The end of the human race: Last night, Lawrence made us think of Norman O. Brown again.
Brown, a well-regarded classicist, suddenly got very hot in the 1960s. He got very hot because of his books, Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History (1959) and Love’s Body (1966).
We don’t recall what those books were about, or why Brown suddenly got so hot as a visionary of the revolution. If you’re interested, this remembrance of Brown from 2005 helps explain how it was.
That said, we have always remembered that one brief passage from Love’s Body, the one in which Brown described the way societies die:
BROWN (1966): I sometimes think I see that societies originate in the discovery of some secret, some mystery; and end in exhaustion when there is no longer any secret, when the mystery has been divulged, that is to say profaned...And so there comes a time—I believe we are in such a time—when civilization has to be renewed by the discovery of some new mysteries, by the undemocratic but sovereign power of the imagination, by the undemocratic power which makes poets the unacknowledged legislators of all mankind, the power which makes all things new.We don’t really know what that means; we don’t know why that has stuck in our head for maybe 45 years now. But the highlighted passage always pops into our head when we watch performances like the one Lawrence staged last night.
Lawrence interviewed Anthony Weiner—rather, pretended to do so. Instead of interviewing Weiner, he staged one of his trademark stupid-ass rants.
Granted, Lawrence gets crazier than he was last night. Still.
Lawrence said he doesn’t care about what Weiner did on-line. Instead, he kept haranguing Weiner about—well, his harangue didn’t really make sense. That’s why we thought of Brown again, of his thoughts about the way societies come to an end.
O’Donnell is one of the genuine nut-balls. He is a monster of self-regard and a genuine nut. Despite that, he holds an honored place in the corporate liberal firmament.
He stages crazy sessions like last night’s and nobody in our failing tribe seems able to notice or care.
This man has been crazy—dumb crazy— for years. He’s part of the guild within the guild which did the most to put Bush in office. And yet, we liberals just sit there and take it. We simply don’t have what it takes to see what Lawrence is.
As Norman O. Brown once said, “I sometimes think I see that societies...end in exhaustion.”
To watch Lawrence rant at Weiner, click this. (It will make you think better of Weiner.) For the record, Lawrence was crazily dumb this way back when he was hunting down Candidate Gore and the two Clintons, both of whom he still incoherently abhors.
For all these years, our liberal tribe has been unable to see the problem with this. This makes us think of Norman Brown, who said that societies die.
By the way: That low-polling candidate whose name Lawrence bungled is actually Randy Credico (CREDD-i-co), a progressive political comedian. Way back when, we brought Credico to Baltimore, where he staged his deathless act. (He had already been on the Tonight Show.)
Lawrence O’Donnell is visibly nuts. Credico probably isn’t.