PEEPING TOMS WITHOUT END, AMEN: The Times' Ross Douthat visits old friends!

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2017

Part 1—A whole lot of skimming and leafing:
According to his column in yesterday's New York Times, Ross Douthat spent some time this past week catching up with old friends. But first, a bit of background information:

A tax bill may be passing through Congress. Ranking military figures are describing their concern about the possibility that Donald J. Trump could employ this nation's nuclear weapons in an impulsive way.

Charges swirl as an important Senate election draws near in Alabama. Vladimir Putin may own the sitting American president. Climate change is on its way to devouring the earth.

It's not like nothing is occuring in the world right now! But here's the way the New York Times' earnest young quasi-conservative decided to spend his time last week:
DOUTHAT (11/19/17): I spent this week reading about the lost world of the 1990s. I skimmed the Starr Report. I leafed through books by George Stephanopoulos and Joe Klein and Michael Isikoff. I dug into Troopergate and Whitewater and other first-term scandals. I reacquainted myself with Gennifer Flowers and Webb Hubbell, James Riady and Marc Rich.
For ourselves, we often have a hard time following Douthat's trains of thought. The earnest young fellow managed to emerge from four years at Harvard (class of 2002) with his moralistic Catholic values intact.

We're not saying there's anything "wrong" with those values, or that a person shouldn't hold them. We're just saying that, in Douthat's hands, these values often lead to chains of reasoning which we find hard to follow.

(According to the leading authority on his life, "As an adolescent, Douthat converted to Pentecostalism and then, with the rest of his family, to Catholicism." That's all fine with us, but these peregrinations seem to have led to abstruse chains of moral reasoning which often seem murky to us. Before matriculating at Harvard, he prepped at Hamden Hall.)

In fairness, there was nothing about yesterday's column which was hard to follow. Like everyone else in the upper-end pundit corps, Douthat spent his time last week catching up with old friends—with old friends from "the lost world of the 1990s," even from years before that.

Inevitably, the first name he mentioned was Gennifer Flowers! Truly, these people are mad.

Might we offer a discourse on method? Based on the paragraph we've posted, it sounds like Douthat performed a lot of "skimming" and "leafing" as he caught up with these old friends last week.

Soon, he was presenting the type of journalistic judgment such skimming and leafing will typically produce. We highlight one laughable statement:
DOUTHAT: The sexual misconduct was the heart of things, but everything connected to Clinton's priapism was bad...

Something like Troopergate, for instance, in which Arkansas state troopers claimed to have served as Clinton's panderers and been offered jobs to buy their silence, is often recalled as just a right-wing hit job. But if you read The Los Angeles Times's reporting on the allegations (which included phone records confirming the troopers' account of a mistress Clinton was seeing during his presidential transition) and Stephanopoulos's portrayal of Clinton's behavior in the White House when the story broke, the story seems like it was probably mostly true.
Question:

After his week of skimming and leafing, does our anti-priapist actually know if those troopers' various stories were true?

We've highlighted only one statement from that passage, the statement we think is most salient. According to Douthat, his perfervid week of skimming and leafing allowed him to make this assessment:

"The story seems like it was probably mostly true."

How's that for journalistic precision? In a hard-hitting, nine-word statement, three different qualifiers appear—three qualifiers, some thirty years after the (alleged) fact.

In fact, there were an array of conflicting claims from an array of troopers. Even as he ignores this fact, does Douthat claim that the troopers' "story" was true?

Well actually no, he doesn't! He is only able to say that the story seems to be true. Except he doesn't say that either!

Actually, he says the story seems to be mostly true—except he hasn't even reached that shaky assessment. According to Douthat, it actually seems like the story is probably mostly true. That means it may be mostly false! Indeed, does this worried young fellow actually know that "the story" is true at all?

The story seems like it was probably mostly true! Who on earth would spend a week constructing such claims—constructing such claims about events which no longer matter, assuming they ever did?

Citizens, don't even ask! That nine-word sentence is the fruit of Douthat's week of leafing and skimming—his week of leafing and skimming concerning events which are alleged to have happened starting in 1988, to cite the particular matter to which he refers in that passage.

We refer to Douthat's worried claim that Bill Clinton, when governor of Arkansas, had "a mistress" with whom he was still in contact in late 1992, in the weeks after being elected president. It seems to trouble this earnest young boy to think that such a thing could have happened. That said, we note the way he still prefers to lard this story with the air of mystery which has always excited the prurient and the deviant among us.

We say that for a reason. If Douthat had dropped his skimming and leafing—if instead he'd read a dozen pages of a well-known, relatively recent book—he could have considered an authoritative-sounding report about that particular matter. We refer to Carl Bernstein's 2007 book, A Woman In Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton, which describes the alleged relationship in question 1) with the air of prurience stripped away, and 2) in appropriate detail, including the name of the woman in question.

We'll skim that part of Bernstein's book tomorrow. For today, we'll think about what Douthat has done, along with virtually everyone else in the clan of peeping Toms into which he has gained admittance.

Uh-oh! The alleged affair to which Douthat refers was an alleged affair between two consenting adults. Also, between two people of the same age.

No teenagers were involved. There was no issue of consent. And the woman said to be involved wasn't a public employee.

In short, all the worrisome factors which let these people rummage through underwear drawers are absent in this alleged matter. But here is Douthat, worrying hard about an alleged extramarital affair—an affair which Bernstein describes as a serious love affair.

Long ago and far away, this is the sort of thing the peeping Toms tried to use to get Bill Clinton eliminated. Five years before, in 1987, the peeping Toms had eliminated Gary Hart on this very same basis.

At that time, the peepers had literally hid in the bushes to catch Hart in the deeply unseemly act! They then began calling around to the college roommates of other candidates, asking if worrisome people like Candidate Gore had ever smoked marijuana when they were teenagers.

(Today, they pretend to worry about teenagers. Back then, they tried to exploit them!)

In the passage we've posted above, Douthat is worrying about an alleged consensual love affair which is said to have started in 1988. Thirty years later, he leafed and skimmed the Los Angeles Times, thrilled again, as all prurients are, by the deeply troubling conduct.

He spent a week doing this, thirty years later! What kinds of people engage in these tasks, are so steeped in prurience? We're sorry to tell you that these same people are sometimes so intellectually bankrupt that, thirty years later, they produce assessments like this:

"The story seems like it was probably mostly true."

Go ahead—laugh out loud! It's a hedge against tearing your hair, once you start accepting the truth about the beings to whom you're inseparably tied.

("Fastened to a dying animal!" We quote what Yeats once thoughtfully said about a related problem.)

The story seems like it was probably mostly true! Where the fark do these people come from? In what sense and to what extent are they actually "people" at all?

Tomorrow: Sailing toward the Byzantium of Dowd, Goldberg and Hayes

24 comments:

  1. The Catholic Church’s sex abuse experience is a case study. And we may be watching something similar happen with evangelicals, who decided with Donald Trump and may decide with Roy Moore that in the war against secular liberalism, they simply can’t afford to police the morals of their leaders.

    It’s a theory that makes sense if you think only of today’s elections, but in the long term it’s cultural suicide — because it tells your neighbors and your children that your religious convictions are always secondary to your partisanship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should at least give an attribution when quoting someone else's work. This is lifted verbatim from Douthat's piece "The Swine of Conservatism", Nov 11, 2017.

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    2. I'll attribute my fist to your face.

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    3. Hey 4:52 - take it outside!

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  2. "It's not like nothing is occuring in the world right now! But here's the way the New York Times' earnest young quasi-conservative decided to spend his time last week"

    If you do realize that this is irrelevant bullshit published by brain-dead rotten-to-the-core publication, why do you bother reading it and commenting on it?

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    Replies
    1. Свет Регион ВидеоNovember 20, 2017 at 11:48 AM

      Бакир Изетбеговић поново прети ратом! Други пут у последњих пет дана. И то пред бившим припадницима тзв. Армије БиХ. На овакве поруке поново стиже осуда странака из Српске, али и хрватских странака: циљ Изетбеговићеве ратно-хушкачке реторике је дестабилизација БиХ и региона. У одбрану свог лидера стала је СДА, која тврди да се против Изетбеговића води оркестрирани напад.

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  3. I always wondered why the media was always just solely concerned with priest misconduct when I'd always heard lots of stories about Protestant "youth ministers." I chalked it up to a bias against good works and liberals, as well as longtime media favoritism towards conservatives.

    But, "prurient" is indeed the word to explain their obsession.

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    Replies
    1. Every organization that puts children under the supervision of unsupervised males will have rampant sexual abuse. That's why there should be no gay Boy Scout leaders taking children camping.

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    2. Better trolling please.

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    3. At least its Dragonspeak is working.

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  4. Kevin Drum looks at Thomas Edsall's analysis of Mr Trump's supporters.

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/11/heres-how-the-residents-of-super-white-america-voted-in-2016/

    Here's Josh Marshall's backgrounder on Russia and the American Evangelical Right:

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/prime-beta/russia-and-the-american-evangelical-right

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  5. Why are we playing into conservative hands by reexamining the Clintons' sex life? Hillary is not running. Bill was president a long time ago. Neither is relevant to anything. This is a plain distraction from Trump's terrible trip and his own marital problems with Melania, his assaults on women, the Russia investigation, and so the difficulties with the tax bill.

    We should stay focused on current events. There is nothing to learn and nothing to say about the Clintons that hasn't already been said. There is no reason why we should care about them any more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eric Boehlert commented recently on twitter that since the Moore revelations the NY Times has printed 7 different negative opinion pieces on President Clinton.

      We're still waiting for one on Clarence Thomas who actually is kind of relevant since he has a permanent seat on the Supreme Court.

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    2. I never watch these cable shows that this writer speaks about but had a chance to the other night and on Fox and MSNBC it was all ... Clinton. Astounding. The great hidden powers have won.

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  6. Help! Ross Douthat, "quasi-conservative", is being attacked today for his faulty assumptions about Clinton ("the story seems like it was probably mostly true"); Douthat may not even be a person ("Where the fark do these people come from? In what sense and to what extent are they actually "people" at all?")

    But wait. Somerby clearly placed Douthat in "The Other Tribe" ( no "quasi" about it) back in March, 2014 (a piece entitled "Brian Beutler made us do it!" from
    TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 2014 to be exact) when Somerby was *defending* Douthat against Brian Beutler's insinuations:

    "Douthat didn’t say that the ascendance of same-sex marriage is a kind of divine retribution. He didn’t say that getting sued for X, Y or Z will be a form of persecution or oppression—unless you’re determined to think the worst of those in The Other Tribe, determined to read what they write in the most negative way possible."

    Beutler to some extent, but those "Salon commenters" especially, were, sadly, "playing this dumb, familiar, hateful game. This is how Sean has always behaved."

    So, which is it? Is Douthat an "Other" that we stupid liberals should learn how to talk to, or a "non-person" that we must revile? Did he move into the latter camp simply because of his "seeming" Clinton- bashing?

    (Did we tell you that Douthat produces "chains of reasoning which we find hard to follow" and "murky?" We did, but we won't provide examples.)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, we needed someone to go thru the TDH archives to point out this seemingly puzzling inconsistency. Keep up your important work.

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    2. Went through the archives?...It took 3 seconds for me to find this, innocently searching for other posts about Douthat. Was it puzzling? Not at all. It's par for the course here at The Howler, sadly. And what you call "inconsistent" is a typical gross violation by Somerby of one of his main themes, that liberals must be more "loving" towards the "Others." ... (until that Other is mistaken about Bill Clinton?). (Did I mention that liberals are stupid, lazy, and hateful, and may themselves not be human?)
      Why, I was trying to be nice to Douthat these past 3 years, until I learned he wasn't even a person today.

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    3. This game isn’t fun any more.

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    4. It's so weird the hypocrisies and perplexing inconsistencies Bob hurls at us every day. It's scares me. I can't deal. I think about it and write about it every day and nothing changes. I explain with logic but it keeps on and on and on. Why is he that way? Why is the world the way it is?

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    5. Anon 7:16, are you Anon 5:49, or are you just agreeing with Anon 5:49?

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    6. I have to agree, this astonishing revelation regarding some blogger is utterly typical -- but we can never forget that its importance absolutely dwarfs whatever minor point there may be about the sometimes systematically flawed operation of our mass news media organizations. So Thanks, Anonymous Douche!

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  7. Anon 7:16, are you Anon 5:49, or are you just agreeing with Anon 5:49?

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  8. Douthat was never particularly insightful to begin with, but I also have to believe the 24 hour cable news and internet blog cycle is destroying people's attention spans.

    Douthat is a case study. Becoming intentionally overwhelmed by media is a very good thing to caution against.

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  9. For learning Ethical Hacking, Assembly level programming is not necessary. Its like another stream of hacking environment.

    Let me tell you, Who Needs to Learn Assembly language :
     -> Malware Analysts.
    -> Code Exploit Writers.
    -> Reverse Code Engineers.
    -> Shellcoders.
    -> Software Vulnerability Analysts.
    -> Bug Hunters.
    -> Virus Writers.

    If you want to become one among the above, You have to.. I hope you undertsand.

    Let be clear, tell you the tools and platform used for Assembly language: Before we starts writing assembly programs, let me tell you which tools and platform we are going to use.

    1. Development Platform:- 
     Linux: we will use Kali-linux which is a Debian-derived Linux distribution designed for digital forensics and penetration testing.
     You can download it from here: Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking Linux Distribution

    2. Assembler :- GAS (The GNU Assembler) : The GNU Assembler is used to convert ARM assembly language source code into binary object files.
     You don't need to download it. It is installed by default in Kali-linux.

    3. Linker:- ld : it is a tool used for linking GNU linker (or GNU ld) is the GNU Project's implementation of the Unix command ld.
     It is also installed by default in Kali-linux.

    4.Debugger:- GDB : GDB, the GNU Project debugger, allows you to see what is going on 'inside' another program while it executes -- or what another program was doing at the moment it crashed.
     GDB can do four main kinds of things (plus other things in support of these) to help you catch bugs in the 
     act:
     1.Start your program, specifying anything that might affect its behavior.
     2.Make your program stop on specified conditions.
     3.Examine what has happened, when your program has stopped.
     4.Change things in your program, so you can experiment with correcting the effects of one bug and go on to learn about another.
     It is also available in kali-linux.
    People always ask me how i learnt Hacking
    What i actually did was that I read true crime hacker books like Cyberpunk and The Hacker Crackdown and lots of older Legion of Doom Technical Journal on BBS. However i devoted more time for programming and coding.

    Readers are free to get in touch with me for more discussion Or If there is a need to hire a Hacker. I'm gona do your job professionally : compositehacks@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete