Discuss amongst yourselves

Wait, I thought HE was Hitler

Ahmadinejad: Israel acting like Hitler

“The Zionists think that they are victims of Hitler, but they act like Hitler and behave worse than Genghis Khan,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday. He was quoted by the Iranian News Agency.

For all that he’s a proponent of global jihad, it’s hard not to be amused by Ahmadinejad. Whether it’s President Bush or the Israelis, Ahmadinejad obviously enjoys turning his opponents’ words against them. It’s obvious that people are beginning to learn from the mistakes of Hussein and Milosevic in using the sort of old fashioned, over-the-top rhetoric that appeals to uneducated third worlders but looks so uncivilized to sophisticated first worlders. Ahmadinejad may be the first, but he surely won’t be the last to make use of the newfangled over-the-top rhetoric so beloved of neocons and other would-be global interventionists.

When the street names sound the same

Don’t ask for directions from either Geoffrey Nunberg or Stanley Fish:

Nor will you get much political mileage by pointing out, as Nunberg does, that conservative pundits sometimes say journalists are inevitably subjective (when they complain that most mainstream reporters are liberals) while at other times they ridicule postmodernists and left-wing academics who question objectivity and absolute truth. Again, the observation is accurate, but it does no useful polemical work. Instead, it pays still another compliment to the ability of conservatives to play both sides of the discursive street whenever it is to their advantage.

Yes, the observation is accurate, but not only does it do no useful polemical work, it is completely irrelevant. The two positions are not contradictory, for what should be the obvious reason that journalists are not postmodernist, left-wing academics. Journalists claim to be objective but usually are not. The fact that their pretense to objectivity is false, however, does not mean that objectivity and absolute truth do not and cannot exist. Conservatives are not playing two sides of the discursive street here, the problem is that both men have mistakenly concluded that two streets with similar-sounding names are, in fact, the same street. They are not.

The irony is that postmodernists claim to be subjectivists, but whenever it is their own ox getting gored, they suddenly make appeals to objective standards and universal truths.