as hawaii to visit, considering all the money our country has pissed away there.

I heard some people died too.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:01 PM on November 30, 2004


It's amazing to me that anyone here took this article seriously.

People. It's a joke.
posted by argybarg at 9:07 PM on November 30, 2004


kamus - "Erm, except that they're in the Middle East? Where coffee cultivation started 904 years ago? When it comes to the bean, I think they know their shit over and above other cultures, *even* the West Coast :)"

Sorry, I wasn't expecting to induce my first MeFi flame war over a topic as trivial as "coffee", but is your contention really that, “Point of origin infers quality"?

Interesting...
posted by numlok at 9:16 PM on November 30, 2004


Flame war? Hardly. And sadly it's not nearly as interesting as you seem to find it, because my contention was not as you suggested.

Rather, it is my opinion that a region that has almost a millenia of developing coffee culture, that has ceremonies such as the sulha centred on coffee, is perhaps not as easily impressed by American coffee as the author suggests.

Your post said American coffee was worthy of the title 'super'. Okay, you didn't actually state it was better than Middle Eastern coffee. However your words merely became a victim of my ire directed at the author's belief Iraqis would think American coffee is 'super'. Apologies if this was interpreted as flaming. I will make the ':)' more prominent to avoid any such presuppositions of flame war mongering in the future.

Of course, it was a satirical piece, and almost every post I've made in this thread should be taken in the same manner.

Who knows, maybe they haven't been able to get coffee so it is, in fact, the best they've ever had. Many factors must be considered to draw any hard conclusions. Regardless, the post doesn't deserve this much thought.

(To cut any other accusations before they take form, I'm not saying Middle East coffee is the highest quality in the world - that's a matter of opinion, and I leave you to draw your own conclusions.)
posted by kamus at 9:50 PM on November 30, 2004


Cool cool...

Thanks for the thoughtful response on such a miniscule matter, and apologies if I misinterpreted the intentions of your post.

I'm just coffee nut who felt a jab at having my beloved coffee lumped in with the rest of the country's "bad" offerings, then felt oddly confronted by the "they started it, they know more/enjoy it more than you" challenge.

KnowwhatI'mSaying?

Either way, I agree: Silly, silly, silly (yet somehow I imagine the subject of an upcoming coffee-themed FPP... hmmm).

;)

Make Latte Not War!
posted by numlok at 10:27 PM on November 30, 2004


Interesting coincidence. Today at the dentist's, the chair-side assistant said she sends her son huge boxes of cookies and chocolate and COFFEE. He is stationed in Baghdad.
posted by Cranberry at 10:40 PM on November 30, 2004


That's just fucking sick. They think we should buy their kids and eat them? Fuuuuuuuuuck.
posted by The God Complex at 12:28 AM on December 1, 2004


Why not just set up a Starbucks every few blocks or so? Problem solved! How could they not like that?
posted by dingobully at 1:16 AM on December 1, 2004


kamus said, "Hilarious in its wet-eyed naivity.

So, who's then going to look after the 300 million Americans? China? I've done the math. There's 1.2 billion mainland Chinese. So that's about 4 Chinese per American."


Well somebody is naive; check the labels in your shoes and clothes. See how many times you can find the word, "China", on the things you use as you go through your day.

The only difference is what some of us pay for with cash/credit, Iraqis pay for with blood and misery. So far, they've been getting heavily short changed too. Must "feel like low man on a fat man's totem pole" Lord Buckley
posted by hjarten at 1:36 AM on December 1, 2004


The story and what Mathowie said belie many people's true feelings (and hence why the story isn't funny) about the Iraq operation: it was bad and expensive and poorly planned, but ...

For me, the Iraq war was bad for none of those reasons. It was bad 'cause a Westernized Iraq just plain sucks. And sweet, dark, bitter coffee drunk in a bar with friends for hours at a time is better than take-out Starbucks any day ... usually ... mostly ... sort of
posted by faux ami at 1:53 AM on December 1, 2004


It's amazing to me that anyone here took this article seriously.

I'd be amazed if people thought I actually took the article seriously. It's obvious he's being sarcastic. It's still crap. I've read Swift; this man's no Swift.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:56 AM on December 1, 2004


There's a problem in Iraq? Why am I the last to find these things out?
posted by a3matrix at 7:20 AM on December 1, 2004


It's amazing to me that anyone here took this article seriously.

Some people are humor impaired.

I'd be amazed if people thought I actually took the article seriously. It's obvious he's being sarcastic. It's still crap. I've read Swift; this man's no Swift.

Yup. You meant to do that. Been working on it for weeks, now.

No, he's not Swift. he's himself, I've read a lot of his stuff, it's often brilliant. I thought it wasan insightful riff on America's unfortunate messiah complex.

"How I Wud Make Everybody on Earf Happy, by Tiffany Ogilve, Ms. Hofman's Grade 1. First, I wud buy everywon in the world a dog. I like dogs. And horses...."

Grow up. You seem to treat intellect like jocks treat physical strength, as a club with which to batter anyone who dosen't meet your personal standards and gang colors to wear.
posted by jonmc at 8:34 AM on December 1, 2004


If people have become so braindead that it has to be pointed out to them that this article is satire, perhaps it is time to move to iraq, chicken anuses and 904 year old coffee be damned. Jesus, people.
posted by spicynuts at 9:20 AM on December 1, 2004


hjarten said: Well somebody is naive; check the labels in your shoes and clothes. See how many times you can find the word, "China", on the things you use as you go through your day.

Please, please explain the connection and apparent naivity of me parodising the satirical piece by taking the mechanism relating to Americans going into Iraq and appyling it to China doing the same thing to Americans.

And then, for bonus points, explain the connection between that and the labels on my shoes and clothes. Are you saying China already fulfills the role I satircally suggested? That exploiting their cheap labour in sweatshops is tantamount to the benevolence suggested in the article? It's a completely different relationship.

spicynuts, do you think anyone at all actually took this article seriously? I'd say most of the snarks on the article in this thread are not seriously trying to point out factual flaws in the piece. Rather they're said in an equally satirical manner. Re-calibration of satirical detection indeed.
posted by kamus at 2:42 PM on December 1, 2004


Please, please explain the connection and apparent naivity of me parodising the satirical piece by taking the mechanism relating to Americans going into Iraq and appyling it to China doing the same thing to Americans.

My head just exploded.

And then, for bonus points, explain the connection between that and the labels on my shoes and clothes.

I need to gather up the scattered pieces of my head first.

do you think anyone at all actually took this article seriously?

Oh, I think I found one of my eyeballs ...
posted by krinklyfig at 6:51 AM on December 28, 2004


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