Thursday, May 05, 2016

Evidently Tony Blair doesn't subscribe to the old proposition "Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies"


by Ken

If you believe that Tony Blair is "one of the most respected and admired world leaders of the last 50 years," you're going to seethe with envy that I got this e-mail from NYC's 92nd Street Y and you didn't. I got it, as the e-mail explained, "because you are a loyal patron of 92Y" -- by which they mean, I presume, that back in June 2011 I indeed bought a ticket for Keith Olbermann's lollapalooza of a tribute to James Thurber, one of my idols, with participants including Calvin Trillin, another of my idols. (And it was a grand night. I wrote about it here in a post called "Thurber Tonight -- special edition: At the 92nd Street Y Thurber 'do,' Keith O gives a virtuoso performance.")

Because of my loyal patronage, I was being extended an opportunity to purchase, "in advance of the general public," "up to two tickets" to the above-trumpeted event, at which your pal Tony will offer his "unparalleled analysis of the world’s most difficult and complex issues."
The prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007, he now works to secure peace and prosperity in the Middle East, improve governance in Africa, find solutions to climate change and encourage understanding of world faiths. He talks with Rabbi Peter Rubinstein about his take on the current world situation, especially regarding the Middle East in crisis, extremism, governments and education.
Now I bet you're really eating your heart out!

In the event that you're motivated to wangle tickets for this great event -- priced, you'll note, "from $100.00" (can we not guess that from there the prices go up, not down?) -- it's only fair to advise, as the e-mail does:
Please note that for security purposes, all ticketholders’ names must be submitted at the time of purchase, and all ticketholders must bring a photo ID to the event. Tickets are non-transferable.
In addition, on the Y's event page we learn:
No backpacks, shopping bags, large handbags/purses/briefcases or cameras/recording devices will be permitted inside the building, and 92Y cannot provide storage of any such items.
Apparently there's concern that not all attendees may share your unflinching admiration for this "one of the most respected and admired world leaders of the last 50 years."


News of this impending great event ricochets weirdly in my disorderly mental space. Seeing as how I am, as it happens, let's say "momentarily between jobs" (that's another whole story), I am finding this a good time to catch up on some of the John Le Carré books I somehow missed among the prodigious output of yet another favorite writer, and just now I'm reading the splendid 2003 offering Absolute Friends, whose immediate action -- though the novel also ranges back in time a couple of decades -- is the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, which one character characterizes thusly (page 321 of the 2004 Back Bay paperback edition):
That war on Iraq was illegitimate, Mr. Mundy. It was a criminal and immoral conspiracy. No provocation, no link with Al Qaeda, no weapons of Armageddon. Tales of complicity between Saddam and Osama were self-serving bullshit. It was an old colonial oil war dressed up as a crusade for Western life and liberty, and it was launched by a clique of war-hungry Judeo-Christian geopolitical fantasists who hijacked the media and exploited America's post-9/11 psychopathy.
Our speaker goes on:
All it takes for a war like that to start, Sasha tells me, is for a few good men to do nothing. Well, they did nothing Whether they're good men, that's another thing. The Democratic opposition did fuck-all. Stay home, sing patriotic songs till it's safe to come out, was their policy. Jesus Christ, what kind of opposition is that? What kind of moral courage?
Still later, in recognition of the nationality of the Mr. Mundy to whom he is speaking, our speaker adds -- and this is the reason I bring it up:
Forgive me, I am failing as a host. I was forgetting the vital role played by your British prime minister, without whom there might have been no war.
(In fact, I recall earlier on an even more caustic verbal assault on PM Blair, hurled at the same Mr. Mundy by the above-referenced Sasha. I don't feel up to trying to dig it out, though. It should be noted too that these are the views of the character(s) in question, not of the author. Still, I haven't found much indication that the author is in serious disagreement on these matters.)

Stuff that in your backpack, shopping bag, or large handbag/purse/briefcase.

Labels: ,


At 5:45 PM, Anonymous tones said...

Thanks for this, oh how I miss Keith O and the Thurber as well.


Post a Comment

<< Home