Agam's Gecko
Saturday, April 29, 2006

t can't be a very nice thing to have one's name popularly verbed. Getting 'borked' is one example. Getting 'fisked' is another. The latter is in honour of the Middle East based writer and all around expert, Robert Fisk. It means the act of taking a piece of writing -- usually an illogical polemic masquerading as analysis -- and dissecting it logically and factually, piece by piece. I read recently that it originated with Fisk's anguished reporting of an incident in Afghanistan several years ago (may have been during the war or even Taliban time), in which Afghans threw stones at him. He was lucky to get out alive. Robert apparently felt that they were fully justified in trying to kill him, and his logic was deconstructed point by point, far and wide. Fisking was born (or at least, that's the legend as I have it).

Fisk was visiting Australia recently, and had this interview with Lateline. A masterpiece of fisking, if a Fisk could fisk Fisk. Of course in such an interview format, he can't interject into himself, as in a proper text-based fisking, so it's linear. His subject on the occasion was the recent video taped threats from Abu Musab al Zarqawi, chief of al Qaeda in Iraq, sometimes also known as al Qaeda in Messopotamia (or, as James Taranto at Best of the Web Today likes to remind us, the group known to the Left as al Qaeda Which Had Nothing to do With Iraq, In Iraq Which Had Nothing To Do With al Qaeda). The Zarkman showed his face for the first time in years, countering reports that he had been sidelined in the command structure. His last known activity was a guest blogging gig at iowahawk. He hates email, cuz. (another masterpiece!)

That's the weirdest thing about the Fisk interview. The questioner is completely normal, and Robert speaks like something iowahawk would write. Wai Tim Blair, whose reader K. Bowman
provides a 'shorter Fisk' -- another great time saver:
Fisk’s points are all very simple. Zarqawi is just a figurehead whom we just are encouraged to loathe, who, at the end of the day, is not a person whom we need to worry about. Although he is a problem for all of us (Fisk, too). The West bestializes Zarqawi, although he is genuinely a bad guy (no doubt about it). It is wrong for us to paint the Middle East as a fight between good and evil, although Bin Laden and Zarqawi are monstrous. We created Zarqawi, although he created himself, and we helped, although he used to exist as a fantasy figure created by American propaganda. The media perpetuates these myths every time it blames Zarqawi, although he is to blame, and it would be absolutely wrong for reporters to ignore the things he is to blame for. Zarqawi’s existence supports American propaganda, but his continued existence is also a severe blow to American credibility.
That would seem to hit all the main points, I think. For full drippiness though, read the whole thing.

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