Part 3—Even dumber than Trump: Today, before leaving the coffee joint, we decided to reread Chapter 4 of a current book. There would be no skimming this time!
The book in question is the recent volume, A Brief History of Creation: Science and the Search for the Origin of Life. In it, Mesler and Cleaves describe the efforts of our self-described human race to explain how life began on this planet—essentially, to explain how we got from rocks and water to life forms like bacteria and protozoa and even Joe and Mika.
We planned to reread Chapter 4, but only managed one paragraph. This is what it said:
MESLER AND CLEAVES (page 45): On July 1, 1766, in the small French town of Abbeville, a young man named Jean-Francois de la Barre was taken from a prison cell and brought to a room where his legs were placed in a torture device known as a "Spanish boot." For the next hour, his jailors methodically crushed de la Barre's legs and feet before, according to some accounts, removing his tongue. When they were finished, they lifted him up and placed his body in the cart that would carry him to his place of execution. Around his neck, they hung a sign on which they had written "impious, sacrilegious and hateful blasphemer."As recently as 1766, that's the way our species "reasoned." How different are we today?
To answer that question, consider a wonderful horrible moment from Monday's Morning Joe.
Heatedly, Joe Scarborough was trying to prove that he himself isn't impious, sacrilegious and a hateful blasphemer. In part, the project is required because of the way he and his co-host, Mika Brzezinski, had pandered and fawned and made goo-goo eyes at Candidate Trump over the previous year.
To their very minor credit, the ludicrous pair had performed a 180 back in March, after Candidate Trump failed his David Duke/Ku Klux Klan test. (This was five years after Trump began his King of All Birthers disgrace.) All this week, they've continued denouncing their former paramour as impious, sacrilegious and a hateful blasphemer, in the way we alleged humans do.
On Monday, Scarborough was denouncing Trump's impious statements about a federal judge. The wonderful moment occurred when he tried to explain that the judge in question, Gonzalo Curiel, is just as American as anyone else, even including Candidate Trump!
Make no mistake—Judge Curiel is just as American as anyone else. (That doesn't speak to the question of his allegedly biased rulings in the "Trump University" case.) That said, the wonderful moment occurred when the irate multimillionaire pundit showed how little attention he has actually paid to this case.
In the most ancient tradition, Mika decided to take a poll. In this way, everyone could affirm his view of Trump's impious behavior.
Inevitably, Joe jumped in with a factual error, an error which showed how little attention he's actually paid to this case:
MIKA (6/6/16): Can I just do a poll? Nicolle? Is that racism?"Just checking," the instinctive Inquisitor said. To watch this exchange, click here.
MIKA: OK. Joe? Is that racism?
JOE: It's completely racist.
MIKA: Yeah. Yeah.
JOE: It's completely racist. Here you have a guy that is from Indiana—from Indiana! I think his family, if I'm not mistaken, had been in the country of America longer than Trump's grandmother.
MIKA: Reverend Al, is that racism?
SHARPTON: Oh, it's absolutely, unequivocally racist.
MIKA: Just checking.
This is the way our species once denounced the impious and, in Salem, the witches. In this country of America, we moved on to Communists in the last century. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, we've been needing a new central demon.
On Monday morning, everyone agreed on the diagnosis, as everyone always does. As often happens in pundit discussions, the pundits could only distinguish themselves by jacking the uniform accusation up to a higher level.
The accused wasn't simply racist. His conduct became completely racist, then absolutely, unequivocally so.
In this way, Candidate Gore's demonic three-button suits were once given a fourth button by the pandering Arianna Huffington. George Bush ended up in the White House. Along with the fourth button on his suit, Candidate Gore was forced to wear that season's Spanish boot.
The wonderful moment in this exchange involved the lack of knowledge by the furious Scarborough, who had blatantly fawned to Candidate Trump for the bulk of the previous year. Our analysts were reduced to sullen thousand-yard stares when the fraudulent fellow spoke thusly about Judge Curiel:
"I think his family, if I'm not mistaken, had been in the country of America longer than Trump's grandmother."
As usual, the fraudulent fellow was mistaken. His error showed how little attention he has actually paid to this case, concerning which he displayed such depth of feeling.
Do these life forms ever know what they're talking about? In fact, it's Trump's mother, Mary MacLeod Trump, who came to "this country of America" at a later date than Judge Curiel's father.
None of this has a thing to do with any issues involved in this matter. But Trump's Scottish-born mother came to this country of America in 1930. Judge Curiel's Mexican-born father was already here.
On Tuesday, Scarborough corrected his story without noting Monday's mistake.
None of this has a thing to do with any of the actual issues involved in this matter. It does help us see how little attention Scarborough has actually paid to this case, about which he pretends to have such strong feelings.
Errors like these are wonderfully common among the creatures who roam through Punditstan. To cite another example, such errors have been made all week as pundits pretend to have deep feelings about the death of Muhammad Ali.
(Some pundits do have such feelings about Ali. Others rush off to pretend.)
Our favorite astonishing error of this type was made by Chris Matthews. He made his astonishing error in December 2007, after he had spent a whole year promoting Candidate Obama.
To refresh yourself, click here. These people are phony all the way down. Such errors help us see this fact—if we have eyes to see.
Many times, we don't have such eyes; it's in the nature of the species. We've always been eager to slip those Spanish boots onto the feet of the impious. We've always been eager to stand in line to state our whole-hearted consent.
At such moments of mandated tribal agreement, our rationality flies away, possibly on a broomstick. We've experienced such a glorious moment in the Curiel affair this week.
Let's be clear: We don't know a single bad thing about Judge Curiel. At the same time, we think Candidate Trump seems deranged, disordered, presumably diagnosable.
He has been making crazy, disordered comments dating at least to 2011. Joe and Mika feign horror now. They pimped him all last year.
Back in 1766, the life of Jean-Francois de la Barre ended extremely badly. In our view, the denizens of Punditstan have staged a somewhat similar episode this week.
How much have we changed since 1766? Tomorrow, we'll look at what Dahlia Lithwick wrote about Candidate Trump's latest claims. (Overtly racist, she said.) And we'll review what we were finally able to learn from watching Megyn Kelly.
From Joe and Mika on to Lithwick, we think the work by pundits this week has made them seem even dumber than Trump. It's very hard to get dumber than Trump. This week, chasing the impious down, our pundits have actually done it.
Tomorrow: Lithwick fails to inform
Live and direct from the California of 1964: Spanish boots of Spanish leather! Back in the day, in real time, it was one of our favorite songs.
Dylan's official recorded version doesn't seem to be available on YouTube. This is the closest approximation; it comes fairly close.
We've always felt that Dylan and Ali were, in some sense, the same person. Each man chose to change his name. Each man kept evolving.
Update: Even better, how about this live version from April 1963?
What a wonderful composition! She keeps saying she won't be returning. He keeps refusing to hear her.