The Cliche Expert Testifies on Disarmament

Cabbages and Kings

(Scene: a court of opinion Characters: a persecuting attorney, the Witness, Gutintent, and his silent counsel, Mr. Frank Sullivan)

Q: Mr. Gutintent, you are an authority on the cliches of disarmament?

A: That's right. I am a stalwart of the peace movement. I am trying to find new alternatives.

Q: Alternatives to what?

A: To the spiral of hostility, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the hazards of the arms race.


Q: Will you swear on this sacred issue of Daedalus that your testimony will be the whole truth?

A: Yes. I also swear on the New Leader, Commentary, Dissent, Encounter, the Partisan Review, the Progressive, and lately, the Saturday Evening Post.

Q: To show your conversance with the topic, could you tell us what is currently happening at Geneva?

A: The talks are bogging down.

Q: Why? What about the new plan?

A: It was rejected summarily.

Q: Because the Russians won't accept inspection?

A: Inspection-and-controls, try to run it together like one word, y'see? Oh no. The Russians will accept inspection-and-controls but only in principle.

Q: I see. So what is our negotiator doing?

A: The head of our negotiations team is flying home for further instructions.