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September 25, 2006
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
Among other glimpses into his aggressive thinking and behavior, a Chris Zimmerman observes that
He has, however, been an energetic observer and has
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
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but he also plays squash with a hardball, a form of play that "has largely died out over the last decade," having been superceded by a globalized version of the game.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
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.
Another key point about his ruthlessness, something you never see among skilled and gracious athletes with softer balls, is that
with barbed remarks.
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