Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This Apology Which Is Not One

Bush has apologized for Katrinagate at last. Well, kinda:

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government," Bush said at a joint White House news conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
"And to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility. I want to know what went right and what went wrong," said Bush.

Before I begin noting in how this apology is carefully couched so as to allow plenty of "wiggle room," I would simply like to note that it's perfectly obvious to anyone with half a brain cell* that the difference between this statement and last week's shamelessly clueless "What didn't go right?" comment to Nancy Pelosi can be found in the new polls.

Now, for the "wiggle room." Let us do a bit of what we call in the classroom "close reading."

  • Bush takes responsibility "to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right." Okay. So that means he only takes responsibility to a certain and nonspecified extent. Which he won't talk about right now, because it might actually force him into some kind of real admission about what's happened.
  • Bush once again utters what has become such a mantra that I'm starting to wonder whether the handlers have the phrase constantly chanted at him through an aural implant: He wants to learn "what went right and what went wrong." This phrase has been chapping my hide for more than a week now, because--hey, notice that?--Dubya is not-so-subtly trying to convince us that something "went right" here. Damned if I can figure out what it was. Dubya's not sure what it is, either, but he's the Action President, and he's going to figure it out for us. And when he does figure it out, you'd better believe he'll never shut up about it: "Dead people? What dead people? We did something right, dammit! Support our troops! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"
This is an apology? A strategically deployed bit of dodge-and-weave that attempts to reprogram our memories of what just went down in the Gulf Coast at least as much as it half-heartedly responds to our national anger? I don't think so. This is the equivalent of that bullshit "Honey,-I'm-sorry-for-whatever-I-did,-even-though-I-don't-know-what-it-was-and-don't-really-think-I-did-it-at-all.-Now,-will-you-just-come-to-bed" apology none of us would accept from our sweethearts.

I really hope we won't accept this crap from the President, either. Dick Morris thinks we will; I so very much hope he's wrong, but experience tells me otherwise.

Meanwhile, in honor of Dubya's handlers' inimitable sense of style and phrasing, I'd like to brainstorm, together, some of the things that "went right." To wit:
  • Our last two elections "went Right," and then a whole lotta things went wrong.
  • After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans "went right" to hell in a handbasket while Cabinet members "went right" on with their vacations.
  • When Dubya finally figured out that he looked like a massive tool last week, he "went right" down to the Gulf Coast and staged a massively ineffectual photo-op.
Your turn!


*Yes, dear readers: I know you have more than the requisite half cell and therefore already knew this. Sorry if I insulted your intelligence, but I felt almost contractually obliged to mention it.