March 9, 2010

"After years of litigation, endless depositions, the fictionalized portrayal of this lawsuit and its litigants on television, and innumerable histrionics, this Court is left to conclude that with this lawsuit, to quote Gertrude Stein, 'there's no there there.'"

And so the federal district judge would shut the drawer on the 1996 scandal known as Filegate.
While this Court seriously entertained the plaintiffs' allegations that their privacy had been violated  — and indeed it was, even if not in the sense contemplated by the Privacy Act — after ample opportunity, they have not produced any evidence of the far-reaching conspiracy that sought to use intimate details from FBI files for political assassinations that they alleged. The only thing that they have demonstrated is that this unfortunate episode — about which they do have cause to complain — was exactly what the defendants claimed: a bureaucratic snafu.
By the way the there that wasn't there for Gertrude Stein was Oakland, California, which really does exist. She just didn't think much of it. I'm not sure what that says about Filegate.
Ever since Gertrude Stein wrote that there was “no there there” during a return trip to her childhood home in Oakland, California, her words have been distorted to imply that Oakland was a “nowhere,” a dissing along the lines of Neil Young’s “Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere,” which was funny for Young, a transplanted Canadian singer, to write for an U.S. pop market, because Young had really been a Californian before he transplanted himself to California, as Stein had been really been an American in Paris long before she left the U.S., and returning to her “there is no there there,” she later clarified that the Oakland of her childhood was gone, she was commenting on her great theme, not just hers, of course, a great thread in American literature concerning place and memory, we all lose the place of our childhood, and in adulthood clutch that place, or more accurately, a complex tangled image of that place, close to our bosom, as Cather did with her....
Hey, wait a minute. I see what he's doing there. That sentence goes on for 1,316 words more. Essay dismissed.

7 comments:

traditionalguy said...

The Gertrude Stein link would drive anyone to drink and a Box would not hold enough wine. Can you imagine diagramming that sentence as a English class homework assignment?

Lance said...

"A bureaucratic snafu."

Wow, isn't that the exact characterization of the recent Matheson kerfuffle? No evidence of a quid pro quo, at most it makes the Administration look bad for announcing the judicial nomination on the day the President is begging for the Congressman's vote.

It's funny, when I first read the article in the Weekly Standard, I even thought "There's no there there."

ricpic said...

...the yard nothing but a lot with broken rocks and black wood showing where hoboes Tokay'd last night before moving off across the meatpacking yard to the Mainline rail Tracy-bound thru vast endless impossible Brooklyn-Oakland full of telephone poles and crap and on Saturday nights the wild Negro bars full of whores and the Mexicans Ya-Yaing in their own saloons and the cop car cruising the long sad avenue riddled with drinkers and the glitter of broken bottles...

Jack Kerouac -- from The Subterraneans

Peter V. Bella said...

Snafu? Looks like the Clintonistas beat another rap. But, hey, Hillary is the State Department now. There are all kinds of ways she cans spy on her enemies list.

Ralph L said...

I could almost believe it was an innocent mistake that the files were sent to the White HOuse by the FBI, IF they had been promptly sent back, but they weren't.

Someone should have gone to jail.

kcom said...

For me Delaware is the epitome of no there, there. I honestly am not even sure Delaware exists. I've never been there, never known anyone from there, anyone who has lived there, or anyone who has visited there. I don't even think there's space for it on the map. But I'm told it is there.

Ralph L said...

kcom, Althouse grew up in Delaware.
That's one.