The human stain jumps, then spreads: To his credit, Nicholas Kristof has discovered the sky is blue.
More specifically, he has discovered a moral stain spreading from Donald J. Trump.
In the case of Trump himself, this stain has been evident for a great many years. With this morning's column, Kristof joins the collection of cable entertainers who are willing to be shocked, shocked each morning and night by the latest manifestation of this blindingly obvious fact.
Every morning and evening they're just shocked, shocked. Note to Kristof and cable entertainers:
Donald J. Trump is highly disordered. He has visibly been so throughout his life. It isn't going to change.
He's going to be highly disordered tomorrow. He's going to be highly disorderd next week. His judgments and actions won't seem to make sense. His values will seem very poor.
There's really no need to keep discovering the fact that Donald J. Trump is disordered. Reading Kristof's column today, we'll admit we began to wonder about the columnist's values too.
Kristof says a moral stain tends to spread out from a disordered person like Trump. It's also true that a moral stain may jump to those who become too deeply invested in the chase:
KRISTOF (2/15/18): Lack of integrity may also be the best way to capture the morphing scandal of the pre-election $130,000 payoff to a porn star to apparently keep quiet about an affair with Trump. It’s bad enough that Trump appears to have been cheating on Melania right after she had their baby (“Oh, don’t worry about her,” he is said to have told the actress). But with the payoff and reported cover-up, Trump is betraying all of us.God helps us. The chivalrous Kristof stands to announce that Trump shouldn't have cheated on his wife. She had recently given birth! With that paragraph, Kristof serves notice:
The desire to stick the nose in the underwear drawer never deserts These People. Isn't this precisely where this busybody journalistic era got its highly destructive start?
Yes, this is where this nonsense all started. But with everything going on in the world, this is where Kristof lands.
We had a series of oddball thoughts as we read Kristof this morning. With Oscar night approaching, we found our thoughts drifting off to Citizen Kane, and to its "Rosebud" reveal.
Why is Donald J. Trump so profoundly disordered? He has been disordered for a very long time, perhaps since childhood, when he was sent away to military school, apparently to get himself together.
How did he ever get this way? We wonder if the underwear-sniffer-in-chief has ever wondered about these possibilities:
Could Trump have been abused as a child? What makes us discount such thoughts?
We know he suffered the great misfortune of being raised by a miserable father. By way of contrast, and by all accounts, Kristof was raised by a very great man.
Has it ever entered the sniffer's head that Trump's disorders, like those of President Kennedy, may perhaps stem from the strange ways he was raised by a disordered father?
None of this would change the fact that Trump is deeply disordered, and that his presence in the Oval Office is potentially destructive and dangerous. But Kristof may be a tad disordered too, as are the people who stage our pleasing true crime drama each night on our misnamed "cable news" channels, never ceasing to be shocked shocked by whatever is said to have happened that day.
Every morning, the Morning Joe gang pretend to be shocked, shocked by the latest disorder. They kvetch and cry and compare their ratings to those of CNN.
In these ways, we see the way the stain can jump as well as spread—the way the stain can jump from the disordered man to the TV Javerts who are pretending to chase him.
Sensible people would have seen, long ago, that Trump was a deeply disordered man. We have wondered, many times, how he got that way. We're able, on this or that occasion, to step back and contemplate pity.
Whatever the answer, the current obvious question should be, What the heck should we do next? For instance, how do we make this problem apparent to those who don't see it yet?
Kristof doesn't bother with that. His nose is back in the underwear drawer. Trump was raised by a horrible person. What is the pundit's excuse?
Look what jumped out of the drawer: Kristof's column is perhaps a bit slimy in several places. For one example, consider the phrase we will highlight:
KRISTOF (2/15/18): Lack of integrity may also be the best way to capture the morphing scandal of the pre-election $130,000 payoff to a porn star to apparently keep quiet about an affair with Trump. It’s bad enough that Trump appears to have been cheating on Melania right after she had their baby (“Oh, don’t worry about her,” he is said to have told the actress). But with the payoff and reported cover-up, Trump is betraying all of us.Trump is said to have said that to Daniels? He's said to have said that by whom?
Might we say that Stormy Daniels seems like a bit of a lost soul too? She's the one who has said that our disoerdered president said that?
Kristof has no idea if it's true. So why does the sniffer retype it?
Our world is a deeply dangerous place. Invested in the stain of the chase, Kristof ignores all that to spend three paragraphs talking about Stormy Daniels!
Dearest darlings, it feels so good! In this way, the stain can jump from tribe to tribe before it continues to spread.