Speaking truth to power. That’s a good thing. Needless to say, it gets rather complicated when it is in the form of an official statement or formal speech. In fact, speaking truth to power is not something you expect to hear at the highest levels of government. However, from time to time, there are those in power who actually do try to make a difference. In “Weapons of Mass Diplomacy,” we have a graphic novel that is a hilarious political satire and gives us the heroic story of the French Foreign Minister attempting to prove the pen to be mightier than the sword.
Alexandre Taillard de Vorms only has words to argue the greatest case of his life. He is going against the tide, to be sure. He is taking on the United States of America! It is 2002, and the drum beat towards war is incessant. He likens his situation to leading a small commando staff that could fit on a raft going after an army of staff at the disposal of the U.S. Secretary of State. He must make do with what his budget allows. A new speechwriter, Arthur Vlaminck, gives de Vorms hope. But, as Vlaminck goes on to show us, this will be a most rocky journey. Words! Will Vlaminck help his new boss find the right words? Vlaminck is the alter-ego of this book’s author, Abel Lanzac, a French diplomat who is in a unique position to provide us with an insider’s point of view. He was, after all, an adviser to the real life French Foreign Minister in our story.
Tina Turner once asked, “What’s love got to do with it?” In our case, we could ask, “What’s logic got to do with it?” As the Bush administration forces its way to invading Iraq, it does not matter how logical the argument is against it. However, one must try. What de Vorms seeks is such a compelling argument that his David can defy Goliath. The American neocons, on the other hand, have their way with no great attempt at eloquence or logic.
A most remarkable thing about this graphic novel is its sense of style and discretion. This is genuinely meant to engage the reader, not beat them over the head with an agenda. To better immerse ourselves in the subject, names and places have been changed. There is an air of fiction in order to get at a greater truth. You won’t find Iraq in this book. Instead, it is the Kingdom of Khemed. You’d be surprised how these little changes make such a difference and help you see events afresh. It helps us dig deeper as we shift back and forth between the contemporary and the timeless. This is a book with great vision and a great sense of humor. It is the artistry of Christophe Blain’s comics that add to that timeless quality. His artwork is made up of impeccable timing and masterfully rendered body language.
So, the cover of fiction is there to help enhance the experience. It is not there really to avoid offending anyone. Really, who would that be? Dick Cheney? With the “War on Terror” still raging, this is a most relevant book indeed. It has already caused a stir in Europe and will cause a good stir in America with its new edition, available as of May 6, 2014. “Weapons of Mass Diplomacy” is a 200 page hardcover published by SelfMadeHero, an imprint of Abrams Books, which you can visit here. You can also find “Weapons of Mass Diplomacy” at Amazon right here.