The Paul Wolfowitz saga has entered its absurdist phase when the sober Foreign Policy runs a spoof letter from Wolfie that newspapers like Le Monde fall for.
Kenneth Rogoff‘s spoof was in the form of a “memo” from Wolfie warning World Bank staff not to participate in the “Paul Wolfowitz resignation” contracts available online.
But no wonder Le Monde thought this was real. The staid Foreign Policy, after all, was where George Kennan published his seminal Cold War containment essay in 1947. [Correction 5-8-07, 12:48 p.m.: Oops. Reader Bupa Courtney points out that Kennan’s essay appeared in Foreign Affairs, not Foreign Policy. My apologies. Well, there goes that little subtextual point.]
Besides, betting on Wolfie’s resignation really does exist. Check out intrade.com. You can even see the charts and other visual info portraying the brisk trading on Wolfie’s impending ouster.
All those visuals mean that, to understand the Wolfie saga, you have to turn to art history. Yes, the meltdown of Paul Wolfowitz has entered its mannerist phase — defined by some as consisting of “elongated proportions, affected poses, and unclear perspective.”
Take a look at the work of 16th century Florentine painter Agnolo Bronzino, and you’ll see what I mean. Remember the giant foot that Terry Gilliam used to crush the animated titles on Monty Python’s Flying Circus? That was Cupid’s right foot, borrowed from Bronzino’s Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time.