All-Time Great Sentences

Kissinger & Hillary

From Kissinger by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schyster, 2005), p. 131. This sentence appears after the author has presented several rival versions of an incident during the 1968 presidential election campaign:

“Where does the truth in fact lie?”

Beautiful. Where is the truth? Or where does the truth tell a lie?

What Paul de Man could do with this sentence! Professor Joel Cairo, a circuit judge of the Food Court, explains that it is “a perfect example of two antithetical meanings: ‘What is the truth [of the matter]?’ versus where [in what circumstances] does the truth become a lie thanks, perhaps, to the agency of fact, that seemingly hard but notably elastic thing [or word]?’ Caspar Gutmann wondered: ‘Are there invisible hyphens linking the words truth-in-fact? And what then?’”

You know what I think?

No, what do you think.

It ranks right up there with Kissinger’s assessment of the Iraq war in 2003:

“It all depends on how it ends.”

Perfect iambic tetranmeter.

— DL


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