IN THE YEAR 2525: Anthropologists deconstruct Ball!


Part 1—The role of the vassal liberal: Exciting note:

For one day only, we offer history which was channeled to us this weekend from a highly reliable source in the future. That channeled history is shown starting now:

By the year 2525, anthropologists had begun to settle on an explanation of the failed American nation-state of five centuries before.

At one point, they came to focus on a rune-like text from a young broadcaster named Krystal Ball.

Ball was one of many “vassal liberals” in the employ of the priests as the rapid disintegration occurred. According to the most reliable reconstructions, her text was broadcast on “cable TV” on or around June 17, 2014, as the priests began their latest round of attacks on a disfavored politician.

You can watch Ball’s broadcast here.
But first, some basic background:

During this general period, the reigning priests instituted a journalistic regime which anthropologists now describe as “gaffe culture.” At one time, their predecessors had read the entrails of chickens. Now, tribunes divined the “meanings” of offhand remarks by major political figures.

Needless to say, these comments were chosen in highly selective ways and interpreted very loosely. In her broadcast, Ball described the need for this “gaffe culture,” in a way which was unusually direct.

At this time, the priests had introduced another form of divination which vassal “journalists” put to extensive use. According to this selective process, disfavored politicians were derided for the size and number of their homes, which were judged to be suspiciously lavish.

Needless to say, the highest-ranking of the priests lived in homes which were often more lavish than those of the pols in question. But the vassals were paid substantial sums to hide this fact from the general public, an assignment they executed with zeal.

By at least the year 1999, they had begun to institute this new interpretive regime, which has come to be known as “house-hunting:”

At the start of Campaign 2000, Candidate Gore was widely attacked for having grown up in a “fancy hotel.” Many vassals understood that The Fairfax Apartment Hotel hadn’t been a “fancy hotel” at the time in question.

It certainly hadn’t been The Ritz-Carlton, the name many journalists used. But this story-line appeared as soon as Gore began campaigning, and it was widely recited.

During Campaign 2004, Candidate Kerry was attacked for his home on Nantucket, which was said to be too expensive. During Campaign 2008, Candidate Edwards was attacked for his home in North Carolina, which was said to be too large.

Also during Campaign 2008, Candidate McCain was attacked for the number of his homes, which were said to be too many. At one point, journalists even claimed that McCain had said he couldn’t keep track of the number. (By now, the invention of useful “quotations” had also become quite common.)

In Campaign 2012, Candidate Romney was attacked for his home in California, which was said to be too fully loaded.

(Other candidates got a free pass on their homes, depending on the preferences of the priests. In October 1999, Candidate Bush purchased a ranch in Crawford, Texas, reportedly paying $1.3 million for the land alone. He subsequently built a house and a garage on the property; turned a pre-existing house into a guest house; and constructed a 10-acre fishing lake and a swimming pool. To this day, even Wikipedia lacks an estimate of the cost of all this construction. In real time, Bush’s purchase of the ranch was generally treated as an auspicious sign of his coming presidency.

(During Campaign 2008, Candidate Obama largely got a pass on the peculiar way he had purchased the land for his home in Chicago. Journalists largely eschewed the “house-hunting” tradition when it came to favored candidates.)

In the summer of 2014, this new tradition was extended to Non-Candidate Clinton by several extremely wealthy priests, and especially by the Washington Post. Early in this period, Ball delivered the commentary which anthropologists now regard as a highly significant text.

Ball performed on MSNBC, which was designated as a “liberal” news site. By this time, however, many “vassal liberals” had actively aided the priests in their attacks against major candidates from the Democratic Party, the more liberal of the two major political organizations.

Anthropologists cite several possible reasons for this behavior. But whatever her motives may have been, Ball’s text is now regarded as a classic from the era in which the American nation-state devolved into the 83 small republics favored by Ron Paul.

For centuries, scholars assumed that the surviving text of Ball’s broadcast must have been a corruption, so odd was some of its logic. By now, however, there is general agreement on the words Ball spoke that day.

Ball’s now-famous commentary concerned a “book tour” by Hillary Clinton. Clinton was considered a likely candidate for the White House in Campaign 2016, which of course hadn’t started yet.

This is the way Ball began her iconic broadcast:
BALL (5/17/14): What are we to make of the Hillary Clinton book tour that is so much more than a book tour? The down-to-the-second, precision interactions, perfectly calculated to make sure visitors don’t feel jilted, while maximizing the number of signatures. The planned pop-ups of old friends who just happen to be in the area. The carefully crafted backdrops, not too warehouse-y but not too stiff.

And, of course, the interviews.
Anthropologists note the instant focus on the types of inane minor points which had come to dominate priestly discourse by this time. In this text, the desire to “maximize the number of signatures” given to people who bought Clinton’s book was instantly treated as a point of interest—and as a point of suspicion and concern.

That said, it’s Ball’s subsequent portrait of Non-Candidate Clinton which has made this rune a major text from this highly significant period. In our next post, we’ll review the way Ball repeated a string of highly familiar talking-points about Clinton—talking-points which had been generated years before by conservative and corporate opponents of Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton.

By now, the so-called “vassal liberals” had played this peculiar role through several election cycles. Four cycles earlier, to cite one example, they had repeated the same talking-points about Candidate Gore.

This permitted Ranch-Owner Bush to squeak into the White House. Once there, he initiated the major war which hastened his own nation’s fall.

Unchastened by this gruesome history, the vassals continued their conduct in July 2014. This led to the fall of the nation-state and the rise of the 83 smaller republics.

Subsequently, Ball and other liberal commentators built gated ranches in The Duchy of Commentaria, a small republic in the lands which had once been northern Vermont. In “the lower 82,” as they came to be called, the damage had been done.

Tomorrow: Our own contemporary review of Ball’s June 17 broadcast


  1. Still missing but promised: Fallows and White, Hoover and Hoostin with a dash of Erin.

    Oh those busy, overworked anthropologists! May their work in the 26th century be as rewarding to their culture as the work of those dissecting the Inka was to those blogging in the 21st.

  2. So, why is Ball trashing Clinton if Ball is supposedly representing a liberal perspective?

    1. Ball has already broadcast an opinion piece in which she called on Clinton not to run in 2016. She said that while she supported Clinton in 2008, she feels Sen. Warren would be a better candidate to advance Democratic views and win the election.

      That, of course does not answer your question. Only Ball can do that. It may, however, give some perspective.

      Some may feel it is because of the houses, however. And Al Gore's hotel.

    2. Warren is unqualified due to her total lack of experience outside of one narrow area of competence. Backing someone like Warren gives cover to those on the left who wish to attack Clinton, in my opinion.

      When the Republicans nominated Palin, the idea was to proclaim an absence of sexism while giving disaffected liberal women the chance to switch parties. Backing Warren similarly says "I'm not against Clinton because she is female, see, because I like Warren" while proposing someone who is so obviously not a viable candidate that she poses no threat to preferred alternatives. I don't know who will be anointed for 2016, but it won't be Warren.

      So, again, why is Ball doing the devil's work (figuratively speaking)?

    3. Backing someone like Warren may be because you prefer someone like Warren to someone like Clinton. Or it may mean you prefer Warren herself to Clinton, not just someone like her.

      Or it may mean the same nefarious sinister forces are at work, allowing there to be only one Clinton presidency until young Chelsea is ready. Hillary, after all, is not a Clinton by blood.

    4. The problem is that the office for which Clinton may run is the presidency. I like Warren, as a senator. She has no experience in foreign affairs, none in administration, none in politics beyond the short time she has been in office. She has some good ideas about finances but there are many more domestic issues besides that, which she has no experience with at all. She is worse than Obama was -- all good intentions and no experience.

      With Obama, especially during his first year in office when he committed a series of blunders, we saw the impact of a lack of experience. I have no doubt whatsoever that had a skilled politician been in office he or she could have gotten past Republican instransigence to get things done. Beyond that, Obama has been prey to a variety of hucksters with superficially good ideas (Larry Summers, Arne Duncan) and unable to put forward his own defense and intelligence programs (continuing Bush's efforts and staffing) due to a lack of knowledge and contacts in those areas. He was a good man and charismatic leader with insufficient experience and he has made it painfully obvious that experience matters.

      There need not be any sinister forces beyond the FACT that business looks out for its own interests by manipulating our political system.

  3. Sen. Warren, of course, has her own "house" problem which Ball and others ignore: during the nineties, before declaring herself tribune of the middle class, she and her family bought numerous foreclosed houses, then flipped them for fun and large profits. Talk about a house problem!

    1. Too bad the Boston Herald, which did the investigation during Warren's campaign for the Senate in 2012, is charging to read the original article about Warren's house flipping history.

  4. Ball started as a businesswoman and CPA then decided to run for office. According to NY Magazine:

    "Ball’s campaign had always been a long shot: She was a 28-year-old Democrat running against a Republican incumbent in Virginia’s conservative-leaning first district. And if it hadn’t been for those “XXX-Mas” party photos, she might have remained a 2010 congressional also-ran, waiting in obscurity for the next election year. Instead, the photos made their way into the national media — and Ball responded forcefully, acknowledging the pictures and denouncing sexual double standards. She ended up with regular guest spots on Fox News and MSNBC, and now, two years later, she’s one of four co-hosts on MSNBC’s new daytime show The Cycle."

    Another pliable youngster in an unearned position with high visibility and a cushy lifestyle she probably wouldn't want to jeopardize.

    1. We look forward to Bob's future coverage of this looker who got what she never earned.

  5. The people writing her copy are young and irresponsible. They are just trying to fill air time and create a story where there isn't one.

    1. Many of their cousins will now get gainful employment here as trolls trying to discredit our national treasure. They will, no doubt, be just as shrill and space wasting as the apologists for Maddow.

    2. Even a Maddow mention can't generate interest in Ball.

  6. Obama didn't "get a pass" on his house purchase here in Chicago. The papers and the TV and the opinionmongers were all over it for years. No wrongdoing was ever found. That was because no wrongdoing had occurred. It just "looked" bad.


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