Friday, January 21, 2005

The Jokes Defense

When comments are sifted and examined, the Bissell defense has centered on two old Soviet jokes listed among the nine examples. His "attorney" in the court of blog opinion made this the focal point of her argument, conveniently pushing aside, away from the jury's sight, the obvious paraphrasing of the other posts listed. (Scroll down please to view all nine exhibits.)

Very well. Let's examine the two jokes. As the defense stressed again and again, Russia is a place filled with cynical jokes about the system under which the Russian people live. Hundreds of jokes. Thousands. What, then, are the odds that Bissell and Feshbach would hear the same two jokes-- and independently and coincidentally write about them? Yet this is what the defense argued, only yesterday, on Maud's well-known blog.

But wait! Something else is curious about the matter. The Soviet system ended in 1990. Tom Bissell's Harper's essay was written in 2002! Are Russians still telling old jokes about the Soviets-- or not in fact others about Putin and their current rulers, and the joke of an economic disaster they live under now?

Conclusion: Bissell took the two jokes from the Feshbach book.

The well-researched and carefully constructed Jokes Defense has suddenly and swiftly collapsed; a fallen tower of building blocks. There sits the rubble of the argument on the defense table. Will Maud now apologize for it-- or, like Galley Cat, cross out her own words?

(Galley: Are you not now sorry you bought this shaky argument against your own better judgement?)

3 comments:

King said...

(Point, set, match.)
"Has the jury reached a verdict?"
"We have, your Honor. . . ."

Anonymous said...

I waste this time not for you "King," but for anyone who might--God help them--read this site and who has an ounce of common sense. If Feshbeck didn't write these Soviet jokes, then they don't belong to him.

By your logic, Feshbach, too, should have attributions for his sources for these jokes as well. I'm curious: does he cite them? Did he track their origins back to the original Russian factory worker who first bitterly spat out the phrases over his samovar. No? Then why don't you persecute Feshbach, too? And every other writer who has drawn upon the work of another to acquire common facts to use in their own, original writing. Oh, that's right. Feshbach didn't damage your great but fragile ego by writing an unflattering portrait of you and your group. Forgot about that.

You really have the saddest and most amusing sort of stupidity, because you actually think you're clever.

Anonymous said...

To the above writer: did you even read King wrote above, you stupid twit? Your attempt at sarcasm was pathetic, but in case you were serious, I'll directly quote a segment of King's posting again for you:

"Are Russians still telling old jokes about the Soviets-- or not in fact others about Putin and their current rulers, and the joke of an economic disaster they live under now?"

To me, this is a valid point. Russians telling 12-year-old jokes to amuse each other? Give me a break. Do you honestly buy that? Are Americans still telling Gulf War-era Bush jokes to amuse ourselves? Hell, do we even tell Clinton jokes anymore?