Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Any of you who have seen the classic Rob Reiner film "The Princess Bride", remember the line by Vizzini, the rather inept kidnapper of the princess of the title. Played by Wallace Shawn, this character looked at every setback to his plans by the "Man in Black" and responded with a single word, "Inconceivable!"

So much of what we saw in the movies and TV over the years seemed to me to be equally inconceivable. Superman stood calmly as bad guys shot him in the George Reeves series, but ducked when they threw the empty gun at him. Imperial stormtroopers in "Star Wars" movies wore armor that restricted both movement and vision, but obviously not as protection, as every weapon used by the Alliance took them out, as did rocks in the hands of those little teddy bear Ewoks. Hundreds of bad guys shot at James Bond over the years in films, and none of them seemed to be able to hit him. On the other hand, Bond James Bond and most of the other good guys in film rarely seemed to miss. 

Speaking of getting shot, how do the good guys run around on legs that have just gotten shot or throw a punch after getting shot in the arm or shoulder? How can the last two minutes of a quarter of basketball or football game take longer to complete than all of the previous minutes in that same quarter?

But apparently such observations are not restricted to entertainment. I now find myself in Vizzini's position in real life. I watch with awe as the government of a Representative Republic seemingly ignores the will of the very people that it is supposed to represent: Remember when you said that Congress would not pass a Stimulus Bill that would do no good, well they did it anyway. "Inconceivable!"

Remember when you said that the government would never bail out the mortgage and banking industries, in effect nationalizing them, well they did it anyway. "Inconceivable!" 

Remember when you said that Congress would never bail out Chrysler and General Motors, well they didn't, but the president did it anyway. "Inconceivable!" 

Remember when you said that Congress would never bring health care reform to a vote in both Houses, knowing that it would add to a debt burden already too large to pay back, well it looks like they are going to. "Inconceivable!"

Remember when you said that "Cap and Trade" Legislation would never be put forward, as it would stifle the very economic growth that this country so desperately needs, well they are. "Inconceivable!" 

And so we return to "The Princess Bride", where finally frustrated by his bosses repetition of the word Inconceivable on each of these occasions, his henchman Inigo Montoya (played with such a perfect sense of irony by Manny Patinkin) finally rejoined: 

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." 

Inigo my friend, I'm afraid that you might be right.


Roland Hansen said...

It's all inconceivable to me. Or are you really speaking in code of (pardon me) a barren woman?

Tim Higgins said...


Perhaps not a barren woman, but most certainly a barren intellect.

Maggie Thurber said...

One of my favorite quotes from the movie is when they're on the boat and they see another boat behind them, gaining on them and Inigo says:

"I wonder if he is using the same wind we are using."

That's a pertinent sentiment if we substitute 'logic' for wind....

I wonder if politicians are using the same logic as we are using....

Apparently not!

Tim Higgins said...


I like your line as well, and though I agree with your change, I wonder if it's needed.

Many politicians are using a different wind to power the sails to the edge of the "flat earth" they appear to live on. It is never ending, full of hot air, and and self-generated.

Roland Hansen said...

Who is it that elects these politicians?

Follow up question:
If these politicians are so bad, why do those people (whomever they may be) continue to re-elect them?

Tim Higgins said...


I started to reply that the people who elect (and re-elect) these politicians are people like you and me.

Then I thought about it, and said to myself, "Inconceivable!"

Roland Hansen said...