Epilogue—How civilizations end: On the brighter side, Morning Joe has now completed a full three weeks in its quieter, gentler new mode.
The program's standard screeching and yelling have plainly been set aside. We'd love to know who made the decision to lower the decibel level on the insider chatterbox program.
More sadly, this doesn't mean that the insider program has gotten a whole lot smarter. This morning, the program began with Mika making a foolish remark about this era of Stephanie Clifford, an era which has given rise to the ongoing "Stormy saga."
At this time, we can't share those initial remarks; they may become available later. That said, Mika soon returned to the topic during the program's first half hour, authoring these remarks:
BRZEZINSKI (3/16/18): Of course, from all that international intrigue, now to the presidential porn star, Stormy.Mika continued from there with her remarks about "the presidential porn star, Stormy"—and yes, that's the way she said it! Stephanie Clifford is now "the presidential porn star, Stormy." No last name required!
There are new developments on Stormy Daniels' 60 Minutes appearance. Two sources tell the Washington Post that CBS will air her interview with Anderson Cooper on March 25.
Meanwhile, the lawyer representing the former porn star, Michael Avenatti, says six other women have come forward with stories that are, quote, "strikingly similar" to his client's.
He says at least two of them have nondisclosure agreements, but admits he has not yet vetted their stories to a great degree.
Let's set that small oddity to the side. We were struck, as we'd been struck at the start of the program, by Mika's key revelation:
The porn star's lawyer was saying that six other women had come forward with stories strikingly similar to hers!
Pure heaven! If their similar stories pan out, we can now discuss seven women who have had fully consensual sex, at some time in the past, with President Donald J. Trump.
This is what people like Mika want. They want to sit around all day talking about people who say they've had consensual sex with some targeted politician.
People like Mika have been pushing this project for the past 31 years, dating to the bright Democratic front-runner whose campaign and career they destroyed. Despite the massive harm they've done, they want to continue their project today. Truth to tell, it's the only thing these manifest droogs want to talk about.
Could this possibly be, as Professor Norman O. Brown once mused, the place where our society and our civilization possibly reach their end?
We'll get to Professor Brown below. For now, let's establish a few basic points:
First point: The "presidential porn star, Stormy" hasn't been alleging sexual harassment or sexual assault. She's been saying that she engaged in consensual sex in 2006. More than once!
Second point: We can't imagine why any sane or decent person would want to talk about this. We especially can't imagine that when we consider the chain of destruction these prior discussions have left in their wake.
Third point: Mika is eager to talk about this; so are Josh and Digby. So are a wide range of mainstream journalists, some of whom are skilled at inventing concerns to justify the use of their long, Salem Village-style noses. It isn't the consensual sex, it's the cover-up!
Fourth point: In the past 31 years, these discussions have done enormous harm to progressive interests. To cite one minor example, people are dead all over the world because these discussions took place. That said, it's perfectly clear that leading liberals don't really care about those dead people and never much did, except as a temporary way to seek partisan advantage.
Fifth point: Michael Cohen should be awarded his nation's top civilian honors for trying to shut Clifford up. Almost surely, Clifford isn't a freedom fighter. How hard can it be to see that?
We return to our main point:
Decent people don't go around discussing other people's affairs. Intelligent people don't try to mire our public discourse in such deadbeat discussions.
Observant people understand that these discussions have caused immeasurable harm since being waved into existence in 1987. Decent people keep their big long noses out of other people's affairs.
They don't go on TV, in front of millions of people, and discuss the ways other people have been consensually "shtupping." They don't play sexy-time audiotape of other people's phone calls again and again.
That's what decent and intelligent people don't do. Then again, there's us.
Here's a basic anthropological point about creatures like us. Given the way our brains are wired, once you let us start talking about other people's consensual sex, we'll end up discussing nothing else.
In the realm of upper-end journalism, the children are constantly seeking excuses to avoid matters of substance. If you let them start discussing (consensual) sex, they'll simply never stop.
Thanks to a certain money-grubbing porn star, the children have been stampeding of late concerning Trump and sex. Despite the fact that it bores them silly, they very much want to discuss this matter. They hope to discuss nothing else.
As this stampede began gathering steam, the ghostly visage of Norman O. Brown began to murder our sleep. That one passage he wrote kept invading our dreams. It dates to 1960.
Who the heck was Norman O. Brown? Technically, he was a Wesleyan classics professor, but in 1959, he became very hot with a searching, slightly mad book, Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History.
In May 1960, he went viral behind his commencement address to the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Columbia. His obscure, slightly mad address was titled "Apocalypse: The Place of Mystery in the Life of the Mind." One year later, in its May 1961 issue, Harper's magazine published the full text of the address.
You can read the full text here. Did Paddy Chayefsky borrow from this when he invented Howard Beale, "mad prophet of the airwaves?"
We don't know how to answer that. But by now, there was no turning back.
In 1966, Brown published another slightly mad book, Love's Body. By this time, he was a major star among the emerging 60s generation.
The always observant Camille Paglia has called Love's Body "one of the most famous and influential books of my college years." We recall the era the very same way! Also this:
"Reading Brown was a little like taking drugs, only it was more likely to lead to tenure," the sociologist Alan Wolfe wrote in The New Republic in 1991. Or so it said in this lengthy New York Times obituary of Brown in 2002.
As best we can tell, Brown remained a significant figure in academic circles, but he faded from popular culture. In the past dozen years, we've often thought of that one obscure passage from that one Phi Beta Kappa address.
We can't quite say what Brown was talking about in the bulk of that famous address. But at one point, he uttered the words shown below—and those words, which we can't explain, occasionally murder our sleep.
We don't really know what the heck he was talking about. But he was describing a process through which societies and civilizations reach their end in exhaustion, then roll over and die:
BROWN (5/31/60): The sociologist Simmel sees showing and hiding, secrecy and publicity, as two poles, like yin and yang, between which societies oscillate in their historical development. 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.Truly, we have no idea what Brown was talking about in that speech, which you can read here, or even in that passage. But for some reason, that image—the image of a civilization reaching its end in a state of exhaustion—has occasionally troubled our dreams in the past dozen years.
The power which makes all things new is magic. What our time needs is mystery; what our time needs is magic. Who would not say that only a miracle can save us?
When you see people like Mika seeking the chance to discuss Donald's shtupping, can your inner mind not imagine the possibility that our society, and its civilization, are now walking off into the jungle to die?
Darlings, how delicious! Mika sits on the air each morning beside the employer she started shtupping at some point in the past ten years. Almost surely, she was still married to her former husband when all the consensual shtupping began. Indeed, in the female empowerment books she kept writing for Harvey to hide behind, she kept talking about the amazingly wonderful marriage she was enjoying thanks to her wonderful husband. Plus, her fabulous genes!
As she was writing these books for Harvey, she was presumably consensually shtupping Joe! Who can say how many others might come forward with similar stories? Is it possibly time for her to for her to discuss all the fully consensual shtuppinng she herself has excitingly done?
Nicolle Wallace's hour-long show was a rollicking clown car last Friday. All the children lounged about, telling us how much they disapproved of Donald's (consensual) shtupping.
They laughed and partied and frolicked and played. ("This is why you watch.") Eventually, Confessore issued a warning. For ourselves, we thought of what happened long ago when Norman O. Brown, the man called Nobby, may have seen all this on the way.
Did Nobby met the presidential porn star, Stormy, in his own troubled dreams? We can't be sure, but Donald J. Trump now controls our nukes, and Joe and Mika kissed his ascot all through the first year of his campaign.
Then they made a sudden flip. What that in mind, shouldn't responsible journalists push them about their shtupping?
Their man, who's nuttier by the day, may very well destroy the world. On the way to the end of our civilization, shouldn't all the prehuman corporate tools get to have some fun?
A possible public works project: If every American adult threw one dollar into the pot, we could raise $200 million to persuade Stephanie Clifford to stop talking again.
From there, we could maybe discuss Donald Trump's coming war. Until the next distraction occurs! At which point we'll discuss it!