Wednesday, May 21, 2008

On Playing The Race Card Poorly And Expelling A Posterior Breeze.

Frau Bucher doesn't write as much as she once did so it's always a gift when she does grace us with the thin gruel of her political analysis. Last week's column for GMToday is hardly a gem but we'll have to make do.

She rambles about Senator Obama's campaign and how it should transcend race and maybe it does but somebody else's doesn't and these people aren't racist and those people...

It goes on. Oh Lord. It goes on.

I just want to make a comment about a mangled Shakespearean reference she makes at the very beginning of her saunter.

The Democratic Party has been hoisted on its own identity politics petard. The party that defines people and issues by race (affirmative action etc.) is predictably hung up over race even in a contest involving a candidate whose entire campaign shtick is convincing us he’s transcended race.

If they were consistent, Democrats would just give Barack Obama the nod as an affirmative action pick.

Jess makes a common mistake. (Well, she makes several, including the fact that GOP commenters and the pundit class seem far more focused on race than the run-of-the-mill Democratic voter. But, I digress.) In fact, the "petard" reference has been misused so often that one can hardly blame her for thinking that she got one right without putting much effort into fact-checking.
If it wasn’t for its appearance in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “For ‘tis the sport to have the enginer / Hoist with his owne petar” and its fossil survival in the rather more modern spelling to be hoist with one’s own petard, this term of warfare would have gone the way of the halberd, brattice and culverin.

A petard was a bell-shaped metal grenade typically filled with five or six pounds of gunpowder and set off by a fuse. Sappers dug a tunnel or covered trench up to a building and fixed the device to a door, barricade, drawbridge or the like to break it open. The bomb was held in place with a heavy beam called a madrier.

Unfortunately, the devices were unreliable and often went off unexpectedly. Hence the expression, where hoist meant to be lifted up, an understated description of the result of being blown up by your own bomb.

Now, Jess should know about having one's own weapon blowing up in one's face. Goodness know, it happens to her often enough. But what, you ask, does a petard sound like as it explodes at the end of a tunnel?
The name of the device came from the Latin petar, to break wind, perhaps a sarcastic comment about the thin noise of a muffled explosion at the far end of an excavation.
So, one can say, Ms. Jessica is making a fart funny in her column this week. I wonder if she knows.

1 comment:

  1. lol @ "Frau Bucher."

    It makes me think of Young Frankenstein, which I'm sure was your intent. Now we just need the thunder, lightning, and horses whinnying right afterward.