The recent semi-backhanded bin Laden endorsement of Bush is hardly a surprise: the president has done more for al Qaeda than bin Laden ever might have hoped. I’ve already written at length about how the real target on September 11 was the American sense of security, our willingness to have an open society, and our steady embrace of the world — a target that has been repeatedly struck by the bin Laden-Bush alliance. Who put these two in charge, anyway?
The events did, however, remind me a bit of another conversation:
MAN IN BLACK: All right: where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right and who is dead.
VIZZINI: But it’s so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you. Are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet, or his enemy’s? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I’m not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool; you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
MIB: You’ve made your decision then7
VIZZINI: Not remotely. Because iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows. And Australia is entirely peopled with criminals. And criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me. So I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.
MIB: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.
VIZZINI: Wait till I get going! Where was I?
VIZZINI: Yes — Australia, and you must have suspected I would have known the powder’s origin, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
MIB: You’re just stalling now.
VIZZINI: You’d like to think that, wouldn’t you? You’ve beaten my giant, which means you’re exceptionally strong. So, you could have put the poison in your own goblet, trusting on your strength to save you. So I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But, you’ve also bested my Spaniard which means you must have studied. And in studying, you must have learned that man is mortal so you would have put the poison as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
MIB: You’re trying to trick me into giving away something — it won’t work —
VIZZINI: It has worked — you’ve given everything away — I know where the poison is.
MIB: Then make your choice.
VIZZINI: I will. And I choose —