Thursday, June 29, 2006

It's called being delusional

An Austalian newspaper celebrates vision.

From the Age:

Treasurer Peter Costello is no stranger to the future....

[T]he Treasurer has shown remarkable resilience and, with that, something more unusual: a willingness to present a vision of how he sees the nation. There is, of course, a benefit for Mr Costello in putting what satirist Jonathan Swift, in a un-satirical moment, alluded to when he said that vision was "the art of seeing what is invisible to others". It bespeaks leadership. Pronouncing a vision is an effective way for a man waiting in the wings to step onto the stage while the protagonist is still very much in the script and on the stage as well.

Type for food has tried unsuccessfully to find this quote in Swift's writings. It is possible that he couldn't find it because Swift never said it. Fake quotes and fake attributions are the order of the day.

In the US, fake quotes are usually attributed to either Benjamin Franklin or de Tocqueville, like Bill Clinton's cheery Hallmark quote, "America is great, because America is good." I've never seen anything like this attributed to Swift, that old misanthopist. Maybe he did slip that remark to Stella or Vanessa when he had had a bit too much Irish whiskey, but I doubt it.

"The art of seeing what is invisible to others." You mean like the Palestians' longing for peace? Or the "good intentions" of the Iranians? Or the tooth fairy? Take your pick. They're all hooey.

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