"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wMonday, April 28, 2003

THE KVETCH: So I went to the Christianity Today website today, expecting to find my latest column. Instead, the Book of the Week slot was filled with a review by my friend and former Weekly Standard editor Beth Henary. My piece should run next week, and I predict that readers will really sink their teeth into it.

Matt Welch has a few fun excerpts from Colin Powell's bio, pertaining to Bandar Bush.

Joanne McNeil worries that using a previous quote of hers as an endorsement just might not do the trick. She recommends this one instead: "Charming, Delightful, Authentic, and Witty." Hmmm.

Finally, if you haven't read this new McSweeney's piece on Chomsky and Zinn's "analysis" of the Two Towers, you really must:

Chomsky: And here comes Bilbo Baggins. Now, this is, to my mind, where the story begins to reveal its deeper truths. In the books we learn that Saruman was spying on Gandalf for years. And he wondered why Gandalf was traveling so incessantly to the Shire. As Tolkien later establishes, the Shire's surfeit of pipe-weed is one of the major reasons for Gandalf's continued visits.

Zinn: You view the conflict as being primarily about pipe-weed, do you not?

Chomsky: Well, what we see here, in Hobbiton, farmers tilling crops. The thing to remember is that the crop they are tilling is, in fact, pipe-weed, an addictive drug transported and sold throughout Middle Earth for great profit.

Zinn: This is absolutely established in the books. Pipe-weed is something all the Hobbits abuse. Gandalf is smoking it constantly. You are correct when you point out that Middle Earth depends on pipe-weed in some crucial sense, but I think you may be overstating its importance. Clearly the war is not based only on the Shire's pipe-weed. Rohan and Gondor's unceasing hunger for war is a larger culprit, I would say.

Chomsky: But without the pipe-weed, Middle Earth would fall apart. Saruman is trying to break up Gandalf's pipe-weed ring. He's trying to divert it.

Zinn: Well, you know, it would be manifestly difficult to believe in magic rings unless everyone was high on pipe-weed. So it is in Gandalf's interest to keep Middle Earth hooked. [more]

posted by Jeremy at 3:57 PM