[ by Charles Cameron — a terrific example of the DoubleQuote form, drawing on Obama at Ben Gurion Airport and Palmerston in the House of Commons, and why the form is useful ]
Some time in between t-zero and t-aleph-null, some time between the First Day of Creation and Judgment Day, some time in between the Big Bang and the Heat Death of the Universe, there’s a stretch of time known as always.
What does juxtaposing the two statements allow us to understand?
That times have changed? That what you tell a foreign government is not what you tell your own? That Brits are more understated and Americans more plainspoken? That President Obama is showing specific support for Israel, while Palmerston was expressing the general rule which covers all such utterances? That the word “always” doesn’t necessarily mean “for ever”, “unto the ages of ages” as the Eastern Church has it?
Perhaps “for the foreseeable future” would be a better phrase to use, if it didn’t sound so iffy. I’d say it means something closer to “in continuity” than to “in perpetuity”.
The great thing about DoubleQuotes as a form is that they jump-start you into thinking about samenesses and differences, without demanding which particular implications you will select, thus giving rise to multiple possibilities and enlarging the scope of narrative or discussion.
And while I’ve sharpened the pairing of quotes — or graphics — into a tool for repeated use, it’s already a habitual form of thinking, as we can see from the fact that these two particular quotes were juxtaposed by Sam Roggeveen in his post, America’s BFF: Obama calls it, in the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter today.
We naturally pair similars to contrast and compare them: it may be the most basic device that human memory affords us — this reminds me of that.
Here are a few of my own old favorites…
You can read Obama’s speech, from which the excerpt above was taken, on this Israel Times page.