Francophilia on the Right

by John Holbo on August 4, 2007

I pose a hermeneutic riddle of sorts. Consider the anecdote in the linked post:

At the end of his presentation, he allowed questions. The first supplicant approached the microphone and hopefully inquired, “Mr. Buckley, what do you think about Rush Limbaugh?” This was during the time when Rush was still something of a rising star. His rhetoric was bombastic, hard-edged, and wickedly funny. Members of the audience shifted forward in their seats expectantly as Buckley answered by telling the following story.

There were two Spaniards sitting in a bar. One asked the other, “What do you think about General Franco?” Instead of answering, the man gestured for his friend to follow him outside. Once on the sidewalk, he motioned for the friend to follow him to his car. They got in the car and drove to a forest. Deep in the woods, he parked the car and beckoned the friend to hike with him down to a lake. At the edge of the lake, he pointed to a boat which they boarded. He grabbed the oars and rowed to the center of the lake. Finally, he sat still, looked his friend in the eyes and paused for a moment. “I like him.” Buckley told the story so brilliantly and created so much suspense, the denouement brought the house down amid gales of laughter and happy applause.

I have to admit it’s funny. But I don’t actually get it. Why does the Spaniard have to drag the guy all the way out into the lake? I guess it’s supposed to be a ‘the leftist made me do it’ thing. But the joke seems to be at pains to refute that reading. Since, after all, how could a leftist force you to like someone?

I just watched Pan’s Labyrinth. I liked it. Belle and I debated whether it had a happy or a sad ending. I think it had a happy ending. But I find it hard to believe that, if you asked someone whether it had a happy or sad ending, they would haul you out into the middle of a damn lake and tell you it had a sad ending because [PLOT SPOILER] [click to continue…]