Friday, September 24, 2021

Literary Corner: Nothing Is More Controversial

His Purple Mountain Majesty. Banner of Cawthorne's House website, which claims he is "proudly serving the mountains of Western North Carolina". 


About Nothing

by Rep. Madison Cawthorn

The Left wants you to ask questions
about nothing.


Because nothing
is more controversial
than the truth.

Sadly, no. I'm the one who wrote, or at any rate edited, that. In Cawthorn's original, the last three lines are overstuffed with syllables and devoid of meaning:

Because there is nothing
more controversial in the world
than the truth.
Why "in the world"? Is there something more controversial than truth elsewhere in the galaxy? What does it mean for truth to be controversial, compared to what?

Not that my version means much of anything either, but at least it does something ("a poem should not mean but be"), asking you what it would mean if it did mean something.

What Cawthorn intends is pretty clear, I believe: to ask you to please not ask questions about his strange weekend disappearance last week—

—or the mystifying paranoid fundraising letter that he put out around the same time:

The same day as the tweet, Cawthorn's campaign released an email saying he was being targeted by a liberal Super PAC, calling the group "anti-American scum" and calling for supporters to send him money. (Asheville Citizen-Times, 21 September)

—because it was nothing, as opposed to a case of Covid-19, or a mental collapse, or more likely a spectacular bender from which 72 hours of sleep would be enough to enable him to get back to Washington with no sign of those significant medical complications but looking fresh, as usual, as a daisy. It was nothing, so why would you ask questions about it?

My version clarifies the possibility that it might be the "nothing" that's controversial, more so than the "truth", and that the two (the nothing that happened to him last week and the truth that isn't what the Left wants you to ask questions about) are in some kind of opposition to each other. I have questions, in fact.

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