Benazir Bhutto was a friend of mine…

JOHN MOORE/Getty Images News OK, so Benazir Bhutto was not actually a friend of mine. Never even met her. But it sure seems like everyone else in Washington is now making that claim. In fact, so many people have written about their relationships with the late Bhutto—whether they be lifelong friends or just passing acquaintances—that ...

597357_080102_bhutto_05.jpg
597357_080102_bhutto_05.jpg

JOHN MOORE/Getty Images News

OK, so Benazir Bhutto was not actually a friend of mine. Never even met her. But it sure seems like everyone else in Washington is now making that claim. In fact, so many people have written about their relationships with the late Bhutto—whether they be lifelong friends or just passing acquaintances—that Timothy Noah over at Slate has written a sendup eulogy:

I called her Pinky. She called me Pooh Bear. As Aspen Institute seminars droned on, we'd scribble anagrams of the participants' names. "Had ingrain id," I jotted during one particularly tedious lunch while Indira Gandhi extemporized about textile exports. "Rid hairy piranha disdaining," Pinky replied in a flash, incorporating Mrs. Gandhi's middle name, "Priyadarshini." Had the press attaché seen, it could have been war.

JOHN MOORE/Getty Images News

OK, so Benazir Bhutto was not actually a friend of mine. Never even met her. But it sure seems like everyone else in Washington is now making that claim. In fact, so many people have written about their relationships with the late Bhutto—whether they be lifelong friends or just passing acquaintances—that Timothy Noah over at Slate has written a sendup eulogy:

I called her Pinky. She called me Pooh Bear. As Aspen Institute seminars droned on, we’d scribble anagrams of the participants’ names. “Had ingrain id,” I jotted during one particularly tedious lunch while Indira Gandhi extemporized about textile exports. “Rid hairy piranha disdaining,” Pinky replied in a flash, incorporating Mrs. Gandhi’s middle name, “Priyadarshini.” Had the press attaché seen, it could have been war.

At least I’m pretty sure it’s a satire, although it took me a few paragraphs of reading to realize that’s what it was. That’s how much people name-drop in this town. Noah ends his essay like this:

(With apologies to Peter Galbraith, Roger Cohen, Robert Novak, David Ignatius, Arnaud deBorchgrave, Arianna Huffington, Harry Shearer, Molly Moore, and Mark Steyn.)

[Update, Jan. 2: See also Harlan Ullman, Cal Thomas, Noel Irwin Hentschel, and Amy Spies. For a dissenting view, see David Warren.]

Is it a little too soon to be poking such fun? Perhaps it would be, if Noah’s rapier wit was aimed at Bhutto and her family. But no, he justifiably takes on the collective, chattering, Harvard- and Oxford-educated elite for rushing to associate with someone who might be perceived a martyr. Let’s face it. Rising to power in Pakistan may not be meritocratic, but it’s not much better over here, either.

Christine Y. Chen is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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