Well, the game is up- Thers (in the comments) has identified and applied the context of my (now somewhat famous) dart hurled at Jeff Goldstein over at Protein Wisdom. I will let Thers take if from here for a bit:
I enjoyed how the bright young sophisticate Jeff Goldstein mocked your use of “totally boss” words — and missed the Heart of Darkness reference.
Poor Joseph Conrad. His reputation is in the toliet now that Jeff has so wittily “dissed” him.
So, yes. The context of my “Shorter Jeff Goldstein: ‘Exterminate the brutes!‘” is that it was a reference to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, as it was the final line of Kurtz’s report to the “International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs.” Apparently, the dart sailed over its target’s head. Granted, I left out the word “all” accidently, but I hope the more erudite among us can forgive me for this small crime. Perhaps this is what confused poor Jeffrey.
From Charles Lawson, writing in Salon in 2004, a bit more about Heart of Darkness and its disturbing relevance to the current situation:
The intelligence official’s quote about “our heart of darkness” is eerily apt. For Iraq is beginning to look disturbingly like the situation in Joseph Conrad’s 1902 classic. In that novel, if you remember, Kurtz, the main character, goes to Africa in order to bring light and illumination to the Dark Continent. “By the simple exercise of our will we can exert a power for good practically unbounded,” Kurtz postulates. One of his cohorts affirms, “Each station should be … a beacon on the road towards better things, a center of trade of course, but also for humanizing, improving, instructing.” Conrad informs us, “All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz.” Kurtz’s idealism was so infectious that he was entrusted by the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs to write a document recording his observations. The report begins optimistically: The conquest of the earth is redeemed by the ideal — doing good, carrying the torch of piety and progress, bringing civilization to people whose skin is a different color.
Light and illumination, liberation from savagery for the dark continent, have morphed into instilling stability in the Middle East. Instead of ivory, it’s oil. And instead of humanity and instruction, it’s another cycle of violence. Bodies are everywhere — just as they are in Conrad’s story — most of them belonging to the people whose country has been invaded.
Granted, when Conrad published his novel in 1902, most readers did not interpret the text as we do today, as a condemnation of colonialism, but rather as a warning: “Look out, Whitey, or you may regress to the savagery of the black continent.” They were comfortable with their assumptions of superiority and absolutely certain that what they were doing was right, if not ordained by their faith. It was simply that Kurtz had gone a little too far, fallen into the alleged depravity of the people whose lives he was supposed to improve. At the conclusion of the manuscript intended for the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs, Kurtz appended four words: “Exterminate all the brutes.”
So…. for an intellectual, Mr. Goldstein seems to be missing a bit of his required reading. Maybe it wasn’t “totally boss” enough for him in high school.
Je pense, il pète plus haut que son cul.
Another example of the failure of America’s private schools….