WHO SAID IT: Donald Rumsfeld (Secretary of Defense) or Peter Brook (Secretary of Bullshit)?
Reading The Open Door, Mr. Brook's trite, solipsistic, and self-aggrandizing sequel to The Empty Space (his famous book about directing), reminded me of nothing so much as the circuitous pronouncements of my favorite Bush administration official. I promise I haven't gone out of my way to make Mr. Brook or Mr. Rumsfeld sound banal and/or silly. Each achieves that effect admirably on his own. The first person who correctly identifies the quotations wins a bottle of middling champagne and DVD copy of Oh! Calcutta!—which I hated even more than The Open Door. E-mail your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A. "When I took my daughter, then 3 or 4 years old, to a dance class,I was appalled by the state of the bodies of the children."
B. "It is very important to appraise this coldly, clearly, pitilessly, especially if one wishes to avoid being influenced by the snobbery of so-called cultural criteria."
C. "If I know the answer I'll tell you the answer, and if I don't, I'll just respond cleverly."
D. "In fact, at the time [this strategy] was so surprising that editorials were even written to salute their integrity. That trick could only work once."
E. "With the press, there is no 'off the record.'"
F. "Hell, I'm an old man, it's early in the morning, and I'm gathering my thoughts here."
G. "The act of reducing space and compressing time creates a concentrate."
H. "What's 'national' depends on where you live, and what's 'theater' depends on where you live."
I. "If the hand that wields the hammer is imprecise in its movement, it will hit the thumb and not the nail."
J. "Be precise. A lack of precision is dangerous when the margin of error is small."
K. "In Africa or in the East, where children's bodies are not warped by city life, and where a living tradition compels them day after day to sit upright, bow, kneel, walk discreetly, stand motionless but alert, they already possess what for us must be acquired through a series of exercises."
L. "Freedom is untidy."
M. "The way to do well is to do well."
N. "This is the secret. As you see, there are no secrets."
O. "So while one must intervene, one must also remain harshly critical at one's attempts at intervention."
P. "Everything was exciting the moment we thought of it, and unconvincing when looked at coolly the next day, when it was invariably scrapped."
Q. "Obviously, the basis that links everyone together must be interesting. But what in fact does interesting really mean?"