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Saturday, February 7, 2015

More hilarity from Williams

An article that appeared last night in the NY Post detailed Brian Williams' conflicting accounts of a puppy -- or puppies -- that he rescued as a teenage volunteer firefighter:

In October 2011, Williams waxed rhapsodic about how his dad took him to fires.

“I remember one such house fire . . . conducting a search on my hands and knees, when I felt something warm, squishy and furry on the floor of a closet,” Williams said.

“I instinctively tucked it in my coat. When I got outside, I saw two small eyes staring up at me, and I returned the 3-week-old and very scared puppy to its grateful owners,” he said.

But in July 2005, he told a different story, insisting he had saved not one but two pups from certain death.

“All I ever did as a volunteer fireman was once save two puppies,” he said, according to Esquire magazine. 

Note the usual credibility-enhancing self-deprecatory note from Williams: "All I ever did…" When someone is nominally putting himself down like that, our tendency is to believe him.

Williams rides in a helicopter that gets shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade. He watches bodies float by his hotel in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and gets dysentery in the process. And he saves puppies from burning houses.

What an unbelievable guy!  


Pavonine99 said...

What do you think about Chris Kyle? I haven't seen American Sniper (I'm not an Eastwood fan, and the film looks dull to me), but the actual guy sounds like he was a sociopath. I don't count his job as a sniper, I'm thinking about the lies he told, particularly how he claimed to have shot looters during Hurricane Katrina. He sounded a lot like Williams-big sincere-sounding stories about his own heroism easily punctured by critical thought.

John Craig said...

Pavonine --
Are you saying that Kyle was a sociopath? I honestly don't know much about him, other than what i've read through the publicity about the movie. Haven't read his book, was unaware of any lies. I certainly wouldn't rule it out.

I do have an opinion about Eastwood, however, I think he's a great director, probably the second best one working now (after Scorsese). Unforgiven, Flags of Our Fathers, Gran Torino, etc.

Pavonine99 said...

I'm almost certain that he was. From what I can tell, no one has said that anything in his book is untrue. It's a number of things he said publicly. Here's an article that lists them:

Also, someone mentioned a bit of his book where he talks about shooting Iraqis in the water. They were wearing floatation devices, and he shot those, not the men, because he liked to watch them drown. That's atypical for a soldier, but not for a sociopath, I don't think.

Apparently, the movie whitewashes Kyle quite a bit and gives him PTSD, which he doesn't seem to have had. That could be another indicator-of course a soldier not having PTSD doesn't make him sociopathic, but in addition to the lying and apparent sadism, the absence of any guilt or trauma makes sense.

Eh, Eastwood does nothing for me, but I understand that I'm in the minority there. I don't consider him a bad director, just not to my taste.

John Craig said...

Pavonine --
You make a good case, and I can't argue with any of it. And that list by the Washington Post is pretty damning. Looks like you -- and Bill Maher -- are right.

It's unfortunate, in a way, that argument about Kyle has broken down alone political lines. People on the Left are more willing to say he was a bad guy, people on the Right defend him.

But judgment of sociopathy should not be determined by political allegiances, but by a calm analysis of character. I'm generally fall on the Right side of the political spectrum, but I can't deny anything you've said.

I've actually often thought that a lot of our war heroes are likely sociopaths. The qualities it takes to be a great soldier -- fearlessness and a certain bloodthirstiness -- are more likely to be found among the ranks of sociopaths than among the population as a whole.