Tuesday, May 13, 2008

To totally obliterate us ...

Hamid Dabashi's essay examines Hillary Clinton's "urge" to totally Obliterate Iran:

In the wake of the key Pennsylvania presidential primary for the Democratic nomination on Tuesday 22 April 2008, and in response to a question by a reporter about what she meant by saying earlier that she will launch a "massive attack" against Iran in the hypothetical case of Iran attacking Israel, Senator Hillary Clinton said, "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran. And I want them to understand that. Because it does mean that they have to look very carefully at their society. Because whatever stage of development they might be in their nuclear weapons program in the next ten years during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them. That's a terrible thing to say, but those people who run Iran need to understand that."

Soon after she made this remark, the good people of Pennsylvania (following the example of practically all other large states, from New York and New Jersey to Texas and California) went ahead and handed Senator Clinton a solid victory over her rival, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.

A rudimentary rule of the English language, as the good Senator from New York surely knows, is that one should never split one's infinitives -- it's against the rules, betrays bad grammar, and it could very well confuse people as to what exactly are the rules of the game in this blasted campaign for the soul of the next generation of Americans, if not simply to put a new face to American imperialism.

"To totally obliterate them (Iranians)" breaks this crucial rule of the English language, splits the infinitive of "to obliterate" into half, and inserts the powerful incentive of "totally"-- not just partially, as in, perhaps, to blow into smithereens just thirty or forty million Iranians, but seventy million plus human beings.

Read the rest ...

3 comments:

RickB said...

Actually I blame Star Trek, they put infinitive splitting into the mainstream with the “to boldly go” intro. But Dabashi is right in it being about an impatience and expression of emotional intensity that she just had to say “totally” how and where she did. The splitting of infinitives rule is becoming archaic and if adhered to precludes many more exciting sounding uses of language. Which is why the Star Trek split has prospered (live long &…nerd gag) but in Clinton’s case it showed a really bad quality for a politician to have- a passionate disposition towards genocide!
But then I have noticed this in some of her supporters, people who are exasperated at Bush but not at all against imperialism and agree with much of the neocon agenda but they think of it & themselves in liberal interventionist terms, sort of a- we’re not like Bush our invasions would be better managed- they simply disagree on means not the manifest destiny chauvinist delusions of American exceptionalism. They also are very keen on the new Cold-War of the War on Terror where ‘Islamists’ have replaced ‘Commies’ in their fevered paranoiac fugues. Some also repeat the GOP smears on Obama being some kind of ‘stealth Muslim’ (he is a Christian and er, how bigoted is that anyway, the unsaid part of the smear is that an awful lot of people consider a Muslim unfit for office.) Obama while getting much discreet backing from Wall Street is not as favoured by the military industrial money. But they are all filtered choices for head office of a corporatist state & global empire, anyone who really challenges that will not get through the multimillion funds needed, media assisted process. Although the new President may not get their chance for blood, absent impeachment I don’t see much preventing Bush from instigating strikes on Iran either as an election aid in October or a last gasp in December/January. The talks Parsi wrote about do look like a set up (pre-conditions revived that have been rejected before) to produce another stalemate/rejection outcome to further support the aggressors plans.

Renegade Eye said...

The Democratic Party is a bourgeoise party, that uses rhetoric of the progressive movements for votes. People are catching on to the Clintons, Obama thinks the Soviet strategy in Afghanistan should be repeated.

nunya said...

Are you hyperventilating daily?

You didn't fall asleep reading at least thirty paragraphs when the point could have been made in 5?

Our buddy is blogging at
Huff Po, making a point about.....?

Who cares?