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Libretto: Oratorio for Spin and Ten Flacks

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Alex Ross is right. This compilation of news footage, compiled by the dogged geniuses at Talking Points Memo, is sublime. (It’s a lengthy series of clips of Bush administration officials, mostly, explaining why Scott McClellan’s book has come as such a doggone surprise to them.) As Ross notes, the compilation is diabolically edited in such a way as to maximize the musique concrète quotient of the speech acts. Which of course also has the effect of dramatically boosting the perceived inanity and desperation of the speech acts.

In an effort to help out, I have charted out a kind of score or perhaps libretto of the major themes of the piece, in the event that anyone wants to mount a production at the Met someday. Peter Gelb, call me.

Even without the Harry Partch angle, the mere fact of Ari Fleischer ruminating about how he is all “heartbroken” makes my very heart sing.

Full text after the jump.

Oratorio for Spin and Ten Flacks

“Out of the loop”
“Out of the loop”
“He shouldn’t have been in those loops”
“He wouldn’t have been”
“He wasn’t in the meetings”
“Was he at the meetings?”
“Frankly I don’t recall Scott being at a lot of those meetings”
“I was there”
“I saw it”
“I saw it a lot more than Scott did in fact”
“I think his view is limited”
“He didn’t have the right access”
“What was said behind closed doors”
“Scratching their heads”
“Scratching their heads”
“Scratching my head”
“Scratching our heads”
“Shocked and surprised”
“Shocked and saddened”
“All of the above, maybe?”
“It’s kind of hard to make head or tails of it”
“It’s kind of out of left field”
“A book that doesn’t make sense”
“Make no sense”
“Something is wrong”
“Smething doesn’t add up”
“It doesn’t match”
“It doesn’t match”
“It doesn’t match”
“It doesn’t match”
“It doesn’t match”
“It doesn’t add up”
“I can’t figure it out”
“We were so surprised”
“Not just puzzled”
“Puzzled and surprised and disappointed and saddened”
“Saddened by it”
“I thought his heart was in it”
“I’m heartbroken”
“I just don’t understand it”
“It’s so hard to understand”
“I still don’t understand”
“I still can’t understand”
“It’s just too hard to understand”
“I am stumped”
“I am really stumped”
“I just am so stumped”
“I’m stumped and I’m stunned”
“You said you were stumped”
“I’m still stumped”
“That’s what leaves me kinda heartbroken”
“It’s so horribly unfair”
“I feel like crying”
“This is heartbreaking to me”
“I find this whole thing heartbreaking”
“So heartbreaking”
“This doesn’t sound like the Scott McClellan folks knew”
“This is not the Scott we knew”
“This is not the Scott we knew”
“This is not the Scott we knew”
“This is not the Scott McClellan we knew”
“This is not the Scott McClellan I’ve known for a long time”
“It’s a different Scott”
“Maybe this is a new Scott”
“Maybe this is a new Scott”
“Almost like a out-of-body experience”
“Scott’s words don’t even sound like Scott”
“This doesn’t sound like Scott”
“This doesn’t sound like Scott”
“What did Scott sound like?”
“You’d know how Scott sounds”
“Scott’s a soft-spoken person”
“Scott was known for sitting quietly”
“Sounds like somebody else”
“Sounds like a left-wing blogger”
“Scott uses the very same words as the far left uses”
“Moveon dot org”
“The John Kerry campaign”
“The DNC
“Even Dan Rather during the 2004 campaign”
“Did you have a ghostwriter?”
“The editor tweaked the content”
“Tweaked it?”
“That’s the way Scott put it to me”
“The publisher didn’t hold a gun to Scott’s head”
“He held a checkbook”
“I don’t know”
“I don’t know”
“His disgruntlement”
“Sad and disgruntled”
“Scott, we now know, is disgruntled”
“He was not a happy camper”
“Disgruntled employees”
“Sitting on the front porch swinging in Crawford with Scott”
“Didn’t sound like he thought he was ever going to sit on that swing”
“Total crap”
“Total crap”
“Total crap”
“Scott uses these very inflammatory words like shading the truth”
“Total crap”
“I actually don’t care”
“I’m more concerned with American Idol”
“I care more about American Idol”
“Need any brownies or anything?”


Alex Ross suggests the alternate title “Puzzled,” but I’d like to offer another: “The Idea of [Oliver] North.”

rootlesscosmoJune 17, 2008

The role of Ari Fleischer will be sung by James Gandolfini?

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2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree