Again, bottleofblog sends me to an important story, this on the chilling letter from the Number 2 man in Al Qaeda.
Bottle, after guaranteeing that the reader of the letter will remain so unchilled as practically to be sweaty, comments on the remarkable number of number-2 men Al Qaeda has.
I'm mainly reminded of Robert Benchley.
This letter is so chilling, says the story, because of how "calm, clear, and well argued" it is. Isn't it remarkable? A senior leader at Al Qaeda can write a letter clearly! And "Isn't It Remarkable?" was the title of the essay Benchley wrote when he encountered a picture captioned "Remarkably Accurate and Artistic Painting of a Goose from Pharoah Akhenaten's Palace, Drawn 3300 Years Ago." Benchley asked why it was remarkable: "Why should we be surprised that the people who built the Pyramids could also draw a goose so that it looked like a goose?"
Benchley's sobering essay (or chilling?) should be read, for balance, along with his "Lucky World!" which begins, "When you come to think of it, the wonder is not that there are so many jammed automobile fenders, bad motion pictures, sore throats, divorces and wars, but that there aren't more of them." Both are in My Ten Years in a Quandary, Harper & Bros, 1936 (lots of reprints, cheap at abebooks.