Politics is the continuation of war by other means
"`They're all found and surrender immediately – as does Teddy Badteeth. And they are all cuffed. Indeed, there is no shooting at all until Davey the Fuseman tries to bolt for it and is shot in the arm. Though it's nothing life-threatening and he's able to walk back into the room.'The stories in Off Broadway are narrated as recollections. The recollections are often of the violent days of the Troubles, and they are narrated by and among characters who move in other circles: criminal, political, legal, journalistic. The slow bleeding of the recent past into the present is a constant dynamic of these stories, and before I start sounding like a sociologist, I'll shut up and say that they're a lot of fun to read.
"`But the gendarmes then line all four of the Boys up against the wall, and without any comment, the sergeant pulls out his revolver and shoots Jimmy, Teddy and Davey in the head. Dead as green meat. My father, Dom, who is fourth in line, is shaking and crying as he makes his Act of Contrition. But the sergeant, who, incidentally, is no connection whatsoever to Two Tuts, then re-holsters his gun and tells Dad to go home – and let that be a lesson to him.'
"`It's a move as old as war itself: always leave one alive to tell the tale.'"
The question arose last week as I copy-edited a story about that night's presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. A political operative, assessing McCain's chances, told a reporter that McCain needed to land a knockout punch in the homestretch of the campaign.
What made the two-sport cliché-mongering especially delicious is that it came in a story about the debate's having to compete for attention with that night's baseball playoff game. Baseball, quite naturally, was invoked in the headline, which gave the story three sports metaphor/clichés – or should I say a hat trick.
© Peter Rozovsky 2008