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Crocodile Tears from George Voinovich...

December 5, 2006 11:35 PM

...about the resignation of John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador.

Remember when the President nominated John Bolton to be U.N. Ambassador in 2005?  George Voinovich cried.  Because he believed John Bolton was "too mean."

Well, now George Voinovich is mad because the U.S. Senate--which is still controlled by Republicans, for now--won't confirm Bolton as U.N. Ambassador.  He thinks John Bolton has actually turned out to be okay.  He's disappointed that the Senate (where his party has now lost control) does not agree with him.  Gee, Senator.  Thanks for nothing!  Where were you when it was time to do what was right?  You were standing in the way.

The only tears you should be shedding, George, are tears of joy.  Because you should be thankful you weren't on the ballot this fall, to meet the same fate as Mike DeWine.  You are such an embarrassment to the people who elected you.

UPDATE:  Lovers of literary history that we are, we ran a search on the phrase "crocodile tears."  If we are using it in a blog post, after all, we should know what it means.  It turns out:

This story seems to have been taken up by medieval French and English writers and that’s where we get it from. For example, in 1565 Sir John Hawkins wrote: “In this river we saw many Crocodils .. His nature is ever when he would have his prey, to cry and sob like a Christian body, to provoke them to come to him, and then he snatcheth at them”.

The first example known in English seems to be in a travel book of about 1400, The Voyage and Travail of Sir John Mandeville (I’ve modernised the spelling somewhat): “In many places of Inde are many crocodiles—that is, a manner of long serpent. These serpents slay men and they eat them weeping”. One version of the story says that the beast weeps over the head after having eaten the body, not from repentance but from frustrated gluttony: the head is simply too bony to be worth consuming.

The story was taken up by Edmund Spenser in The Fairie Queen and then by Shakespeare. Having such authorities on its side made it almost inevitable that the reference would stay in the language...

Fascinating!  The "tears" aren't real, though:

My naturalist friends tell me that crocodiles can’t cry, because they have no tear ducts—they would be useless in an animal that spends so much time in the water. The eyes can produce secretions to moisten the lids if the animal is out of the water for a while, but these are hardly tears. I am told, though, by people well versed in crocodilian biology that the glands that moisten the eyes are so close to the animal’s throat that the effort of swallowing forces moisture from them, so giving the impression of tears

People have apparently spent a lot of time watching crocodiles down their prey, and looking at their eyes!

Comments

Agreed, but at least he admitted he was wrong, which is better than nothing.

Ben Keeler   ·  December 7, 2006 12:28 AM

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