Chekhov’s Gun (new glossary entry)

maxresdefaultEarlier this year I highlighted a report that Judicial Watch had gotten direct access to Hillary Clinton’s emails as well as permission to depose witnesses, perhaps even Hillary herself. In my law school training, I had never seen anything like this, nor have I ever read any other story like this. I have yet to find someone who can explain to me the legal principle that allows Judicial Watch to conduct an investigation of alleged government or private misconduct. But my point is not that this is bizarre, my point is that I flagged it as bizarre and waited for the other shoe to drop (which it now has). Similarly, in July, I noticed a small story about a DNC staffer named Seth Rich who was murdered in the wee hours of the morning for no apparent reason. I posted it on facebook just wondering if anything might come of it and lo, much has.

These are the kinds of incidents that I have noticed throughout this election cycle and they add to my suspicions that this whole thing has been a loosely scripted reality show in what is turning out to be a more highly controlled society than even I had thought.

By coincidence, my nephew had just told me about the dramatic principle called Chekhov’s Gun and I can’t rule out the possibility that these tidbits qualify as “guns.” Here’s the wikipedia entry on this plot device:

Chekhov’s gun is a dramatic principle that every memorable element in a fictional story must be necessary and irreplaceable, and any that are not should be removed.[1][2][3]

Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.

Variations on the statement include:

  • “One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn’t going to go off. It’s wrong to make promises you don’t mean to keep.” Chekhov, letter to Aleksandr Semenovich Lazarev (pseudonym of A. S. Gruzinsky), 1 November 1889.[5][6][7] Here the “gun” is a monologue that Chekhov deemed superfluous and unrelated to the rest of the play.
  • “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.” From Gurlyand’s Reminiscences of A. P. Chekhov, in Teatr i iskusstvo 1904, No. 28, 11 July, p. 521.[8]

Keep your eyes out for more Checkhov’s Guns before election day! I will too & post them on facebook 🙂


  1. Sharont says:

    Love your posts, but please do not use the word ” gotten”! You are too educated for that.
    They ” obtained” …..or any other substitute Business English teacher was a tiger when It came to using correct grammar and words. Her dedication helped me later in The Business World, in spite of only a high school degree!

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