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Eating Your Own Words

It is a well known fact that journalists and bloggers can be an opinionated bunch of people.  There has been a couple of stories recently about two of them being forced to eat humble pie.

Journalist – Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchen recently had an opinion piece in Slate Magazine where he touched on the alleged American practice of waterboarding [^] terror suspects.  Mr Hitchen’s contention was that the practice was “extreme interrogation” rather than “outright torture”, since the USA would never resort to torture.  An interesting line of reasoning!

As part of a story for Vanity Fair, Mr Hitchen was asked if he would volunteer to become a subject of waterboarding; he accepted.  Vanity Fair made a video of the session [^] and posted it online. 

Christopher Hitchens Waterboarding

Mr Hitchens wrote-up his experience in an accompanying story in Vanity Fair in which he said:

It goes without saying that I knew I could stop the process at any time, and that when it was all over I would be released into happy daylight rather than returned to a darkened cell  …  You may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it “simulates” the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning—or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled conditions …  Christopher Hitchens – Believe Me, It’s Torture [^]

In the piece Mr Hitchens explores both side of the “extreme interrogation” versus “outright torture” debate.  The journalist goes on to say “if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.”  And it must be remembered that Mr Hitchens experience was in a controlled environment, with a very clear means of ending the experience.

It seems that the journalist in this piece has now adopted a more reasoned position, rather than blind faith in the American way.  This was reinforced once it is made clear to him that information received from such techniques is of only limited reliability.

Blogger – Colin Espiner

In a much lighter vein; blogger Colin Espiner, on, ended-up literally eating his own words. 

In the run-up to the recent NZ elections, Mr Espiner blogged that the Maori Party would not form a coalition with the Nationals.  Mr Espiner went on to promise that if he was proven wrong he would print the blog post and eat it online on a web-cam. 


The Maori Party have now entered into a confidence and supply agreement, but not a coalition.  Rather then argue the point, like a politician, Mr Espiner has made good on his promise and ate the post.  The blogger printed the post added yoghurt, milk and banana and blended up a “Coalition Smoothie” [^].  “It actually didn’t taste too bad except you could definitely taste the printer ink.” 

Coalition Smoothie on Webcam [^]

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