Pinch Sulzberger, meet Jonathan Swift

In Book III of Gulliver's Travels, there is a group of Projectors on the island of Laputa who are trying to decipher the secret thoughts and plans of diplomats from the color and composition of their turds. If The New York Times keeps on its present course, it too may find itself among that coterie on Swift's island of The Whore.

The lower left front page of this Sunday's Times introduces an article by David S. Cloud, complete with photographs and two sports diagrams, on Rumsfeld's style of play on squash courts, which provides

"a window into Mr. Rumsfeld's complicated psyche."

Among other glimpses into his  aggressive thinking and behavior, a Chris Zimmerman observes that

"He hits the ball well, but he doesn't play by the rules."

Chris

"works in the Pentagon's office of program analysis and evaluation"

and

"is sometimes in the Pentagon athletic complex when Mr. Rumsfeld is on the court,"

although

"he has never actually played his boss."

He has, however, been an energetic observer and has

"noticed that Mr. Rumsfeld, 74, often wins points because, after hitting a shot, he does not get out of the way so his opponent has a chance to return the ball, a practice known in squash as 'clearing.'"

According to "Pentagon officials and employees," presumably picked by the Times for their objectivity and keen sense of fair play, the way that Rumsfeld plays squash

"closely resembles the way he has run the Defense Department, where he has spent six years trying to break the accepted modes of operation."

Even worse (here we enter the realm of true projection), he refuses to play by international standards. He not only prefers to play hardball, metaphorically speaking, but he also plays squash with a hardball, a form of play that "has largely died out over the last decade," having been superceded by a globalized version of the game.

Seen through the window of squash, therefore, Secretary Rumsfeld clearly appears as a provincial, curmudgeonly, and hardball conservative (his "complicated psyche"), whereas

"Most competitors now play the international game, which uses a softer ball and a wider court, requiring more running and allowing more creative shot—making."

Hence, the international—style players are more nuanced in their shots than the dwindling roster of old hardball players, since they don't play on the narrower American courts, plus they have softer balls.

Rumsfeld, on the other hand, doesn't care about creativity or a wider (more inclusive) court and is merely out to win.

"Rather than tricky bank shots off the walls, a move that better—skilled players favor, Mr. Rumsfeld plays with power, hitting the ball hard and ending points quickly."

Another key point about his ruthlessness, something you never see among skilled and gracious athletes with softer balls, is that

"he relentlessly attacks his opponent's confidence"

with barbed remarks.

"When you try a shot and miss, he'll say, 'You don't have that shot.'"

How like a malicious old conservative, to tell the truth even if it hurts your self—esteem. The article features two diagrams, an "American court" and an "International court," so it's obvious where the human rights of squash players have a better chance of being enforced.

Perhaps it's time for the paper to research the design of the Pentagon's bathrooms with an eye toward EU regulations on the toilets of European officials. The Projectors on Laputa would be proud to welcome the Times to their circle.

Steve Kogan   9 25 06

In Book III of Gulliver's Travels, there is a group of Projectors on the island of Laputa who are trying to decipher the secret thoughts and plans of diplomats from the color and composition of their turds. If The New York Times keeps on its present course, it too may find itself among that coterie on Swift's island of The Whore.

The lower left front page of this Sunday's Times introduces an article by David S. Cloud, complete with photographs and two sports diagrams, on Rumsfeld's style of play on squash courts, which provides

"a window into Mr. Rumsfeld's complicated psyche."

Among other glimpses into his  aggressive thinking and behavior, a Chris Zimmerman observes that

"He hits the ball well, but he doesn't play by the rules."

Chris

"works in the Pentagon's office of program analysis and evaluation"

and

"is sometimes in the Pentagon athletic complex when Mr. Rumsfeld is on the court,"

although

"he has never actually played his boss."

He has, however, been an energetic observer and has

"noticed that Mr. Rumsfeld, 74, often wins points because, after hitting a shot, he does not get out of the way so his opponent has a chance to return the ball, a practice known in squash as 'clearing.'"

According to "Pentagon officials and employees," presumably picked by the Times for their objectivity and keen sense of fair play, the way that Rumsfeld plays squash

"closely resembles the way he has run the Defense Department, where he has spent six years trying to break the accepted modes of operation."

Even worse (here we enter the realm of true projection), he refuses to play by international standards. He not only prefers to play hardball, metaphorically speaking, but he also plays squash with a hardball, a form of play that "has largely died out over the last decade," having been superceded by a globalized version of the game.

Seen through the window of squash, therefore, Secretary Rumsfeld clearly appears as a provincial, curmudgeonly, and hardball conservative (his "complicated psyche"), whereas

"Most competitors now play the international game, which uses a softer ball and a wider court, requiring more running and allowing more creative shot—making."

Hence, the international—style players are more nuanced in their shots than the dwindling roster of old hardball players, since they don't play on the narrower American courts, plus they have softer balls.

Rumsfeld, on the other hand, doesn't care about creativity or a wider (more inclusive) court and is merely out to win.

"Rather than tricky bank shots off the walls, a move that better—skilled players favor, Mr. Rumsfeld plays with power, hitting the ball hard and ending points quickly."

Another key point about his ruthlessness, something you never see among skilled and gracious athletes with softer balls, is that

"he relentlessly attacks his opponent's confidence"

with barbed remarks.

"When you try a shot and miss, he'll say, 'You don't have that shot.'"

How like a malicious old conservative, to tell the truth even if it hurts your self—esteem. The article features two diagrams, an "American court" and an "International court," so it's obvious where the human rights of squash players have a better chance of being enforced.

Perhaps it's time for the paper to research the design of the Pentagon's bathrooms with an eye toward EU regulations on the toilets of European officials. The Projectors on Laputa would be proud to welcome the Times to their circle.

Steve Kogan   9 25 06