Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

The Snowball effect

Jerry Stratton, January 18, 2006

I wasn’t expecting this, but I probably should have. In Shooting down Cunningham’s legend, the San Diego Union-Tribune tries to deflate disgraced congressman Randy Cunningham’s war record.

During the recent presidential elections, it was John Kerry’s purple heart that came into dispute. Recently, congressman John Murtha’s war record has come under fire, too, in what is likely to be a disgraceful misinterpretation of the real meaning when someone says they “didn’t deserve” a purple heart.

This all reminds me of Animal Farm, where “animal hero, first class” Snowball’s legend falls on hard times:

“Comrades!” cried Squealer, making little nervous skips, “Snowball was in league with Jones from the very start! It has all been proved by documents which he left behind him and which we have only just discovered. To my mind this explains a great deal, comrades. Did we not see for ourselves how he attempted-fortunately without success--to get us defeated and destroyed at the Battle of the Cowshed?”

The animals were stupefied. They all remembered how they had seen Snowball charging ahead of them at the Battle of the Cowshed, how he had rallied and encouraged them at every turn, and how he had not paused for an instant even when the pellets from Jones’s gun had wounded his back. Even Boxer, who seldom asked questions, was puzzled. He lay down, tucked his fore hoofs beneath him, shut his eyes, and with a hard effort managed to formulate his thoughts.

“I do not believe that,” he said. “Snowball fought bravely at the Battle of the Cowshed. I saw him myself. Did we not give him ‘Animal Hero, first Class,’ immediately afterwards?”

“That was our mistake, comrade. For we know now--it is all written down in the secret documents that we have found--that in reality he was trying to lure us to our doom. Jones’s shot only grazed him. I could show you this in his own writing, if you were able to read it. The plot was for Snowball, at the critical moment, to give the signal for flight and leave the field to the enemy. And he very nearly succeeded--I will even say, comrades, he would have succeeded if it had not been for our heroic Leader, Comrade Napoleon. Do you not remember how, just at the moment when Jones and his men had got inside the yard, Snowball suddenly turned and fled, and many animals followed him? Surely you remember that, comrades?” exclaimed Squealer, frisking from side to side.

Read the rest (and the unabridged version) in Animal Farm; it is a great book.

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