Sunday, September 05, 2004

Pyongyang is fucked up as usual

North Korea-- technological backwater and hellhole, or simply misunderstood by an uncaring world?

KimcheeGI has the goods: "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

Haw haw.

EPISTEMOLOGICAL NOTE: If you have the time and inclination, read Wittgenstein's Poker by David Edmonds and John Eidinow. The book uses a 1946 incident at Cambridge, in which philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein reportedly threatened fellow philo-guru Karl Popper with a fireplace poker, as an excuse to cover issues in Wittgenstein's and Popper's philosophical approaches. The running joke is that a room full of epistemologists-- people who'd devoted their lives to exploring theories of how we know-- weren't able to provide consistent accounts of what actually happened. Witnesses were unable to agree on whether the poker was red-hot, nor on whether Wittgenstein had actually waved the poker at Popper (as opposed to merely waving it about dramatically). Nor could they agree on what exactly was said during the brief exchange.

I was reminded of Wittgenstein's Poker and its running joke while doing Google research on the famous "failure to communicate" quote from "Cool Hand Luke," in which Paul Newman utters the line right before being shot. I've never seen "Cool Hand Luke" (except for a brief glimpse of the final scene a few years back while channel surfing) and I've heard slight variations of the quote. Is it "what we have here"? Is it "what we've got here"? I can tell you this: without seeing the movie, there's almost no way to know the truth. Google provides a blizzard of links referencing the quote (I tried several different search strings); none of them strikes me as authoritative.

So: did any of my readers see the movie, and did you faithfully remember the quote? Further: how can I trust that you did?


No comments: