Friday, September 09, 2005

A Socratic Dialogue With Press Secretary Scott McClellan

SCOTT: It is important that we not get bogged
down playing the "blame game"...

SOCRATES: We shall soon know better, my dear
fellow. Just consider this argument: is the blame
game played because of blaming? Or are the blam-
ed playing a game?

SCOTT: Be that as it may, this administration will
not play the "blame game"...

SOCRATES: Then I will try to say it more clearly. We
speak of being carried and of carrying, of being led
and leading, of being seen and seeing; and you under-
stand in all such cases that and how the one thing differs
from the other?

SCOTT: We would really prefer not to play the
"blame game" here...

SOCRATES: Is blaming and being blamed something
different than this?

SCOTT: Some people want to play the "blame game"!

SOCRATES: Then tell me, is what is being carried what
is being carried because someone is carrying it, or for
some other reason?

SCOTT: We have to do all we can to avoid the "blame
game". Next question, please...

SOCRATES: And what is being led is what is being led
because someone is leading it, and what is seen is what
is seen because someone is seeing it?

SCOTT: It’s a funny thing, this "blame game"...

SOCRATES: Then someone does not see it because it is
being seen but, on the contrary, because someone sees it
it becomes something which is being seen. Again, someone
does not lead something because it is being led but it be-
comes something led in virtue of the fact that someone
is leading it. So is it quite clear, Mr. Press Secretary, what
I want to say?

SCOTT: But there are people out there who want to play
the "blame game"!

SOCRATES: Now then, what shall we say about the
blame game, Mr. Press Secretary. Is it, according to
your account, what is being played?

SCOTT: Exactly! And it shouldn’t be about the "blame

SOCRATES: For this reason, because it is blame, or
for some other reason?

SCOTT: Let me reiterate: the "blame game" shouldn’t
be played...

SOCRATES: We are blamed because of a game, or there is
a game played because of our blame?

SCOTT: That has been the administration’s argument all

SOCRATES: But surely, the blamed and the game players
are the blamed and the game players because of blame, not
because of the game?

SCOTT: Well, I think it’s patently obvious that–

SOCRATES: Then the blamed are not playing the game, Mr.
Press Secretary, and the game players are not to blame, as
you were saying, but the one is different from the other.

SCOTT: Next question please...

SOCRATES: Because we agree, do we not, that the blame is
being game played because it is blamed, rather than the
game is blame because it is what is played?

SCOTT: No, no. "The Blame Game" will not stand. It is the
duty of all Americans to resist the temptation to play the
"blame game" This press conference is over...

SOCRATES: Also that what is blame gamed is blame
gamed because it is played, that is, by reason of this
play, rather than that they play the blame game?

SCOTT: [Ruffles papers, walks out]

SOCRATES: And what about the games that blame the
player? Are those not also the blame game which is played?
And if the game were played in virtue of blame, then the
game-player would blame in virtue of being a blame-gamer;
and if the blame-gamer was a game-player in virtue of play-
blaming, then the blame would be blame because it is gamed.
But you now see, don’t you, that the opposite is the case, in
that both are entirely different from one another. For the
one is gamed because it is blamed!

SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Sir, we’re going to have
to ask you to leave the building...

SOCRATES: I was only pointing out that the game is
different than what is being played when blame can be
construed as blame, rather than as, or in opposition to,
game playing. You can see that, can’t you?

SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Of course. Please come with
me, sir.

SOCRATES: The Press Secretary is a tool, isn’t he?

SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Yes, sir. One of the worst, sir.

SOCRATES: That’s what I thought.