wishing kissinger a good health and long life
April 13, 2021 7:51 PM   Subscribe

Kissinger Death TontineOnce you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands. You will never again be able to open a newspaper and read about that treacherous, prevaricating, murderous scumbag sitting down for a nice chat with Charlie Rose or attending some black-tie affair for a new glossy magazine without choking. Witness what Henry did in Cambodia – the fruits of his genius for statesmanship – and you will never understand why he’s not sitting in the dock at The Hague next to Milošević.” — Anthony Bourdain [previous]
posted by - (64 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm very very sad that Bourdain didn't live to (among other things) dance on Kissinger's desecrated grave.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:21 PM on April 13, 2021 [27 favorites]


This is a dead pool and not a tontine, right?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:31 PM on April 13, 2021 [5 favorites]


I can't even comment on this without it probably getting removed it makes me so god damned livid. So I'll just say "Fuck Kissinger" and any stupid asshole who claims friendship with him.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:41 PM on April 13, 2021 [24 favorites]


This is a dead pool and not a tontine, right?

Yup.

A tontine is an agreement/bet between a group of participants that the last surviving member will inherit/receive the “stakes” of the agreement/bet. It can also be used as an insurance policy for the member who lives the longest, in which participants pay into the agreement to fund it, and then the surviving member is paid out the sum of whatever funds were paid into it over its duration.
posted by darkstar at 8:49 PM on April 13, 2021 [10 favorites]


The American Academy of Berlin’s Henry A. Kissinger Prize is awarded annually to a European or American diplomat.
posted by lalochezia at 8:54 PM on April 13, 2021


Spite, for lack of a better word, is good. (This reminds me intensely of the practice of turning fascist marches into progressive fundraisers)
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 9:18 PM on April 13, 2021 [9 favorites]


..by the way, I once knew two platoon sergeants (when I served in Vietnam) who took out life insurance policies, each naming the other as beneficiary. See, it was...um, never mind.

Also, fuck Kissinger. When it's my turn to be relegated to that circle of Hell where I have to stand up to my nose in burning shit, I will be sure to dance on his head before I am ensconsed.
posted by mule98J at 9:37 PM on April 13, 2021 [7 favorites]


I wonder who’s Kissinger now
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:59 PM on April 13, 2021 [7 favorites]


wait don't tease me is he dead? I was so prepared to have a shitty day at work turn into a celebration!
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:04 PM on April 13, 2021 [2 favorites]


..by the way, I once knew two platoon sergeants (when I served in Vietnam) who took out life insurance policies, each naming the other as beneficiary. See, it was...um, never mind.

"don't ask, don't tell" wouldn't even come along for 30 more years.
posted by pwnguin at 10:10 PM on April 13, 2021 [2 favorites]


Is this where I get to tell my Kissinger story? I was invited to a dinner with him (there was debate among the invited postdocs, of which I was one, whether to boycott the dinner or ask him hard questions, I chose the latter). He spent a bit of time talking about how great it was that the US had intervened in Rwanda and how that had saved lives. So I asked, something along the lines of: how do you make those decisions, why not overthrow Pinochet? He was livid. How dare I ask him such a question! I was like, WTF, has no one else ever asked him to actually defend his actions? Has he never had to articulate a justification for his horrors? Was he really not able to speak about his choices? He took two more, similarly polite, but probing questions (better than mine, though I forget them) and then announced we were all too rude and how dare we and stopped talking to us. What a fucking baby. That one person can be responsible for so many horrors and yet still walk free and, even more, be respected by anyone anywhere is just such a sign of the corrupting influence of power.
posted by lab.beetle at 10:24 PM on April 13, 2021 [142 favorites]


On this note:
The American Academy of Berlin’s Henry A. Kissinger Prize is awarded annually to a European or American diplomat.

Why didn't Angela Merkle refuse this prize? I would have thought she'd have the gumption to do so.
posted by lab.beetle at 10:29 PM on April 13, 2021 [1 favorite]


Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands.

This is the truest sentence I have ever read.

Once, in Phnom Penh, I played football with a bunch of orphaned kids who'd been injured by landmines. And that was in 2009. His war crimes have caused generations of suffering. He's still blowing up children today, as sure as if he'd laid the mines with his own hands.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:44 PM on April 13, 2021 [54 favorites]


This is how I have felt having visited Laos at a very formative age. I'll never forget meeting a little boy who was missing an arm due to unexploded ordinance from a war that ended decades before he was born, that his country wasn't even part of. I heard so many horrific stories, like people living in caves for years. Laos is the most bombed country in world history.
posted by lunasol at 11:13 PM on April 13, 2021 [17 favorites]


As of this moment, the earliest open date for the pool is in November 2024. I happily donated $25 to the Halo Trust anyway, but I just can't bring myself to even pretend I hope he lives so long.
posted by Jon_Evil at 11:30 PM on April 13, 2021 [7 favorites]


Every time I see Attenborough's name in a headline I have a sinking feeling followed by relief (so far). This piece of shit is the opposite of that.

I would only accept a Nobel peace prize on the contingency his is revoked. Can you believe that shit? Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, was so aghast at the implications of his invention he created this peace prize. Then they gave it to the most prolific bomber in history. The mind reels.
posted by adept256 at 11:59 PM on April 13, 2021 [17 favorites]


This is the part of the discussion where I get to point out that it’s Norwegians who determine the peace prize, not Swedes. Swedes are perfectly capable of fucking up the Nobel prizes (think literature) but not the Kissinger thing, that’s totally not on us.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:19 AM on April 14, 2021 [14 favorites]


Also, fuck that guy. Thanks for the post, OP.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:20 AM on April 14, 2021 [6 favorites]


A dead pool as I understand the competition is picking a number of celebrities to die in a certain calendar period, the winner being whoever picks the greatest number (sometimes with extra points for youth, health, unexpectedness etc.) So a gruesome game of bingo. Entries to a a single expected but unpredictable event would be a sweep—at least where I am.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 1:16 AM on April 14, 2021


It's good to remember just how evil American foreign policy has always been. Trump's nepotism and Jared's schemes to get the middle east to bailout his failed real estate deals are tawdry, idiotic affairs in comparison to the truly evil shit Kissinger pulled off.
posted by benzenedream at 1:29 AM on April 14, 2021 [29 favorites]


"Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize" Tom Lehrer. MultiMeFiPrev
posted by BobTheScientist at 2:02 AM on April 14, 2021 [17 favorites]


lab.beetle: So I asked, something along the lines of: how do you make those decisions, why not overthrow Pinochet? He was livid.

Was this before, or after, it came out that Kissinger counseled Chilean Foreign Minister Cubillos on how to deal with the Carter administration's attempt to hold the Pinochet regime accountable for the assassination of Orlando Letelier?
posted by RichardP at 2:23 AM on April 14, 2021 [11 favorites]


I remember when Thatcher died, and the coverage. How careful the press were, perhaps they'd dare to say she was 'divisive' or 'contentious'. It was very interesting to see where the praise was coming from.

I will be taking mental notes when this piece of shit dies. We're going to find out how fucking awful some people truly are. Being at his funeral is not something I will forget.

For example: Condi Rice? Oh I remember her, SoS under bush 2, okay with torture, secret prisons and domestic spying. Total piece of shit. She even went to Kissinger's funeral.

I won't leave that out of their bio, the company they keep. Let them wear it like a scarlet letter.
posted by adept256 at 2:44 AM on April 14, 2021 [19 favorites]


When it comes to foreign policy, Hillary Clinton says she has a clear mentor. The former secretary of state, Henry Kissinger. "Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state. He checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels."
~~~ Hillary Rodham Clinton

"I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend."

She talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger,” Sanders said during Thursday night’s debate. “Now, I find it kind of amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country.
~~~ Bernie Sanders
posted by dancestoblue at 2:54 AM on April 14, 2021 [62 favorites]



I remember when Thatcher died, and the coverage. How careful the press were, perhaps they'd dare to say she was 'divisive' or 'contentious'. It was very interesting to see where the praise was coming from.


I fully expect Kissinger to be rehabilitated in the media shortly after he's gone, much like W has been in recent years.
posted by Hiding From Goro at 3:18 AM on April 14, 2021 [6 favorites]


Too late. They've already been rehabilitating him for decades.
posted by flabdablet at 3:37 AM on April 14, 2021 [19 favorites]


I fully expect Kissinger to be rehabilitated in the media shortly after he's gone, much like W has been in recent years.
Too late. They've already been rehabilitating him for decades.


Yeah, they trotted out the Gentle Portrait Artist schtick pretty quick.
Granted, you can lay a lot at the feet of Cheney, Rumsfeld and others, but W was in the room with them, and there wasn't an easel in sight.
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 3:41 AM on April 14, 2021 [2 favorites]


Seems to me that a suitable Hell for Kissinger would involve being locked in a windowless, buzzing fluorescent lit room with Ted Cruz for all eternity.
posted by flabdablet at 3:48 AM on April 14, 2021 [12 favorites]


I can't imagine why you'd be so cruel to a room.
posted by adept256 at 3:50 AM on April 14, 2021 [36 favorites]


Too late. They've already been rehabilitating him for decades.

That's 'cause they knew it would take at least that long.
'Jeez - do you see what this guy did? And they want us to spin this crap into gold? Welp, we're gonna need a head start on this ...'

But don't dispair - I am just old enough to remember the beginnings, and height, of the Reagan Religion. It, too, is coming under increasing fire (and decreasing defense), so there's hope for justice for Cambodia and Laos, and just desserts for Henry Fucking Kissinger.
posted by pseudophile at 3:54 AM on April 14, 2021 [7 favorites]


Dunno. He's pretty old. I expect he'll die well before most of the world sees past the ongoing snow job.
posted by flabdablet at 4:03 AM on April 14, 2021


How the hell is Kissinger even alive? He must be like 120 by now. He just keeps on going.

Trump's going to live literally forever, isn't he?
posted by Naberius at 4:40 AM on April 14, 2021 [8 favorites]


in all our hearts
posted by flabdablet at 4:50 AM on April 14, 2021 [1 favorite]


like arterial plaque
posted by flabdablet at 4:52 AM on April 14, 2021 [13 favorites]


I'm very very sad that Bourdain didn't live to (among other things) dance on Kissinger's desecrated grave.

I feel the same way about Christopher Hitchens.
posted by Paul Slade at 4:56 AM on April 14, 2021 [4 favorites]


He will be 98 at the end of next month
posted by Jacen at 6:08 AM on April 14, 2021 [1 favorite]


At least G. Gordon Liddy is no longer with us, and in what must be the ultimate snub, didn’t even merit an FPP.
posted by TedW at 6:15 AM on April 14, 2021 [12 favorites]


Well, at least he got tangled up with the Theranos debacle, so there's that.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:20 AM on April 14, 2021 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Trump's immortal. Evil, rage, racism, spite...they all do seem to have wonderfully effective pickling effects on human beings. Dude probably hasn't eaten a fresh vegetable in decades and by his own admission never does anything more strenuous than swing a golf club, but no heart attacks or cancer for him. Meanwhile, people like Jack Layton die at ages like 61.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:37 AM on April 14, 2021 [4 favorites]


I recall going into a fit of combined rage and despair back in 2016 when Clinton went on and on and on about how much she loved and admired Kissinger.

Even ignoring the moral issue, from a political standpoint it seemed foolish and self destructive. At a time when she desperately needed to draw a distinction between herself and Trump there she was telling everyone that no matter what she and Trump would have the same foreign policy of murdering as many brown people as humanly possible.

Did she imagine there was some essential group of voters who would swing her way if only she praised Kissinger enough? Or is she really such an evil monster that she genuinely likes and respect him? Either explanation is horrifying.

I'm convinced to this day that her rush to embrace Kissinger and his legacy of genocide is at least a small factor in her loss.
posted by sotonohito at 6:38 AM on April 14, 2021 [21 favorites]


Masters of War - Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build the big guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you sit back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
While the young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good?
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could?
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death will come soon
I'll follow your casket
By the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand over your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead
posted by jcworth at 6:54 AM on April 14, 2021 [21 favorites]


@sonohito:
I recall going into a fit of combined rage and despair back in 2016 when Clinton went on and on and on about how much she loved and admired Kissinger.

Even ignoring the moral issue, from a political standpoint it seemed foolish and self destructive.
See, you are forgetting how very different you are from most voters. Because you know things, and remember things, and care about them. You or I might listen to that and think "Christ, why doesn't she just get a bucket of shit and a 4" paint brush and use the brush to smear shit all over her face, that would be more appealing than what she just said." But we're weird. People who aren't weird the way we are don't know or care enough about what Kissinger did to think like that, or even to make sense of why anyone should feel so strongly about it. And this does not make them evil. It makes them ordinary humans who are concerned with what they need to do to get on with their lives and preoccupied with living.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 7:15 AM on April 14, 2021 [12 favorites]


Seems to me that a suitable Hell for Kissinger would involve being locked in a windowless, buzzing fluorescent lit room with Ted Cruz for all eternity.

Now I'm imagining a production of No Exit with Kissinger, Cruz, and Thatcher.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:21 AM on April 14, 2021 [14 favorites]


Evil, rage, racism, spite...they all do seem to have wonderfully effective pickling effects on human beings.

I guess it’s easier to take care of yourself when you literally care nothing for anybody else.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:26 AM on April 14, 2021 [1 favorite]


Aardvark Cheeselog which argues for the "she's an evil monster" hypothesis.

Either she was making a calculated political move based on the belief that some group of voters would be more likely to vote for her if she praised Kissinger.

Or she genuinely, truly, likes and admires Kissinger and thinks his advice is good and valuable.

By your hypothesis there isn't any group strongly motivated to vote for people based on how much they like Kissinger, which leaves us with the Hillary Clinton is an evil genocide approving scumbag hypothesis.

Either way, fuck Kissinger and the fact that he has such a long and enduring influence on American politics and politicians is a horrifying reminder that US foreign policy is more often than not actively evil, promoting autocracy, genocide, torture, and oppression planetwide for no real purpose other than sheer evil for its own sake.
posted by sotonohito at 8:07 AM on April 14, 2021 [3 favorites]


Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, was so aghast at the implications of his invention he created this peace prize. Then they gave it to the most prolific bomber in history.

If he were aghast, he'd have stopped selling weapons.

He wasn't aghast at anything other than people saying mean things about him when they mistakenly believed him to have died, and he created the prizes as posthumous and highly effective PR. Giving one to someone like Kissinger is absolutely in the spirit of the prizes.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:47 AM on April 14, 2021 [7 favorites]


By all means let us relitigate the 2016 primary for all eternity.
posted by sinfony at 9:06 AM on April 14, 2021 [20 favorites]


Meanwhile, Bernie Madoff just died in prison.

(As long as we're talking about the longevity of, and justice for, those who have harmed a lot of people.)
posted by darkstar at 9:32 AM on April 14, 2021 [4 favorites]


Not as good as Kissinger dying in prison, but I'll take what I can get.
posted by sotonohito at 9:54 AM on April 14, 2021 [9 favorites]


sinfony: "By all means let us relitigate the 2016 primary for all eternity."

It was obviously many mefites' favorite year and they just want to live in it forever.
posted by octothorpe at 9:56 AM on April 14, 2021 [4 favorites]


@sotonohito (sorry about the previous misspelling)
Aardvark Cheeselog which argues for the "she's an evil monster" hypothesis.
If you thought that was what I was arguing, I somehow completely failed to say what I meant. Unless what you mean to say that practically everybody is "an evil monster."

Most people aren't engaged enough with the world outside of their immediate concerns to have an opinion about Henry Kissinger. Kissinger's status as Respected Elder Statesman is what it is, and Clinton's attempt to associate herself with his Respectable Statesmanship was neither foolish nor self-destructive. I would concur that it was likely pointless, in as much as there probably was no "essential group of voters who would swing her way if only she praised Kissinger enough," but on the other hand neither was there an "essential group of voters" who were going to go for Trump instead of her on account of her praising Kissinger. It was, from her point of view, a zero-cost effort to show some Respectability.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 9:57 AM on April 14, 2021 [5 favorites]


Wait a second.

As Nixon’s national security advisor (1969-1975) and later Secretary of State (1973-1977), Kissinger was the architect of the U.S.’s disastrous military campaign in Vietnam

???

When Nixon became President and Kissinger became Secretary of State, the Vietnam War had been underway for years - it had destroyed Lyndon Johnson's presidency. It was Nixon and Kissinger who ended US involvement in the war. It's Kennedy's "best and brightest" - like Robert McNamara - who usually get the blame for US involvement in the Vietnam War.

Sure, hate on Kissinger, but get the history right.

Gideon Rose, How the Vietnam War Ended:
Coming into office in January 1969, Richard Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, understood that part of their mandate was to end the war in some way, and they wanted to do so for their own geopolitical reasons, as well. Still, they had no intention of “losing” the war outright or of abandoning South Vietnam under pressure from the enemy. So, they tried at first to achieve an old goal—an agreement formalizing simultaneous American and North Vietnamese military disengagement—with various new means, buying breathing space at home with token troop withdrawals. But the effort failed, and the war dragged on.

By late 1969, the Nixon team settled on a new approach combining gradual withdrawal, temporary protection of the regime of South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu, and intense diplomacy to enshrine these elements in a negotiated settlement. In the spring of 1969, there were almost 550,000 American troops in Vietnam. By the spring of 1970, there were over 400,000; by the fall of 1971, 180,000; by the spring of 1972, 65,000.
US power and American ignorance.
posted by russilwvong at 1:46 PM on April 14, 2021 [4 favorites]


Is this where I get to tell my Kissinger story? I was invited to a dinner with him...

I was hoping you were gonna say "And I spat in his food while looking him directly in the eye" but your story was good too.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:06 PM on April 14, 2021 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't be here today if the WWII bomb my dad found while digging on a Normandy beach in the 1960s had gone off. So I grabbed a few of the next available dates with my donation to The Halo Trust. They're out to 2024 now.
posted by deludingmyself at 4:18 PM on April 14, 2021 [2 favorites]


By late 1969, the Nixon team settled on a new approach combining gradual withdrawal, temporary protection of the regime of South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu, and intense diplomacy to enshrine these elements in a negotiated settlement.
Gideon Rose

posted by russilwvong at 3:46 PM on April 14

I guess Gideon Rose forgot about another piece of the Nixon teams approach, that of bombing the living shit out of Cambodia and Laos, bombs which are *still* killing people in both of those countries.

And I guess Gideon Rose also forgot about US troops invading Cambodia. In 1970.

Here's something that I have not forgotten: Nixon campaigned on getting out of Vietnam fast, were he to be re-elected. Which of course he did not do. What we got was: Kissinger telling us all, 12 days before the general election that"Peace Is At Hand"

Ol' Dr.Henry, he just never could get his facts right: Here's an except from an article from the New York Times November 28, 1972. As follows:
No matter what happens after the Indochinese peace talks resume on Dec. 4, it now seems reasonably clear that Dr. Henry Kissinger had little basis for his statement on Oct. 26, twelve days before the election, that “peace is at hand,” subject only to a few minor details of negotiation. He had, it is clear, no real agreement with Hanoi and Saigon on ending the war; no such agreement seems to exist a month later; and it is highly question able whether either Dr. Kissinger or President Nixon could have believed on Oct. 26 that they actually had reached an agreement that would bring what Mr. Nixon called that night in Ashland, Ky., “peace with honor and not peace with surrender.”

~~~~~

It is not good for me to carry hatred in my heart. Henry Kissinger is difficult.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:55 PM on April 14, 2021 [13 favorites]


By all means let us relitigate the 2016 primary for all eternity.

I think this idea of avoiding the 2016 primary while trying to talk about contemporary politics is a futile task. The 2016 primary never ended because the forces behind it and the subsequent election are still very much in conflict with each other. This is still contemporary politics even if the dominant narrative says Trump leaving meant the end of an era.

As someone whose parents fled genocide due to Henry Kissinger's policies, I think it is impossible and insulting to countless millions of people to pretend that he, his legacy, and his ideology are still not extremely relevant to our politics.
posted by Ouverture at 10:19 PM on April 14, 2021 [12 favorites]


it's not like keeping bombing Syria or ban journalists from border facilities makes the current administration much better eh. it's a structural thing, individuals doesn't matter as much.
posted by - at 11:32 PM on April 14, 2021 [3 favorites]


posted by Ouverture at 12:19 AM on April 15
posted by - at 1:32 AM on April 15

Thank you both for thoughtful, pertinent, honest comments, down here at the bottom of a thread. This thread, I've been pretty busy today but I've kept coming into this thread, see if there's anything new and here we are, late in the thread and two great comments. Again -- thank you.

~~~~~

I have my high school ID cards and it's great to see my face change as I grew up. One of the best photographs that ever caught me was after getting it, viscerally, that politicians were worthless, vile, lying scum, that it's all a lie, a con which fools children and idiots.

Reading Catch 22 and Brave New World in those same years really helped also. Read Catch 22 a few times and see if you trust cops, or clergy, or your parents, and their parents also, on and on and on.

And now: Learn somehow to balance how painful and frustrating that all is, balance it along with the fact that you love your family, and they love you, and for most of us it's the only game in town

~~~~~

The three biggest lies, which should be taught in junior high school.:
1) The check is in the mail.
2) I won't cum in your mouth.
3) I'm from the government, I'm here to help you.

~~~~~

Anyways. I love that photo, I love the young man with wide open, hardened eyes, with a flat affect, scornful as fuck, filled with contempt for people who were asleep.

~~~~~

Yet you've got to be careful, or I damn sure do anyways: My little ex-wife asked was I happy, and I looked dead into the most beautiful blue eyes I've seen to this day, I looked into her georgous blue, warm eyes with my flat eyes and told her "I'm too smart to be happy."

Can you believe that shit?

What a dope!

~~~~~

I'll dig that photo out, scan it, put it up for my profile pic. It's a fav of mine. Plus I was a good looking kid, and that shows up, regardless my flat hard eyes, looking at the world through eyes that know maybe too much for my own damn good.

~~~~~

Thank you all for a great thread.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:43 AM on April 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


The three biggest lies, which should be taught in junior high school.:
1) The check is in the mail.
2) I won't cum in your mouth.
3) I'm from the government, I'm here to help you.


These three statements may well be popular utterances for liars, but that doesn't make any of them inherently untrue.

The main thing I've learned about performative cynicism over the decades since first embracing it in my thirties is that it doesn't actually do what it's supposed to do. It's not personally protective and it's not socially protective. In fact it's corrosive on both fronts. And worse than that, it has a very strong tendency toward being self-fulfilling.

To write government off as worthless, which is essentially what a strong believe in point (3) does, is to fall for Reagan's "government is the problem" line of horseshit and enable the most performative cynics - people just like Kissinger - to get into positions of power and do whatever the fuck they want with it, up to and including using remote controlled mass murder for personal advantage.

If it were actually true that nobody from the government was ever here to help, the Squad would not exist. The first step on the path to getting a government that is here to help is to expect and require it to and acknowledge the efforts of those who are doing their best to make that happen.
posted by flabdablet at 1:03 AM on April 15, 2021 [27 favorites]


Government is not the problem. Power concentrated in the hands of appalling people is the problem.
posted by flabdablet at 1:09 AM on April 15, 2021 [18 favorites]


Flabdablet, I can't favorite your comment enough.... <3
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 2:05 AM on April 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


About that Vietnam thing: I've seen various explanations of how "we" lost. Most times, people blame American strategy or tactics. Some folks blame the Hippies, some blame Walter Cronkite. Few people want to admit that we got outclassed. While it's true that American soldiers and Marines could operate effectively as jungle fighters, I believe the architects in North Vietnam had a better grip on reality.

Here's an excerpt from a letter by Le Duan, written in November 1965. This excerpt doesn't show their strategy's subtlety and detail, but it does give a chilling hint of their notions about the American War. I recommend this document to anyone interested in that era. I don't want to minimize blunders made by American strategists. But it seems proper to give props to those who were good at their jobs. Pathetic irony oozes from every pore. We won the battles. They won the war.

"This upcoming spring and summer, we are aiming for killing about 10,000 Americans as already planned, and for the next few years, we should at least kill 40,000 to 50,000 Americans. This is a new goal that will determine our victory. "

Le Duan, Thu Vao Nam [Letters to the South]
(Hanoi: Nha Xuat Ban Su That, 1965), 119-162.

I believe it was Tommy Smothers who suggested the template for our state department to use in the future: "Let's just say we won and leave." It seems that it's taken over 50 years for our government to see the wisdom of this approach.
posted by mule98J at 9:17 AM on April 15, 2021 [3 favorites]


On Vietnam, several years ago I found a translation of Mao's red book by a retired US general, I can't recall his name. The book had two introductions.

The first was from the first edition which he published in the 1950's and in which he warned that guerrilla warfare was bigger than nuclear weapons and that as Mao demonstrated with his resistance against Japan there really was no way to successfully oppose a guerrilla force with genuine popular support other than genocide.

The second introduction was a rather bitter I told you so written in the 1980's as he pointed out that not only was the outcome of Vietnam predictable but that he'd predicted it. He never actually said "I told you so but you didn't listen" but that was clearly what he was saying and I got the impression he was expressing decades of frustration with other military leaders who had ignored or ridiculed his concerns about guerrilla war.

What happened in Vietnam was simply that there is no way to end a guerrilla movement that has popular support other than genocide.

An invading force opposed by a guerrilla movement with popular support can either leave, or it can kill everyone, but it can't win.
posted by sotonohito at 9:40 AM on April 15, 2021 [6 favorites]


Dear -, thank you for this post and to everyone who contributed in this thread. This is exactly why I love and have needed MetaFilter for intelligent companionship, conversation and laughter. Particularly about the difficult things in life.

Kissinger has been part of a truly malignant Old Boy network of Machiavellian malignant narcissists since the late 60s. The late Henry Luce III was my stepfather. He inherited the ownership of Time magazine from his father at the time when Henry Grunwald became the managing editor of Time. Grunwald was especially close with Kissinger. It's my opinion that Kissinger deeply influenced Grunwald about what 'news' to put into Time mag, which was considered a credible source of information until the 1990s for a lot of the world. It was actually CIA manipulated and corrupt Nixon/Republican government propaganda.

Malignant narcissists tend to live a long time. Having little functioning affective empathy, they are not burdened by the higher human traits of loving, compassion, integrity and honesty. They are master manipulators, typically getting what they want and need, while becoming even more dangerous as they age.

May the sooner bettors of the tontine be correct.
posted by nickyskye at 10:29 AM on April 15, 2021 [6 favorites]


« Older ZIP 48222   |   Selected Aphex Twin covers, vol. 1 Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments