"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here 

This article from AP about the Brussels conference of foreign ministers on Iraq reads like a poem by an earnest 16-year-old girl (or, if you prefer, like one of my blog posts) - a veritable thicket of overripe adjectives and adverbs:
Iraq won wide and concrete support from the international community Wednesday, prompting bursts of optimism for the country as it struggles to rebuild its security forces in the midst of withering terror attacks.

No new money was offered at a meeting that was never intended as a donors conference, but the gathering was applauded as proof that sharp differences over the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq could be put aside to help Iraqis now.

"It's a good day for Iraq," Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said joyfully.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, clearly moved, called it a "watershed" moment for the nation.

Oh, don't you wish you could have been there? To hear Zebari declaim so joyfully! Simply to be near Annan as he was so clearly moved! To dodge the shrapnel from those bursts of optimism! To actually stare down those withering terror attacks! It must have been glorious!

Funny, though; in spite of the writer's bad channeling of Francis Scott Key, little of actual consequence seems to have occurred at the conference. The support generated at this love-fest is alleged to have been both "wide" and "concrete," but (it is grudgingly acknowledged) none of it came in a form that can actually be deposited in the bank. But for the assurance that this was a bona fide "watershed" moment, one might conclude that it produced nothing but palaver.

Oddly enough, Juan Cole seems to have missed the graceful beauty of the author's prose, and is unimpressed.




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