Saturday, November 21, 2009

Can We Make Entertainment out of Irrationality?

If, as I have suggested, irrationality knows no bounds, can we at least start mining it for its entertainment value? I have to confess that this was my immediate reaction to the following report that just appeared on the BBC News Web site:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has defended jailed killer "Carlos the Jackal" and several world leaders he says are wrongly considered "bad guys".

In a speech to international socialist politicians, Mr Chavez said "Carlos", a Venezuelan, was not a terrorist but a key "revolutionary fighter".

He is serving a life sentence in France for murders committed in 1975.

Mr Chavez also hailed Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the late Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

'Great nationalist'

Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, gained international notoriety in the 1970s as a mastermind of deadly bombings, assassinations and hostage-takings.

He was captured in Sudan in 1994 and handed over to France, where he was jailed for killing two French intelligence officers and an alleged informer in 1975.

In his speech late on Friday in Caracas, Mr Chavez said: "I defend him. It doesn't matter to me what they say tomorrow in Europe."

He said he believed Carlos had been unfairly convicted, and called him "one of the great fighters of the Palestine Liberation Organisation".

I started thinking about this entertainment factor when it occurred to me that I might actually pay to see a debate between Chavez and Sarah Palin, just because I had absolutely how far off the map the two of them would venture. It is tempting to conjecture that they would end up like Eugene Field's gingham dog and calico cat, but I doubt that such wishful thinking would be consummated! I suspect that the best we could hope for is that each would bring out the worst in the other, which might provide partisan supporters in both camps with a more realistic take on their partisanship!

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