Since E.D. Hirsch failed in his noble jihad to enforce Cultural Literacy, I can't assume readers are familiar with the scene in Annie Hall in which Woody Allen stops a movie line bloviator from pontificating about Marshall McLuhan by producing the actual Marshall McLuhan from behind a movie poster to tell the pontificator off. So here is a clip:
Allen concludes the scene by saying to the camera, "Boy, if life were only like this."
But the funny thing is, sometimes life is just like that, and in the past week we have been presented with a spectacular, world-historical example.
A standard bloviator talking point in the last few weeks against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange has been: the WikiLeaks release of classified U.S. diplomatic cables is nothing like the Pentagon Papers case which exposed the US government's fundamental lying to the public about the Vietnam War, and Julian Assange and alleged leaker Bradley Manning are nothing like Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. This Manichean division between "good" and "bad" leakers has been recited with great earnestness: "Four legs good, two legs baaaad!"
A striking example was noted by Sam Husseini on December 5 , citing an appearance by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin on CBS' "Face the Nation":