Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Who's That Fat Man, Daddy, And Why Is He Sitting On That Pile Of Skulls?

Ach, a musician friend once told me that if you can't crack a song out of a catchy riff within twenty minutes, it's best to admit defeat - polish as you might, no amount of Mr. Sheen is going to buff up that turd.

That's kind of how I feel about my response to this screed by Christopher Hitchens, the pickled Posidonius of the Pax Americana. It's without doubt his most flatulent blast of triumphalism so far, as he daubs himself in the blood of his anti-war foes, their torn bodies lying prostrate at his feet.

No doubt George Galloway's skull will make for a fine goblet, from which to sup the sweet wine of victory while a manacled and bedraggled Jacques Chirac plays the Star-Spangled Banner on a xylophone made from Schroeder's ribcage.

I tried envisioning Hitchens as King Pyrrhus, casting a blazing eye over his shattered army and proclaiming his lordship over all Italy, but it just didn't do justice to his small-mindedness.

Then I imagined him as Voltaire amongst the aftershocks in a shattered Lisbon, singing newfound hosannas to the glory of God.

That one was just a bit too wanky, and didn't convey the appropriate level of smug satisfaction.

Finally, I tried to imagine him as a faded Parisian hooker, the last vestiges of soft beauty finally callused by hard cynicism and rough gin, cackling over the downfall of a younger rival.

But ultimately I had to admit defeat - grope as I might, I'll never find the appropriate metaphor to encapsulate such an inappropriate display of schadenfreude. Hundreds of words glorying in the defeat of his adversaries, and not a single mention of the catastrophe that has befallen Hitch's vision of a free, democratic Iraq.

Nero may have fiddled while Rome burned, but I imagine that when he finally laid down his bow he asked if anyone else smelled smoke.

And that's what this article leaves me with - the mental image of the pyromaniac, his handiwork done, laughing and wanking in the orange glow of the crackling flames.

In the end, I think that's the closest I'll ever get.

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