Magazine | August 14, 2017, Issue

Official Transcripts

Buckingham Palace (Wikimedia Commons)

From the December 1, 1170, press gaggle with Henry, King of England, Count of Anjou, Duke of Normandy, Count of Aquitaine, et al.:

PRESS: Your Highness, I was wondering if I could ask you specifically about your current relationship with Thomas Beckett, the Archbishop of Canterbury –

KING OF ENGLAND: Yeah, I know what his title is, okay? Archbishop of whatever, yes. I know. I was the one who gave him that title, okay? I’m very very big on loyalty and I was hoping it was a two-way street. Apparently not, which is one of the things I’ve learned since becoming King of England and all of the other things, all of which are terrific, believe me.

PRESS: What is the state of your current relationship with the Archbishop? Are you about to have him executed? You’ve made statements that suggest that you’re displeased –

KOE: Displeased? I’ll say. Had I known he was going to be such a pain in the you-know-what about this and that, would I have made him the A of C? Not likely.

PRESS: I have a follow-up. Given that Thomas Beckett is the Archbishop of Canterbury, and given that your recent statements have made it clear you’d like him to resign, what plans do you have for the contingency that he doesn’t, in fact, offer his resignation?

KOE: Okay, this is the last question I’m taking on this because, well, there are so many amazing things I’ve done since becoming King of the Thing that it’s crazy, really, people are saying this, not me, it’s crazy that we’re talking about this stuff instead of the really serious stuff I’ve done as regards the whole situation with the common-law issues, which truly, and this is not me saying this, this is lots of people, which truly boggle the mind. Is what I’m saying.

PRESS: So in other words, you’d prefer it if –

KOE: Someone would rid me of this turbulent priest? Yeah, yeah. That’s the nutshell, sure.

From the November 2, 1862, press conference with President Abraham Lincoln:

PRESS: If I could ask one about General George McClellan –

POTUS: Oy. Really?

PRESS: You’ve made statements both in public and in letters regarding your feelings about General McClellan and his use of the Army of the Potomac –

POTUS: Oh, um, is he using it? I was unaware. I was under the impression that the Army was at this juncture utterly inactive.

PRESS: See, there’s comments like that. What I’m asking is –

POTUS: Like what? Like my pointing out, quite calmly if I may add, that the Army of the Potomac seems like a nice group of guys, out there having terrific nature walks, while the Army of Northern Virginia strolls northward to become the Army of Northern Virginia plus Western Maryland and Also Probably Pennsylvania and (Fingers Crossed) Lower New Jersey. Stuff like that? Comments along those lines?

PRESS: Sorta, yeah.

POTUS: Got it. Okay. Please continue with your question.

PRESS: You seem angry, Mr. President.

POTUS: Why should I be angry? Just because a political appointee refuses to follow my orders?

PRESS: If I may, sir, do you have any plans to fire General McClellan?

POTUS: No! No, no, no, no, no, no. Of course not. Zero plans to do that. Zero. Nada.

PRESS: Sir?

POTUS: Obviously I’m going to fire him. Probably today. I mean, hello?

From the June 21, 1941, press availability with Chancellor Adolf Hitler, Der Führer:

DF: Yes, Jurg, you in the back, you have a question?

PRESS: Yeah, sir, I was wondering about recent troop movements along the Polish–Russian border and how these might seem to contradict the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which you have previously suggested was the cornerstone to peace in the region.

DF: So glad you asked that. Jurg, was it? Well, Jurg, see, the thing is, we have a non-aggression pact with Russia which is really predicated on the whole idea that, Hey! Let Germany pay for it, let the German volk just suck it up and take this crap when the truth is, those countries are kinda second-rate, if you ask me. So are we rethinking a lot of really bad treaties done by people who are really bad at negotiating? Yes. That’s a definite ja.

PRESS: So we’re going to war with Russia? A country that you signed a treaty with?

DF: Did I sign it? A lot of people are saying I didn’t, and that I shouldn’t have.

PRESS: Wait, so you did?

DF: Aren’t you tired of losing, Jurg?

PRESS: I don’t see how we’re losing, sir, by living up to our treaties.

DF: This is why people hate the media, Jurg. Next question.

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

The Radical

Long after Henry David Thoreau’s death in 1862, Walt Whitman praised him for his “lawlessness -- his dissent -- his going his own absolute road let hell blaze all it ...

Sections

The Week

The Week

‐ George Romero, 1940 –2017. Rest in peace — please. ‐ The New York Times has revealed that, in June 2016, Donald Trump Jr. got an e-mail from Rob Goldstone, a ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

THE CUSP OF SUMMER Geese in skies are on the wing. The pointed flock, triangle-shaped, Announce with honks the start of spring When tall green trees are softly draped. Trumpeting starts off everything Once more. Black ...
Letters

Letters

A Bleak Future for Wage Growth Robert VerBruggen’s “conundrum” about wage-growth stalling (“A Wage-Growth Conundrum,” July 31) clears up when you realize that the categories of capital, labor, and productivity as ...

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White House

The Trivialization of Impeachment

We have a serious governance problem. Our system is based on separation of powers, because liberty depends on preventing any component of the state from accumulating too much authority -- that’s how tyrants are born. For the system to work, the components have to be able to check each other: The federal and ... Read More
U.S.

‘Texodus’ Bodes Badly for Republicans

‘I am a classically trained engineer," says Representative Will Hurd, a Texas Republican, "and I firmly believe in regression to the mean." Applying a concept from statistics to the randomness of today's politics is problematic. In any case, Hurd, 42, is not waiting for the regression of our politics from the ... Read More
Culture

Feminists Have Turned on Pornography

Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the feminist movement has sought to condemn traditional sexual ethics as repressive, misogynistic, and intolerant. As the 2010s come to a close, it might be fair to say that mainstream culture has reached the logical endpoint of this philosophy. Whereas older Americans ... Read More
Culture

Not Less Religion, Just Different Religion

The Pew Poll tells us that society is secularizing -- particularly among the young -- and who can deny it? That is one reason that the free expression of religion is under such intense pressure in the West. But it seems to me that we aren't really becoming less religious. Rather, many are merely changing that ... Read More
Elections

Put Up or Shut Up on These Accusations, Hillary

Look, one 2016 candidate being prone to wild and baseless accusations is enough. Appearing on Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s podcast, Hillary Clinton suggested that 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein was a “Russian asset,” that Republicans and Russians were promoting the Green Party, and ... Read More