Quote of the week

When I was a kid, I was pretty good at connecting the dots.

Nowadays, it seems to be a lost art, says the Old Grouch:

“[D]ot-connecting” is as much an art as it is a skill, and nine times out of ten it’s the product of a judgment call. It’s tricky under the best of circumstances, even more so when being wrong might land the dot-connector in political hot water.

And good dot-connectors are smart — certainly smart enough to detect the unspoken messages issuing from their superiors. What kind of messages do you suppose our dot-connectors are detecting?

What is obvious is that neither the Bush administration (which began by “declaring war on a noun”) nor the Obama administration (whose F.B.I. is busy taking sensitivity lessons from people connected with the Muslim Brotherhood) have been interested in connecting the “wrong kind” of dots. Fear of accusations of racism, international pressures, political correctness, sympathy for “revolutionaries” … whatever the reason, both administrations have continually bent over backwards, failing to name the enemy and rushing to declare each new incident “isolated.”

The assumption, apparently, is that the General Public is as easily spooked as a New York Knick, and therefore must be subjected to purely-artificial lighting.

I cannot believe that our military and our intelligence agencies have lost all ability to connect the dots. What I can believe is that our dot-connectors know which way the wind blows, and — consciously or unconsciously — tailor their output to avoid conclusions their superiors “don’t want to hear.”

There is a word for those who don’t avoid those conclusions, and that word is “unemployed.”


  1. fillyjonk »

    15 January 2010 · 3:15 pm

    Dots are easier to connect when each one is numbered. One of the unfortunate facts of adult life is that the dots no longer come with numbers, so any given situation could turn out to be a giraffe or a grenade, depending on the person trying to do the connecting. Or, as you suggested, someone seeing a grenade could claim it was a giraffe, because they figured it would make their higher-ups happy.

  2. CGHill »

    15 January 2010 · 5:21 pm

    Hamlet would appreciate the giraffe/grenade dichotomy: “When the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a hand-saw.”

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