Thursday, April 12, 2007

Not in the South.

Christopher Hitchens has indispensable advice for D.C. cocktail parties:
In my hometown of Washington, D.C., it's too easy to hear some expert hold forth about the essential character of any stricken or strategic country. (Larry McMurtry, in his novel Cadillac Jack, has a lovely pastiche of Joseph Alsop doing this very act about Yemen.) I had lived here for years and suffered through many Georgetown post-dinner orations until someone supplied me with the unfailing antidote to such punditry. It comes from Stephen Potter, the author of Lifemanship, One-upmanship, and other classics. Wait until the old bore has finished his exposition, advised Potter, then pounce forward and say in a plonking register, "Yes, but not in the South?" You will seldom if ever be wrong, and you will make the expert perspire. Different as matters certainly are in the South of Iraq, the thing to stress is how different, how very different, they are in the North.

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