"Believe the accusers" began long ago!

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2017

"Fascinating conversation," CNN's Lemon says:
In English-speaking North America, the sacred nostrum, "Believe the accusers," got its start long ago.

It got its start in Salem Village. In those days, the watchword wasn't, "Believe the women." It was, "Believe the girls."

For whatever reason, the girls went on a bit of rampage; the village chose to believe them. Midway through the moral panic, the Reverend Hale flipped on the wisdom of this belief after his wife, the former Sarah Noyes, daughter of the Reverend Noyes, was herself accused by the girls.

Whatever! By the time the village finally decided to stop believing the girls, twenty-five people were dead. The leading authority on the event totes the carnage like this:

"The trials resulted in the executions of twenty people, fourteen of them women, and all but one by hanging. Five others (including two infant children) died in prison."

Which of the twenty didn't get hanged? That was 81-year-old Giles Corey, who received "an archaic form of punishment...in which stones were piled on his chest until he could no longer breathe."

(Medicare didn't exist. Neither did Corey, by the time he got through being accused.)

"You say you want a revolution?" That's what the Beatles said in 1968, when Chairman Mao, and some over here, were trying "to change the world." With regard to revolutions of saints, this following point should be made:

There's no circumstance in which it makes sense to believe some whole class of accusers, full stop.

There's no circumstance in which that makes sense. Let's try to remember how that unwise practice will sometimes turn out:

In the 1980s, "believe the accusers" became "believe the children" in the various preschool alleged child abuse cases. Quite a few people went to prison as the children, who were like four years old, told investigators, among other things, that their teachers had sometimes been spotted flying on brooms as they arrived at school.

How dumb did people have to be to "believe the children," full stop, in those lunatic preschool cases? They had to be extremely dumb, but we humans were up to the challenge.

That said, dumb and dumber can lead to dead and deader when saints stage revolutions. In the current moment, cable news is involved in this timeless stew.

Below, we'll show you a bit of "cable news" from this past Thursday night. As you may already know, absolutely nothing gets dumber than the brain-dead Salem Village of our contemporary, painfully corporate, ratings-based cable news.

In Thursday's chunk of cable news, an "excitable boy" kept saying, again and again, that Bill Clinton is a rapist. This Tuesday, Michelle Goldberg said much the same thing, saying in part that "We should err on the side of believing women."

Is that a helpful bromide? For ourselves, we'd be inclined to suggest erring on the side of not erring! Erring on the side of avoiding judgments we aren't in position to make.

(For Joe Conason's assessment of the claim in question, you can just click here. You'll note that Conason seems to err on the side of saying he can't really know what happened, the same judgment he attributes to the highly impartial Kenneth Starr.)

As we liberals proceed with our latest "revolution of the saints," the question of Bill Clinton's accusers has been raised anew. In point of fact, some of his accusers were extremely shaky, and didn't compel belief.

This was true even though all the accusers were women. Right through the disastrous fall of last year, the mainstream press corps, especially the New York Times, refused to discuss this rather obvious fact. In this manner, they chose to "believe the accusers" in an unstated way.

Believe the accusers, full stop? It's what the professors said at Duke. After that, Rolling Stone took the same unwise approach at UVa.

Last Friday, Jamelle Bouie also took that approach, within a day of the Washington Post's first report about Roy Moore. As in a certain village of olde, he began assailing the "if true" crowd, who were choosing to wait a few moments before they formed their judgment.

This instinct never seems to die, though some of the accused do. Repeat after us, then memorize:

There is no circumstance in which it makes sense to believe some whole class of accusers!

There is no such circumstance! There will always be an accuser or three who 1) is simply making something up, or 2) is seeking some sort of reward, or 3) is perhaps in need of "professional help." including the help a person can get, at least in theory, from a professional journalist.

"Fascinating conversation," Don Lemon says in the excerpt presented below.

Fascinating conversation! Good lord, dear readers. Good lord!

This is your cable news press corps on drugs: Do you believe Roy Moore's accusers? Do you believe Bill Clinton's?

Do you believe Al Franken's accuser? She was less than a million percent convincing to us, though she hasn't sought Franken's head in her "Receipt-of-apology tour," and though we think Franken's been asking for this with his Ahab-like pursuit of the big liar Jeff Sessions.

(To our eye, Franken, along with several others, has mainly been trying to hang a witch. To our eye, he hasn't mainly been trying to develop information.)

So you'll know, John Phillips is a colleague of Leeann Tweeden's at KABC in Los Angeles. As you'll see, he had a bit of a one-track mind on "cable news" last Thursday night. Lauren Duca, four years out of Fordham, is a columnist at Teen Vogue.

Below, you see some "cable news" from last Thursday night. We haven't found videotape, so we can't fact-check the transcription.

That said, we watched this "discussion" in real time. This transcription very much captures the pitiful gist of the gruesome exchange:
PHILLIPS (11/16/17): What Bill Clinton did wasn't OK. I mean, Bill Clinton is a rapist.

LEMON: And John, would you include the president in there, as well?

PHILLIPS: I think that he certainly uses language like he is on a loading dock. Absolutely. Nonstop all the time.

OBEIDALLAH: He bragged about sexual assault.

(CROSSTALK)

DUCA: Specific accusations, he doesn't just talk like he is on a loading dock.

PHILLIPS: We had a rapist in the White House for two terms and had a woman who ran interference for a rapist.

(CROSSTALK)

DUCA: More than a dozen specific details at how, John—

OBEIDALLAH: Let's talk about who is in the White House today. Donald Trump is not giving us the moral leadership we need. The country is moving forward.

The time of Mad Men was a different period of time. We have moved forward from that. Now we are about to move forward again. We are at another cultural norm movement. We don't have a president to show leadership on this issue.

PHILLIPS: Do you think Bill Clinton is a rapist?

(CROSSTALK)

DUCA: That doesn't matter.

OBEIDALLAH: That's the truth right now.

PHILLIPS: Do you think he is a rapist?

OBEIDALLAH: Let people who can have moral leadership have a discussion on this issue.

PHILLIPS: Do you think he is a rapist, though?

LEMON: Hold on, hold on. I know this is an uncomfortable conversation, but this is what we are here to do, to talk about the way people are talking. And this has been definitely political.

People have brought up Bill Clinton. And he asked you a specific question. What do you say?

DUCA: Yes. Bill Clinton is absolutely guilty of sexual misconduct. I don't understand that—

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Again, again, that has not been proven in a court of law. But that's what people believe. Go on, you can go.

DUCA: He is absolutely been guilty of the same—of having the same level of accusations of sexual misconduct that we are seeing with these figures. But Bill Clinton "what aboutism" is not relevant rhetoric to what is going on with the president.

LEMON: So, John, what is—

DUCA: So, John, are you going to admit that Donald Trump is a sexual harasser?

PHILLIPS: Yes. I mean the, based on that Access Hollywood tape, that was totally out of line. That is language that shouldn't be used under any circumstances.

I'm not going to defend him just because he is a Republican. We as a society, those of us in politics, those of us in media, we have to put our foot down with this sort of thing.

(CROSSTALK)

SETMAYER: You voted for him!

PHILLIPS: Well, did you vote for Hillary Clinton?

SETMAYER: No, I did not. I didn't vote for Hillary Clinton or Trump. I actually maintained my integrity.

PHILLIPS: We had the option for voting for a woman who ran interference for a rapist or a guy who uses really nasty language.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Hang on! Hold on! Let me get that language specific for CNN. An accused rapist, and the current president an accused sexual harasser.

SETMAYER: Bragged about being a sexual harasser. I mean I just want us to be—I just want the conversation to be intellectually honest, because that is the problem I have with this. This is clearly a bipartisan issue, right?

LEMON: Yes.

SETMAYER: I mean it happened on both sides. And my issue with this conversation is that there are people who are making moral judgments against Roy Moore, right?

They are saying, "Oh well, Roy Moore"—we are not supposed to believe his accusers and we are not supposed to believe Donald Trump's accusers, but we are supposed to believe Bill Clinton's accusers. It can't be both ways. It shouldn't be partisan.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Thank you all. Fascinating conversation...
As some in the elect can see, the lunacy was general. But Joyce's thoughts on the dead aside, welcome to Salem Village!

Lemon thought that he'd just hosted a "fascinating conversation!" According to Lemon, he and his panelists had been there "to talk about the way people are talking." Setmayer, who's typically very sharp, just wanted the conversation to be intellectually honest!

Question:

Does Phillips actually know whether Clinton "is a rapist?" We're going to say he doesn't. Nor did he mention other presidents accused of rape, including such recent figures as Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Trump.

(He did acknowledge, several times, that Trump has used bad language. This is the type of mental giant presented first by KABC, then by CNN!)

A great deal remains to be said on this topic, and on such related topics as 1) how you ever know what's true and 2) when you should maybe accept the fact that you can't really know what's true in some particular instance.

(There are no ultimate answers. Moses wasn't given a tablet resolving such thorny points.)

Judged by any traditional norm, that conversation was madness. But crap like that is the wholly familiar, straight outta crazy, modern-day "cable news" norm.

"Fascinating conservation," Lemon enthused. And readers, let's understand:

As this lunacy continues, a certain under-discussed tax bill may be slip-sliding through Congress!

The Crazy has never been so robust!

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2017

These are the days of The Crazy:
"These are the days of miracle and wonder."

Long ago and far away, we believe Paul Simon said that.

By contrast, these are the days of The Crazy. Has our discourse ever been as crazy as it is right now?

Last Friday morning, the Washington Post presented this report. In the report, a woman claimed that Roy Moore had molested her when she was 14 years old.

That was a very serious charge. Across the journalistic landscape, it touched off The Crazy.

The Crazy has been voluminous ever since. We couldn't come close to getting to all The Crazy this week.

A continental nation can't long endure if everyone's going to be this crazy. We'll leave you with this point:

On the whole, our upper-end press corps has been venal, self-serving and largely crazy for a very long time now.

On balance, Crazy is what they do best. Crazy, plus working from script. No nuance allowed!

These are the days of Putin's great triumphs! Not to mention all the scuffling in search of the children's next jobs.

Next week: Believe the accusers!

PERISHING FROM THE EARTH: Revolution of the saints!

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2017

Part 5—You may be a Puritan if...:
We hate to start with the Maddow Show again, but you pretty much have to go where the statements are most instructive.

On Wednesday night, the host of that cable news show interviewed Beth Reinhard. She's one of the trio of Washington Post reporters who broke the Roy Moore story last week, whatever that story is taken to be.

Last Friday morning, Reinhard and two colleagues reported that Moore had been accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl, an attack which was said to have occurred in 1979.

They also reported that Moore had dated two young women at that same time. They were 17 and 19 years old. According to the Post, both mothers were cheering ol' Roy on, dreaming of possible marriage.

(That may represent a cultural difference. Are we enlightened impressive progressives prepared to tolerate that?)

From that day to this, the saints have been trying to define what Moore is accused of. In this morning's New York Times, Jennifer Steinhauer muddles the matter in a way many others have done:

"Roy S. Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, has been accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls."

So says Steinhauer, in today's Times, perhaps at the direction of editors. But is that what Moore has been accused of? Does he stand "accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls?"

Hopelessly muddled scribe, please! In our lexicon, Moore has been charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault, one of which involved overt acts of physical violence. The saints seem to think it's equally bad that he once dated a 19-year-old, kissing her two separate times with her mother cheering him on.

Moore kissed someone 19 years old when he was 32! We wouldn't recommend that as a general matter, but do Steinhauer and her editors think that was "sexual misconduct?" At any rate, the saints can't quite seem to distinguish a violent sexual assault from a pair of consensual kisses. This led to that peculiar exchange on Wednesday's Maddow Show.

Beth Reinhard is one of the scribes who brought us that report at the Post. Last Wednesday was the first time we got to hear her in person.

As Maddow ended her telephone interview with Reinhard, she asked a rather odd question, with a bit of high drama thrown in. For our money, Reinhard, in her statement, may have marked herself as one of the saints. For ourselves, we're inclined to trust her judgment less because of what she said.

In a new report in the Post, Reinhard had reported that Moore had dated two other teenage women or girls. He'd kissed one in an undesired manner. As she ended her interview, Maddow asked a peculiar question:
MADDOW (11/15/17): Have you discovered any evidence that Roy Moore ever dated someone age-appropriate? That he ever dated somebody his own age? I mean, the discrepancy between the age of these teenage girls and the fact that he was 30 and older does seem remarkable. It's the source of all this controversy. He's defended it himself by saying he denies dating girls who were below the legal age of consent.

That—if that denial is accurate, that may leave open the possibility he was still a 30-something man pursuing girls in tenth grade. Did you find any evidence of him dating women his own age?

REINHARD: Uh—we haven't.

[SLIGHTLY UNUSUAL PAUSE]

MADDOW: Beth Reinhard, part of this remarkable team has broken this story over. Thank you for joining us on very short notice tonight, Beth. Appreciate it.
Several parts of Maddow's question struck us as odd. For starters, she said "the source of all this controversy" lies in the fact that Moore, who was over 30, was dating "teenage girls."

Really? That's the source of the controversy? We would have thought the controversy stemmed from the fact that Moore has been accused of criminally assaulting two young women, one 14 and the other 16, in one case in an overtly violent manner.

We would have thought the "controversy" had possibly stemmed from that! But when the saints begin to rampage, they'll often be unable to imagine such distinctions.

All offenses, real and imagined, will now seem equal in their eyes. That will include a pair of kisses with a 19-year-old "girl" whose mother is praying that Moore might want to marry her daughter, perhaps in line with regional cultural norms of the type we brilliant progressives deride, except in the widely-praised 1979 film Manhattan.

When the saints begin to rampage, all judgment leaves the room. But as a second part of that question, Maddow, who has long been a saint, seemed to say that a date can only be "age appropriate" if the man in question is dating a woman who is "his own age."

Can that possibly be what she meant? Plainly, that's what her words implied. Could she possibly mean that?

At any rate, how about it? Did the Washington Post find any evidence that Moore had ever "dated women his own age?" We thought it was strange when Reinhard said no, though she can't be blamed for the oddness of the question.

What made that question seem strange? In December 1984, Moore, who was then 37, met Kayla Kisor, a 23-year-old mother who was separated from her husband. You can read all about it in the Washington Post.

Moore and Kisor began to date. One year later, they got married. They're still married today.

At the time they started dating, he was 37, she was 23. Were their dates "age appropriate," puritanically speaking?

Maddow seemed to say they weren't. Reinhard offered no resistance, no clarification, no nuance.

Were those dates "age appropriate?" If not, do we understand how many dates, and how many marriages, will have to be denounced? Do we understand how many happily married people will have to be frog-marched off to the camps? How much re-education will have to be performed?

Were those dates age appropriate? Did Maddow, a long-time saint, really mean to say that they weren't?

We don't know, but just for the record, when Rachel Maddow met Susan Mikula, she was 26 years old; Mikula was 41. Should we organize an intervention to rescue Rachel from Susan's home? These are the kinds of questions which may arise when saints stage a moral revolution, setting their minds at ease.

When Roy Moore began dating his wife, were those dates "age appropriate?" We regard that question as strange, but the saints will say those dates were wrong.

We know that's what the saints will say because of William Saletan.

We met Saletan briefly once, long ago. By any normal standard, he is thoroughly sane. But when the saints go rampaging in, very strange judgments may start to appear. This past Tuesday, in a laborious effort to show that Moore was lying about various matters, Saletan offered this bizarre assessment at Slate:
SALETAN (11/14/17): “I’ve been married to my wife, Kayla, for nearly 33 years.” Moore presents this as proof of his character. But do the math. Thirty-three years ago, when they met, Moore was 38, and his wife-to-be was 24. That’s a difference of 14 years, roughly the same age gap his accusers describe. Kayla Moore’s bio also mentions that she had “previously been named Miss Alabama US Teen 2nd Runner up.” Moore didn’t just date pretty women who were 14 years his junior. He married one.
How weird in that final remark? After doing the math, Saletan seems to suggest that a man shouldn't marry someone 14 years younger—and certainly not if the woman in question is pretty! So what should he say about Maddow's life with the person she loves? Maddow was fifteen years younger than the person she met!

Why have we described Maddow and Saletan, and possibly Reinhard, as saints? Let's consider a famous book which may speak to these very strange times.

In 1965, at the age of 30, Michael Walzer published The Revolution of the Saints: A Study in the Origins of Radical Politics.

Walzer went on to a long career, which continues today, as a "public intellectual" of the left. The Revolution of the Saints became a well-known book. According to the Harvard University Press, it's "a study, both historical and sociological, of the radical political response of the Puritans to disorder."

For the record, we're mainly talking about Puritans in England, not here in North America. (Where their response to disorder produced, among other things, those famous Salem witch trials, when we Americans famously decided, for the first time, that we should always "believe the girls.")

Walzer was talking about the Puritans in the 16th and 17th centuries, as the feudal system was breaking down, producing confusion, uncertainty and disorder—and attendant anxiety. At the Moral Imagination site, Ron Sanders pens a capsule of that era, which perhaps and possibly seems to reflect our own times:
SANDERS: [Walzer] argues that Calvinism’s appeal (the dominant theological perspective of the Puritans) was that it confirmed and explained, in theological terms, “perceptions men already had of the dangers of the world and the self " and that it presented a remedy to the anxiety created by the shifting tide of culture through the rigid discipline of “sainthood.” The important theological themes that characterized Calvin’s ideology were, (1) “the permanent, inescapable estrangement of man from God,” (2) “a cure for anxiety not in reconciliation but in obedience,” (3) a “holy commonwealth” and (4) the necessity of “wholehearted participation” on the part of his followers.

The state (holy commonwealth), for Calvin, had dual roles. Its negative role was to repress sin in individuals. Walzer states that, “Calvin accepted politics in any form it took, so long as it fulfilled its general purpose and established an order of repression.”
Does Sanders get Walzer right? We can't tell you that. But at various times in history, anxieties and upheavals have led to puritanical revolutions which feature extremely crazy judgments producing large amounts of dumbness, disorder and death.

At times of upheaval and disorder, people may escape anxiety "through the rigid discipline of sainthood." In China, they frog-marched the intelligentsia off to the camps during the Cultural Revolution. In this country, they hung the witches until sanity prevailed; later, they found a Commie under every bed, then locked up the McMartin Preschool teachers.

Today, they can't tell the difference between kissing a 19-year-old woman (two times!) and conducting a violent sexual assault. It's all just unthinkably evil, wrong, inappropriate, bad!

The last eight days have produced the craziest revolutionary conduct we've seen in a great long time. For example, even after Duke and UVa, the saints insist we have to believe accusers instantly, every single time.

Can humans actually get this stupid? Answer: Yes, we can!

By Friday morning of last week, the saints were already attacking the "if true" crowd—the people who said we ought to maybe wait a few hours before we make our final judgment about that Post report.

In theory, Duke and UVa had shown the world that some accusers who come along are just completely crazy! But even after Duke and UVa, even after the moral stampede in the preschool cases, our rampaging modern-day saints were trashing the "if then" crowd, who wouldn't deliver instant judgments.

How crazy do the saints become when they start to rampage? Historically, the saints are often fairly young, and they can get very crazy.

If we might borrow from Brother Foxworthy, you might be a Puritan if you can't tell the difference between a violent sexual assault and two kisses, over three months, delivered to a 19-year-old woman (not a girl) whose mother hopes you're on your way to marriage.

Also this:

You may be a Puritan if your own age difference is 15 years, and you're willing to hang the witch because his age difference is a much-too-large 14 years! Plus, have you heard the Bentley sex tape, where someone actually dared to say he loved his lover's body?

"The fear that somewhere, someone is happy?" How crazy do you have to be to keep on playing that tape?

Lincoln has come to us this week to warn us about what's happening. A continental nation can't long endure, he has masterfully said, if fifteen years up north is fine, but fourteen in Bama is not.

If living with a 17-year-old is high art when it's cinematically performed in Manhattan, but kissing a 19-year-old is a crime when it's done Down There.

That said, the saints are on the march. Last night, we saw an utterly crazy discussion on Don Lemon's CNN show. This morning, the initial Morning Joe segment was fraudulent all the way down.

That said, our press elites have been stunningly fraudulent lost souls for a long time now. They know how to pursue their careers by repeating their scripts. They seem to know little else.

The end of the feudal system was, of course, a great advance for humanity. But massive change creates anxiety. In a search for blessed relief, the saints came rampaging in.

We also live at a time of great change today. For example, the rapid acceptance of love like Rachel's with Susan represents a phenomenal social advance. Opportunities and norms have rapidly changed in many other realms.

These are the days or miracle and wonder, just like Paul Simon said. But rapid change can also produce conflict, confusion, disorder.

Down through the many death-dealing years, we humans have sometimes fled the anxiety of rapid change through the adoption of sainthood regimes. It's been happening in the past week all over cable TV, among the ranks of bogus souls who have fought their way onto such programs.

The various children of all ages are living in times of remarkable change. Again and again and again and again, they seem to be amazingly stupid, unpleasant, tribal, self-serving and scared.

Next week: Believe the accusers! (of Clinton)

Once again, a basic question!

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2017

Erin Burnett works a blur:
We often ask the analysts a basic question. It goes exactly like this:

Are the stars of cable news capable of making accurate statements?

We popped the question again last night as we watched Erin Burnett.

Burnett was speaking to a Bama official. Fearlessly, she was pushing him hard. This created a bit of an irony:
BURNETT (11/15/17): Do you think the truth matters here?

MERRILL: Oh, the truth matters greatly. I think the truth matters in all cases. Whenever an allegation has been made, it should be proven true or proven false and that helps people decide who they need to support and why.

BURNETT: So when it comes to—

I mean, we're talking about Beverly Nelson here. When it comes to the other four accusers, all four of whom were detailed in the Washington Post's expansive report, they spoke to more than 30 people who verified their accounts. More than 30 people!
According to Burnett, those "more than thirty people who said they knew Roy Moore" verified the accounts of the original four "accusers."

Full stop.

The Washington Post made no such statement in its report. It's amazingly easy simply to read what the Post actually said. Almost surely, Burnett's fuzzy paraphrase is at least misleading, in a stampede-friendly way.

We've seen bigger misstatements too, but Burnett is paid millions of dollars per year. What can possibly make it so hard to avoid inaccurate or misleading statements, especially when you're snarking at one of The Others about the glorious need for the truth?

What is truth? Pilate thoughtfully asked. After they get out of makeup and hair, so should our big cable stars!

BREAKING: Your Daily Howler keeps getting results!

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2017

The fruit of 19 years:
If at first you don't succeed, persist for 19 years!

That's what Mother always said. This morning, we learned why.

In this morning's New York Times, Peter Baker reports on the way the children are pretending or attempting to rethink the past. We plan to discuss their efforts next week.

Meanwhile, Baker wrote what's shown below. And it only took 19 years:
BAKER (11/16/17): Mr. Clinton’s behavior, proved or otherwise, has long been an uncomfortable subject for Democrats. Many chose to defend him for his White House trysts with Ms. Lewinsky because, despite the power differential between a president and a former intern, she was a willing partner. To this day, Ms. Lewinsky rejects the idea that she was a victim because of the affair; “any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath” when the political system took over, as she wrote in 2014.
After all these years, it has finally happened. Lewinsky was a former intern during those thrilling years!

For full fairness to Baker, see below. Meanwhile, we should make an important point:

Did some humans "defend" Bill Clinton for those "trysts?" Or did they perhaps distinguish those "trysts" from, let's say, violent acts of sexual assault?

In the world where the children play, such distinctions are hard to come by. Such distinctions are even more important when evaluating the (improbable) claims made by Gennifer Flowers, a favorite of pundits and press.

Much more on this topic next week. The children are at it again!

Full fairness: Baker has described the Lewinsky of those years as a "former intern" on two prior occasions, once in 2014, once in 2012. Neil Lewis even did so once, way back in 2004.

In a scan of the Washington Post, we found one such unambiguous reference. It appeared in 2008—in a letter to the editor!

A journalist could always go ahead and call her a "federal employee," of course. But dearest readers, use your heads! That would reduce the fun!

(Technically, Lewinsky was still an intern during tryst the first, but she'd already accepted a federal job. She had like a week to go before that employment started. During the vast bulk of this famous affair, into which the whole world stuck its long nose, she was a 22- to 24-year-old federal employee. She was an intern for roughly a week; she was never 21.)

PERISHING FROM THE EARTH: Huge star makes craziest statement yet!

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2017

Part 4—Future anthropologists speak:
The richness of the current stampede has transformed this award-winning site.

At its start, it was devoted to critiques of the upper-end press. This new stampede has been so rich that we've been forced to make an admission:

We're now involved in pure anthropology—anthropology of the future. An anthropology which seeks to define who "we, the people" really are.

Are we really "the rational animal," as we've long insisted? The richness of the current stampede turns that claim into a joke for the gods.

Then too, there is the evidence of our recent night visits.

These visits have come to us from 500 years in the future, courtesy of a previously undiscovered wormhole in our landline "telly-phone." (We're channeling Elvis' 1956 impression of Jackie Wilson's Las Vegas impression of him, an impression Wilson performed as lead singer for Billy Ward and the Dominoes. We strongly recommend it. "Man, he sung that song!...He got a big hand on it too, boy.")

The visits have involved a group of "future anthropologists." Their story, in a nutshell:

After "Mr. Trump's Ten-Minute War of Distraction" (2018, in response to the Mueller indictments), human life, as previously known, perished from the earth. On the brighter side, the radiation blasts strangely invested a few survivors with certain time travel mental techniques, which were retained and refined in the centuries which followed.

With human life perished from the earth, survivors used these channeling skills to explore the reasons for Mr. Trump's War. As we moderns look back with embarrassment at Isaac Newton's belief in witchcraft and his attempts to turn lead into gold, they looked back at their "human" ancestors, wondering how the "perishment war" could have come to pass.

In their searches, they stumbled upon this site and its author, who they describe, in the future, as "the Herodotus of the anthropologists." It's a reference to the famous Greek whose historiography was all wrong, but who at least had started to have a bit of the right idea.

"What made you suspect that your fellow humans weren't actually human?" these travelers have respectfully asked in their nightly visits.

We've mentioned the magazine racks at the big book stores with their highly improbable number of magazine titles. Who could possibly be buying those putative magazines, we've long thoughtfully asked. Surely, we've long thought, those improbable specialist publications must be some joke of the gods.

That was one of our earliest clues, dating at least to the 1990s. This week, we've also mentioned what a certain cable news star said on Monday night.

That afternoon, Beverly Young Nelson had described a violent sexual attack on her person—a 1979 attack she attributed to Roy Moore. She was describing a criminal act, as Leigh Corfman had done before her.

Nelson's statement began to establish a pattern of sexual assault by Moore. But how odd! That night, an apparently human cable news star made history's strangest known comment.

The cable star began by citing last Friday's original Washington Post report. In that report, Corfman had described a statutory sexual assault.

Two other women said that Moore had dated them when they were 17 and 19 years old. A fourth woman said Moore had asked her for a date when she was 16.

That made four women in all. On Monday, Nelson became the second woman to describe a criminal sexual assault.

This brought the total number of women to five. It led the star to make human history's weirdest known statement, at least so far:
MADDOW (11/13/17): Remember that all five women who have made these allegations against Roy Moore have described remarkably similar types of behavior. They've all given their names. None of these women apparently knew each other in any other context. They say they have not coordinated their efforts.

The initial Washington Post story not only named all four women accusers, they also corroborated these women's allegations with 30 other interviews.
You'll note that the star was stretching the facts—indeed, was misstating the Post's actual claim—about those "30 other interviews."

By now, though, plays like that were culturally required. When we spoke to our night visitors, we only cited this thoroughly ludicrous, plainly non-human assessment:

"All five women who have made these allegations against Roy Moore have described remarkably similar types of behavior."

Say what? All five women have described remarkably similar types of behavior? Sheepishly, we told our visitors that statements like these triggered the insight they were hailing, from the future, as one of history's greatest.

All five women have described remarkably similar types of behavior? Could an actual human being, as described by sacred Aristotle, possibly make such a statement?

Consider two of the women's accounts:

Nelson said she was taken behind a dark building in a car which was then parked where it couldn't be seen. Subterfuge was involved in this action. She'd been told by Moore that he would simply be driving her home, on a cold night, from the restaurant where she worked.

Instead, Moore drove his car behind the restaurant and parked it where it couldn't be seen. According to Nelson, she was then physically groped by Moore, with Moore also attempting make her perform oral sex. In the course of this criminal assault, she was subjected to physical violence of the type a person might experience in a simple street mugging. This left significant bruising.

That's what Nelson said. She was describing a criminal sexual assault with attendant criminal physical violence.

That's what Nelson said, in an act we regard as a public service, assuming her statement is accurate. Below, you see what one of the other women said. We'll edit out extraneous material perhaps inserted by the Post to help its readers stampede:
MCCRUMMEN, REINHARD AND CRITES (11/10/17): “My mom was really, really strict and my curfew was 10:30 but she would let me stay out later with Roy,” says Deason, who is now 57 and lives in North Carolina. “She just felt like I would be safe with him. . . . She thought he was good husband material.”

Deason says that they dated off and on for several months and that he took her to his house at least two times. She says their physical relationship did not go further than kissing and hugging.

“He liked Eddie Rabbitt and I liked Freddie Mercury,” Deason says, referring to the country singer and the British rocker.
What's what Deason said. Is that story "remarkably similar" to the story Nelson told? Asking our question a different way, could an actual human, as described by sacred Aristotle, possibly think that those two stories are "remarkably similar?"

Could an actual human think such a thing? Adding to our puzzlement, here's the "remarkably similar" story told by one of the other women cited in the Post:
MCCRUMMEN, REINHARD AND CRITES: Gibson says that they dated for two to three months, and that he took her to his house, read her poetry and played his guitar. She says he kissed her once in his bedroom and once by the pool at a local country club.
Say what? According to Gibson, she dated ol' Roy for two or three months, during which time he kissed her twice! According to Gibson, when Moore first asked her for a date, her mother said that, if Moore had asked her out, “I’d say you were the luckiest girl in the world.”

Gibson was 17; ol' Roy was 34. We moderns may not approve of such age differences, and, without any question, our modern judgments about such things are superior to those of anyone else at any time in the history of the world.

That last point goes without saying. That said, ol' Roy dated her for two or three months, with everyone's knowledge and approval, and he kissed her twice!

Instead, he read her poems and strummed his guitar. Granted, these sound like horrible dates. But on what planet does that story seem to be "remarkably similar" to the story of violent sexual assault Nelson told this week?

Putting it another way, on what planet could a human think those stories were "remarkably similar?"

Ol' Roy kissed her twice! Trust us—in an earlier, more homophobic Alabama politics, these stories would have been used, in oppo research, to drive a whispering point like this: "Ol' Roy don't much seem to like gur-ls!"

Let's hope we're past such days! That said, in what world could these stories possibly seem "remarkably similar?"

Our night visitors have answered that question all week. They say such stories can seem similar in a world where sacred Aristotle was just tremendously wrong.

For the record, our visitors insist that the cable star actually is fully human. She isn't a cyborg, our visitors say. She wasn't hatched on a distant planet. She wasn't quite built in a lab.

Our visitors tell us that we've been wrong when we've launched such speculations about other puzzling journalists down through the many long years. They've all been "human, all too human," our visitors hotly insist.

It's just that Wittgenstein was right, they obscurely say, and Aristotle, though sacred, was crazily wrong.

Crackpots like this cable star shrink in horror from the age difference in these last two stories. In a burst of crackpot runaway Puritanism, they can see no other element to the stories which have appeared this past week.

As such, these runaway crackpots reveal themselves as human, much less than human. One teenager got kissed twice; one was violently assaulted. Locked inside their runaway world, these life forms can't see the difference.

To their empty, malfunctioning hearts, those stories seem the same!

In last night's visit, the future anthropologists ruefully assailed the cultural xenophobia of folk like cable star. "It led us straight toward Mr. Trump's War," the rag-covered cave dwellers said.

Still and all, on the brighter side, they retain a sense of humor.

Was it crazy when ol' Roy Moore, age 32, dated late teens in '79? They reminded us of the film Manhattan, which appeared that very same year, in which the Woody Allen character—said to be 42 in the script—was living with his high school girl friend, who was 17.

Her parents were never mentioned. It was the 70s, people!

Up in Gotham, elite Yankee journalists loved the adorable film. But when ol' Roy went crazy and kissed a teenager two separate times that same year, he was just so horrifically wrong that his two kisses were indistinguishable from a violent act of assault.

"Face it," our saddened night visitors said. That cable star is visibly crazy, pretty much out of her mind. She did so many things, they said, to bring on Mr. Trump's War.

The heat was off all over our campus last night. Where they live, it's colder.

Tomorrow: Crackpot runaway Puritanism, with so many additional points to cover! Also, back to Mr. Lincoln's concern about "perish[ing] from the earth!"

Culturally speaking: Culturally speaking, Priscilla Beaulieu was 14 when she began dating Elvis. Elvis was already 24—indeed, well past 24 and a half.

When Beaulieu turned 17, her parents, stationed in Germany, let her fly to the States for a two-week visit with Elvis. They married after an eight-year courtship, still different in age by ten years.

Culturally speaking, was any of this a good idea? On balance, possibly not, but neither are the kinds of stampedes conducted by our legion of non-humans, whose craziness we can't see.

"Remarkably similar!" As Nelson fights for her life in that car, we'd call that inhumanly wrong.