I seriously considered fisking a moronic letter that appeared yesterday, but declined as it would have forced me to speak ill of no less than two dead people. Despite this sudden and inexplicable pang of class, that drooling blather did provive an impetus to rant about something that annoys the living shit out of me. See if you can spot it in this excerpt:
In her last columns she challenged us all to not rest until the people's voice is heard once again and we are out of Iraq. We miss her clear, strong voice already. Who else will be able to speak such truth to power, with such barbed wit?
[Waving hand in the air] Oh! Ohohoh! I'll do it!
As you probably inferred, the truth speaker to whom this drooler was referring is the recently passed Molly Ivins. And while I could write a 7 foot-long post about the side-splittingly hillarious irony of that assertion, I think it wiser to keep the focus a little more general.
There are two things wrong with the cliche "speaking truth to power". The "truth" part and the "to power" part. I shall treat them in order.
Generally when one of these smug pricks purports to speak truth to power there is rarely any truth involved. For instance, one famous columnist who fancies himself a truth-power coduit once famously aimed this truth missle at power:
Our schools are burning.
Now when he wrote that, many flipped on their police scanners, checked the news or called 911. It turned out that no schools were indeed burning - he was merely using a metaphor. When pushed on the matter, he revealed - somewhat angrily - that what he meant was that some schools were "in trouble" because their libraries possessed an insufficient nummber of copies of books written by Judy Blume. At best, this can be characterised as an opinion, since reasonable people can differ on the issue. But an opinion is not fact, and fact is the basis of truth. And what's worse is a large amount of the supposed truths that are being spoken range from the arguably true or false ("Global warming is man made, and unless we all start getting to work by bicycle we're all gonna diiiiiieeeeee!!!!") to the demonstrably false ("Bush lied!")
Moreover, I suspect that the speaker himself or herself tends to have a bearing on whether or not he or she can be considered a speaker of "truth". For instance, what if I hypothetically wrote a statement directed at our new Senator Amy Klobuchar on a hypothetical blog (called, say, "Booger Line" or "Hind Quarters") that posited the following:
Universal health care will drag the economy into the sewer and greatly reduce the quality of care.
Would that be "speaking truth to power"? No? Why not?
What if I wrote it on a sign-on-a-stick and stood outside A-Klo's office?
Now am I speaking truth to power?
No. Although the moonbat fringe, which is well-populated with truth speakers to power, will have to do a double-take to realize it.
Just about every time some anushead claims to be speaking truth, take a close look at it. Best case, you'll find an opinion. In the worst case, it's just some moron babbling about things of which he hasn't a clue.
This one's easy. If you hold a powerful office you are constantly bombarded with fierce opinions; the loudest ones almost always negative. If you were in such a position, would you give a rat's ass about what some former art critic jerkass at the New York Times thinks of your foreign policy? What about a former TV critic turned jerkass metro columnist?
Neither would I.
And while the truly deluded ones may actually think that halls of power are echoing with their particularly truthy brand of the truth, I suspect the ones who stay on their meds hold no such illusions. I think most of them realize that while they may be aiming their particular "truth" vector at "power" they realize that they're really writing for the like-minded drooling masses.
So to sum up, when someone purports to speak "truth to power" - unless they're saying "an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by a force" to Nancy Pelosi - what he or she really means is that they are "speaking an ill-informed or arguable opinion based on incomplete facts and fully formed predjudices" to "anusheads."