WINNERS, LOSERS, ENEMIES, OTHERS: Biden says he'll serve all the people!

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2020

Professor starts enemies list: Carlotta Valdes was speaking to Jimmy Stewart deep inside the Muir Woods.

(In fact, her statements were filmed at Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz County. Either way, she was surrounded by giant redwoods, the oldest living things on earth. The footage was filmed for Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 classic.)

Valdes (1831-1857) had lived in California a century before. Now, she'd seized control of Kim Novak's person and, with Hitchcock's cameras running, she told Stewart this:

VALDES: How old?

STEWART: Oh—some, two thousand years, or more.

VALDES: The oldest living things?

STEWART (nods affirmation): ...What are you thinking?

VALDES: Of all the people who have been  born—and have died—while the trees went on living.

"Their true name is Sequoia Sempervirens: always green, ever-living," Stewart said.

Moments later, as Hitchcock continued to film, Valdes inspected the remains of a giant tree which had been brought down and put on display.  Its rings were marked with historical dates, extending back to the Battle of Hastings—and we don't mean Hastings, Nebraska!

As Valdes fingered the mighty tree's rings, her dreamy rumination continued. "Somewhere in here I was born," she said. "And here I died."

Reportedly, Stewart never accepted the fact that he had spoken with the historical Valdes. He always insisted that he'd been conversing with a character Novak, an actress, was playing.

In that way, Stewart missed a remarkable moment. In fact, in remarkable footage captured by Hitchcock, "Novak" had emitted the voice of Valdes—and Valdes was dreaming back over the sweep of human history.

A somewhat similar manifestation took place last Wednesday afternoon on one of our cable news channels.  Suddenly, a panel discussion took cable viewers back through the annals of time

Professor Johnson was the speaker that day. On this occasion, the time travel went like this:

Professor Johnson was appearing as a guest on Deadline: White House. It already seemed likely that Candidate Biden was going to win the election.

Biden was on his way to the White House. The professor, like so many before him, was compiling his enemies list.

Earlier that afternoon, the candidate had given a speech in which he said that, while he'd run as a Democrat, he would also be a president for those who had voted against him.

"To make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies. We are not enemies," Biden had explicitly said.

As humans have done since the dawn of time, Professor Johnson pushed back hard against this way of thinking. In the oration transcribed below, he mused about the large numbers of people who voted for Donald J. Trump:

JOHNSON (11/4/20): America, by the slightest of disturbing margins, decided they wanted to pick someone who doesn't actively dislike the people who gave him the job.

I am disturbed by the fact that not enough Americans made that decision.

I am disturbed by the fact that you have large numbers of people who are like, "Yeah, a guy who leaves people out in the cold, and a quarter of a million people die of Covid, and harasses women and everything else like that, I want a little bit more of that, and I don't really know if I wanted the other guy."

So this election really shows me a lot of really disturbing things about this country racially, very disturbing things about this country from a gender standpoint, and I have to say this:

Because if Joe Biden becomes president of the United States—and I hope that he does, because he is not a dictator in the making; he seems to be a decent guy—I will immediately turn around my hat and be excruciatingly critical of him. Because you cannot come into this White House with the idea that these people aren't the enemy. They are.

The people chasing the Biden-Harris truck out of Texas, they are the enemies of democracy.

The people right now attacking vote counters in Detroit, they are the enemy.

Kyle Rittenhouse is the enemy. Mitch McConnell is the enemy. And if there's one thing that Democrats should have finally figured out in this campaign, you can't treat the Republican Party with kid gloves, because they won't treat you that way.

I hope Joe Biden just gave this speech to sound nice because everything isn't locked down yet. Maybe Senator Harris will have this idea should she become vice president.

But they have to go into this realizing they're in a war. The war for the soul of America will not end once he's inaugurated and I hope he remembers that.

With that, the professor finished his speech. Quite literally, he was already building his list.

A 17-year-old was the enemy; so was Mitch McConnell. As Carlotta Valdes sometimes reminds us during private consultations, we humans have always been inclined to function this way. 

As a species, we're strongly inclined to split into tribes and to make enemies lists. The professor, feeling himself at war, hoped that Biden had been lying about trying to serve everyone.

The endless election is finally done. It's all over now but the reacting. 

Does Professor Johnson's reaction make sense? At this time tomorrow morning, we'll start our discussion right there.

Tomorrow: Ways to identify others


25 comments:

  1. Jimmy Stewart was not the name of the character he played in the film. Thus Carlotta Valdes was not talking to Jimmy Stewart but to that other fictional character. And Kim Novak, the actress, was not the name of the characters she played either.

    Does Somerby introduce this confusion because he is too lazy to go to Wikipedia and look up the characters' names? Or does he do this so that he can make later claims that Carlotta Valdes (a fictional character) spoke to him?

    ReplyDelete
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  2. "With that, the professor finished his speech. Quite literally, he was already building his list."

    He also said that we are in a war. Do you suppose he meant that literally? Does Somerby think he was making a call to arms?

    When Johnson says enemy, he means opponent. He doesn't mean enemies list in the way Nixon did. He doesn't mean it in the way Churchill spoke about the Axis powers. He means that people who act against democratic principles must be opposed.

    That is clear to anyone who hasn't spent too much time in close conversation with Carlotta Valdes. And this is what is meant by being excessively literal, which is a symptom of frontal lobe damage, of the type that occurs with dementia, schizophrenia, autism, and similar disorders. Somerby is big on remote diagnosis, so I am free to say that there is something wrong with him, if he thinks that Democrats are going to stop opposing Republicans despite governing on behalf of all Americans, something Trump never did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somerby tells us his mother suffered from mental illness, seems it might run in the family.

      It may be that people like Somerby and Trump are just assholes.

      Excessively literal people tend to have an aversion to context; we are still living in the shadow of the failure of Reconstruction and Lincoln's misguided notions on how to deal with unrepentant racists. Somerby prefers failure for the emerging, more left-leaning Democratic Party; he pretends it is out of some sense of brotherly love, but it is clearly motivated by his center to center-right world view.

      Delete
  3. "A 17-year-old was the enemy"

    Not just any 17 year old. Kyle Rittenhouse, who brought a gun to a protest and shot three people in cold blood, for being peaceful protesters (e.g., exercising their 1st Amendment right to free speech).

    It is fair to say that people who bring guns to peaceful protests, intending to shoot people, are enemies of democracy, in my opinion. And yes, that includes the cops.

    ReplyDelete
  4. In the film, Carlotta Valdes was a deceased Hispanic woman from a previous century, whose ghost was used as a plot device by Hitchcock. She is most likely fictional.

    Somerby can in no way imagine what the life of that woman was like. He does not know what opinions or beliefs she might have held. We do know that she held opinions and beliefs if she was a human being. It is wrong for Somerby to co-opt her voice to make her a vehicle for validating whatever nonsense he is spouting. Women, including Hispanic women, can speak for themselves. Taking that right from them, in life or in death or in fiction, is abusive and needs to stop. Somerby's casual perpetuation of this trespassing is ugly and he should rethink what he has been doing. Of course, he won't. Because that's the kind of guy he is. Someone who steals other people's approbation without permission, because his own words are too weak to convince.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "As a species, we're strongly inclined to split into tribes and to make enemies lists. "

    This situation isn't simple tribalism, it isn't an example of disliking others because of their identity. There is a principle involved -- the defense of democracy. I don't think that standing for a strongly held principle, such as defending democracy, is an example of tribalism at all. Those defined as enemies are people who have taken actions that undermine democracy, threaten it. They are being opposed for their actions, not their identities as members of some other tribe.

    I think Somerby needs to think about this a little more. Otherwise, he comes across as just someone who is attacking Democrats because he doesn't like that tribe himself and would prefer Republicans have power. That's the way he has been coming across with his unceasing complaints about Democrats, across a variety of situations. And it doesn't make much sense to decry tribalism while engaging in it himself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dems are an odd tribe, while Repubs rely on self interest, Dems want to help those in need. Somerby does need to think a little more.

      Delete
  6. Somerby doesn't say who Professor Johnson is, what he is a professor of, or even what his first name is, so we can look him up. He doesn't provide a link either. If Johnson is a professor of history or political science, it provides a context for his remarks that is important to knowing what he means when he calls certain people "enemies."

    ReplyDelete
  7. If someone says that love is the enemy of hate, does anyone really believe that love would take out a knife and attempt to murder hate, literally? Somerby is being an ass today.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Emily Murphy at GSA is refusing to sign a letter authorizing Biden's transition team to begin its work.

    Is she the enemy or does she consider Biden to be the enemy? Maybe Somerby can explain this to us.

    ReplyDelete
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  10. "A 17-year-old was the enemy" I saw that coming a mile away. you just have to recall how blogger waited, biting his lips together week after week after week until a photo emerged showing zimmerman (trayvon martin case)with a wound in the back of his head and the orgasmic ecstasy of blogger to proclaim zimmerman' non-guilt.

    blogger's head will spontaneously explode if the white kid who casually killed people with an AR15 is found guilty.

    "a seventeen year old is the enemy" - we librulz.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The Republican Party and McConnell are enemies of democracy. It is a folly not to understand this.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I’m not inclined to believe the margins ultimately reported in the blue wall states were accurate. We do not know how much Republican malfeasance occurred here to allow Trump margins of defeat much smaller than predicted or whether Russian hackers could have had access to voting tabulations. Any deviations in outcomes falling significantly outside of pre election polls have been assumed due to bad polling. That is not the only possibility. If the Russian hackers known as Energizer Bears were able to infiltrate and subvert our elections, this administration would be the last to report it.

    ReplyDelete
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