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Let us recall for one moment what Waugh himself said about this work and his purported aim of it. Waugh described his main theme as being "to expose the pretensions of foreign correspondents... to be heroes, statesmen and diplomats." One of his primary ways of doing this, which makes this novel so hilarious, is that he constantly shows again and again the gap betwen the ideal of journalists being motivated by a pure search for unbiased truth and the reality of journalists just trying to produce a story that their bosses will print, whether or not it contains any truth. You might like to think about the way in which the journalists are completely unscrupulous towards one another: they lie to each other, steal each other's cables and do anything they can to try and get ahead of the opposition. A hilarious example of this is when they all say they will be leaving for Laku at "tennish" the next morning, whereas in reality they all leave at dawn.
Sir Jocelyn Hitchcock is of course presented as the master of such skullduggery and low tactics. He deliberately disappears in order to fuel various rumours, and, indeed, creates the location of Laku, which does not even exist, to send off his competitors on a wild goose chase while he is left free to pursue the next piece of big news without competition. Such specific examples point to the way in which Waugh achieves his purpose with panache.
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