DOWNWARD SPIRAL: Script never dies!


Part 2—Clinton creates a script:
Live and direct from Little Rock, Gene Lyons wrote a column last week about those Confederate statues.

We'd say his column is well worth reading. The column starts like this:

"If your precious 'Southern heritage' includes swastikas, you may as well quit reading right here. But odds are astronomically high that it doesn't."

We'd say the column is well worth reading. For various reasons, we wondered what sorts of comments it would draw.

Did we even have to ask? It drew some familiar old script.

Amazingly but not amazingly, one dull-witted reader of Lyons' column quickly began discussing pathetic Al Gore. This reader was armed with tired old script, live and direct from the two-year war which sent George Bush to the White House.

In the main, this two-year war was waged by the mainstream press, not by the right-wing machine. It was largely staged by the East Coast Irish Catholic mafia which seemed to be marching, in large degree, to the tune of Jack Welch, at the time the benevolent CEO in charge on NBC News.

That war was waged by Matthews, by Dowd, by Williams; by (Margaret) Carlson, Russert and Kelly, though also by Connolly and Seelye—by good mainstream names like those. In fact, this idiot war was conducted almost entirely through script, including such script points as these:
Scripted claims from long ago:
Al Gore said he invented the Internet!
Al Gore grew up in a fancy hotel!
Al Gore grew up in a fancy hotel? When they wanted to flirt with open lying, they even said he grew up at the Ritz!

But through those scripts, and through many others, the destructive war against Gore was waged. It's the war which sent George W. Bush to the White House, and thus sent the U.S. to Iraq.

People are dead all over the world because those fine old names conducted that two-year war by peddling those stupid sad scripts.

Everyone from Drum on down has agreed to pretend that this never occurred, and therefore that it bore no connection to what happened in last year's campaign. But as we've told you for many years, stupid sad script never dies.

Dumb silly scripts gets lodged in ours heads, and we humans do love to recite! For that reason, the comment thread to Lyons' column quickly featured the claims we've posted—silly sad claims from long ago, about someone who hadn't even been mentioned in Lyons' column.

Simply put, script never dies, no matter how silly or bogus! And now, Hillary Clinton has decided to create another such pleasing script.

Sad! More and more and more and more, our liberal tribe has reacted to the pimping of script by denatured auteurs by deciding that we should adopt the same pleasing practice. We embellish, misstate and disappear facts in the pursuit of our partisan ends. In this way, we tell the world that we lack the skill which would let us prevail in a real public discussion.

We create our own silly scripts, which must involve matters of gender and race. That's what Hillary Clinton has done in the matter which was described in this week's Sunday Review.

Let's give credit where due! According to Nexis, the New York Times had not reported Clinton's claim in its news reporting. We'll assume this means that editors (correctly) felt that her claim, however pleasing, is rather hard to sustain.

No such silence invaded the suburbs at this week's Sunday Review. The Review turned things over to Jill Filipovic, a reliable peddler of rank tribal script. Here's her start, headline included:
FILIPOVIC (8/27/17): Donald Was a Creep. Too Bad Hillary Couldn’t Say It.

You’re walking down the street and there’s a man trailing uncomfortably close behind you. A co-worker stands a little too intimately in your personal space. There’s a stranger breathing down your neck on the subway. Each time, you do a quick mental arithmetic: Do I ignore it? Move away quickly, but without causing a scene? Say something? Yell?

“This is not O.K., I thought,” Hillary Clinton writes in her forthcoming memoir, “What Happened,” in a passage to which too many women can relate. “It was the second presidential debate, and Donald Trump was looming behind me. Two days before, the world heard him brag about groping women. Now we were on a small stage and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled.”

In excerpts from the book, which were released by “Morning Joe” on Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton revealed that in that moment, she asked herself: What do you do? “Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space?” she writes. “Or do you turn, look him in the eye, and say loudly and clearly: ‘Back up, you creep, get away from me! I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.’ ”
As noted, Filipovic is a reliable peddler of script. In this passage, she accurately quoted what Clinton says in the part of her book she chose to release on Morning Joe. (On Morning Joe! Sad.)

Filipovic quotes Clinton correctly. The New York Times includes a photo from that second Trump-Clinton debate, a photo which may, on the surface, seem to support Clinton's pleasing claim. But her pleasing claim is quite hard to sustain, if you're willing to take the time to rewatch that second debate.

Don't get us wrong! Candidate Trump engaged in a great deal of obnoxious behavior at that second debate, at which he included old sex accusers of Bill Clinton as his honored guests.

As is his wont, he made a long string of inaccurate statements. Some of these statements were baldly ridiculous, a point we'll review tomorrow.

He interrupted Clinton again and again, even after he'd been asked again and again to stop. In his most disordered moment, he decided to offer this pledge:
CANDIDATE TRUMP (10/9/16): I’ll tell you what. I didn’t think I’d say this, but I’m going to say it, and I hate to say it. But if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it, and we’re going to have a special prosecutor.

When I speak, I go out and speak, the people of this country are furious. In my opinion, the people that have been long-term workers at the FBI are furious. There has never been anything like this, where e-mails—and you get a subpoena, you get a subpoena, and after getting the subpoena, you delete 33,000 e-mails, and then you acid wash them or bleach them, as you would say, very expensive process.

So we’re going to get a special prosecutor, and we’re going to look into it, because you know what? People have been—their lives have been destroyed for doing one-fifth of what you’ve done. And it’s a disgrace. And honestly, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Poor Trump! He hadn't planned to say it, and he hated having to say it. But he was going to have a special prosecutor examine her many crimes!

("Everything he just said is absolutely false, but I’m not surprised," Clinton quickly replied.)

Candidate Trump behaved quite badly at that second debate. He made many ridiculous claims; he interrupted freely. He even promised to create a type of third-world prosecutorial state.

Candidate Trump did many things that night, but here's something he didn't do. He didn't follow Candidate Clinton closely, staring at her, making faces, no matter where she walked on the candidates' rather small stage.

He didn't literally breathe down her neck, thereby making her skin crawl. In truth, it would be a large stretch to say that he "breathed down her neck" at all.

Candidate Trump did many things that night. We liberals are being scripted to pretend that he behaved in one of the novelized ways we most enjoy discussing.

Our script premiered on Morning Joe! That said, few parts of this picture aren't embarrassing and wrong.

Tomorrow, we'll offer the tale of the tape, reviewing what Trump really did. That said, the facts will almost surely play no role in what follows from this.

Increasingly, our dying culture runs on silly, peculiar tribal script. This constitutes a major part of our nation's downward spiral.

It's as we've told you for many years. Increasingly, our dying discourse is silly script all the way down.

Tomorrow: The tale of the tape

The tale of the tape: To watch C-Span's tape of the second debate, you can just click here.

Warning! It runs ninety minutes!

The photo in the New York Times shows Clinton answering Question 5, at roughly minute 26. As you will see if you choose to watch, Trump is standing by his table and chair. It's where he's supposed to be.


  1. "It's the war which sent George W. Bush to the White House, and thus sent the U.S. to Iraq."

    Oh, paleeze. You're like Dubya, imagining that the figurehead in WH is the 'decider'. Get real, Bob.

    As for Mrs Clinton playing the victim - who cares, let her. She's got no political influence to sell anymore, so she's using whatever she still does have, to sell some books, to make a few more millions - and hey, that's the American way.

    1. What's the Russian way comrade?

  2. Greg, if that is your name, may I respectfully ask if you are somehow mentally impaired? Because if you are not, and you're right about Bob, your own ENDLESSLY repeated actions make you an idiot's idiot.

    1. In the end, it was satisfying to really get under this asshole's skin.

    2. If it's me you speak of here in your customary gutter-level diction, the idea that you "got under my skin" is a huge self-congratulatory overstatement, "Greg." Your weak, repetitive slam post is more like a fly that I finally took a second to brush away. I may bother again, and I may not. But no matter what, I know you'll keep posting it. Lame as it is, it's all you've got. Like many here, you've somehow gotten the idea that Bob should give a damn about your negative opinion, and nothing will ever shake that.

    3. I don't know if in the end it was satisfying to escape the fact ad hominem hurts or helps but it is impossible to really get under this asshole Bob Somerby's skin. Or blood. Or urine.

  3. ...Speaking of 'making faces'. If I were facing this:
    ...I know I would've been terrified.

    1. Yes, we know Mao, YOU would have been terrified...but Hillary was not (and is not). Unlike you, she's not a coward.

    2. "but Hillary was not (and is not)"

      Oh, I don't know. Are you saying she actually can look in the mirror without flinching? I doubt it.

    3. Yes, again, unlike you. Do you even see a reflection when you look in the mirror?

    4. I see that for some reason you have the burning desire to talk about humble little me, and I appreciate your devotion, but this is hardly the appropriate place to indulge in your obsession. Try to control yourself, dear.

    5. You're the one obsessed with this blog, and with Clinton, as well as your hatred of liberals. It's there for all to see.

    6. This is a blog with the comment section. I comment, a couple of times a day. I comment on the topics brought up by the blogger. You see, this is the normal behavior.

      And you write comments about me, a commenter. This is not normal.

    7. You comment 20-30 times per hour. You need to listen more and talk less.

    8. Oh, OK Mao. You can make your hateful comments about liberals, of which I am one, or your factually incorrect statements, but don't expect me not to reply occasionally. You don't have the right to have the last word, buddy.

    9. Sure, comment away, the more the merrier. I'd just prefer something more substantial and on topic, but that's your choice, obviously.

    10. "that's your choice"...Duh.

    11. Mao,
      Don't let your humbleness sell yourself short. You're a tremendous piece of shit. Keep wearing it proudly here.

    12. Now, that's just rude, Sir, and unworthy of the noble name 'Anonymous'.

    13. 12:45 PM,
      Micro-aggression alert. To the FOX News "safe space" stat!

    14. "Now, that's just rude,"

      Your use of the word "just" is not correct, because it makes it seem like it's only rude. Obviously, it's true as well, so your use of the word 'just" is incorrect in your post.

  4. Here, Somerby repeats Trump's own defense of his behavior during the debate -- that he was just trying to find and stand by his assigned chair but Hillary kept moving around.

    If you watch the video, both candidates stand by their chairs until around 26:12 when Trump moves forward toward the edge of the stage to address the audience. Next, Trump returns to his chair and Hillary moves to the edge of the stage to talk to an audience member, which places him behind her but by his chair. Next they stay by their chairs until 52:11 when Trump becomes restless and starts pacing around behind his chair, looking at the ceiling and pulling focus from Clinton in the foreground, who is again addressing the audience from the edge of the stage. At 1:28 he paces back and forth behind her in a way that appears menacing.

    Watching without sound removes some of the menacing quality because the conflict between them is less evident.

    When Trump and Clinton are both at their chairs, there is about 6 ft between them. Somerby suggests that the camera is compressing space, but the stage itself isn't that large.

    The invasion of Clinton's space occurs because Trump cannot stand still at his chair. He cannot control his body language, and he cannot control his facial expressions. Gore was criticized for sighing -- Trump was way over that kind of boundary line with his nonverbals.

    Trump was first to leave his position to address the audience directly and Clinton had every right to engage in that same behavior. He should have behaved himself while on camera behind her. She was on camera behind him frequently too, but never engaged in the same kind of mugging and restless pacing, arms crossed, glaring, etc. He did look menacing and he did it at times when that behavior underscored his remarks, at points of conflict. It was wrong and Clinton is right to feel both bullied and unfairly treated during the debate. Trump was unprofessional and if SNL hadn't mocked him, he would no doubt have gotten away with it.

    My question is why Somerby is adopting the conservative line here by excusing Trump and attacking Clinton's memoir? We don't need a so-called liberal apologist for Trump's misbehavior. There are enough people on the right doing that.

    1. Anon 12:51. That's what I saw. I even remarked to my wife that he was stalking her. Funny how Bob remembers how the press turned on Gore two days after his "debate", but missed this.

  5. If Hillary actually felt this way about Trump's behavior, how can it be a script? Maybe it waa only a 'feeling'...but she did feel that way.

  6. Trump plays games with handshakes (who lets go first), hugs, who sits & who stands, who is in front or back. Why would he not be trying to gain an advantage by diminating in physical space at this debate? Hillary felt it because he did it.

  7. My husband and I watched the debate together. At one point, while Hillary was talking, I said to my husband "What is he doing?" referring to Trump's behavior behind her. This is not something Hillary made up. We saw it happen.

    1. I know. We saw the same debate. Bob's Gore-rage blinds him to the lived reality that we saw. The other thing to note is that the C-Span feed may not be the same feed that we saw on the original broadcast. Bob has a tendency to cherry pick his references and links. He also does some creative paraphrasing from time to time. I found that out when I clicked a link to an article about that VA governor that Rachel spent months reporting on a few years ago. Bob left out some important copy and it made Rachel look a lot less honest than she was in her broadcast.
      Somerby has done good work in the past, but since Trayvon Martin, his desire to bash liberals has over taken his judgement.

    2. Specifics would make this kind of point much more convincing, especially since you're accusing Bob of distorting facts. I, for one, would love to know what you see as material that Bob purposefully left out to impugn Rachel's perceived integrity.

      I have never once seen Bob just "bash liberals." He always lays out a case that you are free to take or leave. And if Bob is right about the basis for his "Gore-rage," he is right to keep feeling it and mentioning it as long as he wants to--first because this is his blog, and he doesn't have to please anyone but himself with it, and second because if he is right about what happened to Gore and the Clintons, largely due to what should have been "friendly fire" from "liberal" sources, the implications and after-effects are almost incalculably negative and giant. If he continues to be struck anew by such facts, and it affects how he writes in his own blog, which everyone is 100% free to read or not as they see fit, I guess I have to wonder what the problem is with that.

    3. I do not see how attacking Clinton by suggesting that she is pretending to be a victim is going to help identify any problems with the mainstream media. It is just nastiness aimed at Hillary, who deserves some respect. She isn't a fitting football in whatever game Somerby has been playing here.

    4. Oh boy @3:41 pm, you've 'never once seen Bob just "bash liberals."'? He has, on many occasions, inferred from some bad example of so-called liberal behavior a general "we"-are-no-good conclusion. Take yesterday's post about Kathy Griffin, of all people. She speaks for no one but herself, and Bob sort of says 'well, we liberals aren't all culpable hem hem', but then implies that we somehow are. Somehow we must rein in "our" stars' bad behavior, as if all us 'libs' belong to some collective Borg-like entity. Ludicrous. Actually sounds like the pseudo-argument a disingenuous conservative would make. On many occasions he talks about "us" stupid, broken-souled, etc liberals, and he doesn't mean just media elites. He even cites commenters to the NY Times as bad examples of pitiful 'us.'
      I also don't believe that it was solely or even largely the responsibility of the liberal media that Gore/Clinton lost. The sea of Trump voters I live amongst never watch CNN, MSNBc, or read the NY Times. Strictly Fox and AM talk radio.
      As a final note, yes, it's Bob's blog, not mine, but I am disheartened by the tone he takes. He did such good and valuable work during the Clinton/Gore years.

    5. And @3:41 pm, Bob has the right to write his blog. And I have the right to comment on it, unless and until he disables the comments section.

    6. @5:06

      I believe the war against Gore, as Bob puts it, did play a role, and it was inexcusable. Coupled with the previous war against the Clintons, he was indeed most likely doomed by msm reporting. I recall that Chris Matthews broadcast that Gore would lick the bathroom floor to become President. When you look at the narrow margin in Florida – illegally decided by a corrupt majority of the SCOTUS, that actually went so scandalously far as to say that the decision could never be used for precedent – it’s not a far reach, and is likely true, to say that the “liberal” msm doomed Gore.


    7. @7:49-
      "We create our own silly scripts, which must involve matters of gender and race."
      - concern troll is concerned. Duly noted.

      " ... is likely true, to say that the “liberal” msm doomed Gore."
      - concern troll is concerned, Duly Noted.

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