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September 21, 2008



It's funny that no one seems to suggest that the chattering classes hate George Bush because he is the Other.


I hereby classify BBC Arts Programmers as Other. They don't need to be for me to hate them; I'm quite capable of hating people who are similar to myself, but I will use their construction and hate them for their Otherness since they've taken so much trouble to set it up. It seems like an extraneous step, but I've always been an obliging individual, willing to go the extra mile to hate someone.

Have you considered watching Schwarzenegger movies as an antidote? Otherness abounds, although Mr. Schwarzenegger rarely seems to have much in the way of hatred for the Other before he shoots it.


Sometimes I wonder: while we grant some people that poetic license, shouldn't we have a consumer committee with a license to kill? Or, at least, to maim. It could encourage a new outlook on life, the universe and everything.

Nah... just thinking aloud.

Ophelia Benson

Osama is Moby Dick! Jeez, why didn't I think of that.

Eric Berman

Call me a shlemiel!


Er, we invaded Iraq because he "had" weapons of mass destruction. All those other reasons you list are retrospective justifcations. They are "other" to the case for war that was articulated time and again by both the American President and the British Prime Minister (dodgy dossier and all). So this thread proves your point in a way: the idea of the "other" will always be a recurrent resource for the weak-minded and the politically unscrupulous.

Mick H

After all this time I really don't want to get into another argument about Iraq, but no, these weren't just retrospective justifications.

Your point about the "other" is singularly contrived, I have to say.


It's not contrived; it's spot-on (or not as contrived as your remarks about what goes on in English Departments, for example). I'm very sure you don't want to get involved in another discussion about Iraq (although you did bring it up in the post above), but it is a matter of simple honesty to acknowledge that the idea that the British people thought they were sending troops into combat because Hussein was "setting up a dynasty of psychopaths in the heart of the Middle East" bore no part in substantive political or public debate and is a mere Hitchens talking point. No more, no less.


"...one of the seminal texts..."
Oh dear.

mark g

"We attacked Iraq because Saddam was, for us, the Other. Not because he was in breach of UN resolutions, had invaded two neighbouring countries, had conducted a genocidal campaign against some of his own people, was in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and was setting up a dynasty of psychopaths in the heart of the Middle East. No, it was because he was the Other."

Which attack are you referring to, the (reasonably defensible) first one or the (much less defensible) Shock & Awe outing? If it is the latter, I would say that "we" (or you) did not attack Iraq merely because Saddam was The Other, though the fact that he was some kind of Other clearly made the bloody mess more palatable. We/You attacked Iraq because (1) GW & Co decided we/you needed somebody to attack and a war would play well post 9/11 (if we/you played the Patriotism card, which of course he did, in spades) (2) not because Saddam actually possessed WMDs but, partly, because he clearly did not (as various people later admitted), and so was presumed an easy target (a quick in and out exercise like the last time and America could sail home triumphant, having deposed a verifiably nasty dictator (whom America initially supported but let that pass) (3) Oil is in there somewhere, obviously, or none of it would count for anything, just a bunch of towel-head losers in the desert so who cares? (4) it could play (through a torturous logic involving Saddam in cohorts with Al Q) as part of the sacred War on Terror (5) pure, unbridled arrogance. As that "advisor to the president" put it so well: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

You see, I am part of that Other, being a pesky European Irish person. I'm not in the Empire, or not quite.

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