Part 3—Idiocrats always believe they can tell: In line with Plato's iconic analysis, have we tumbled through five levels of the world? Have we been hurled all the way down to life in an idiocracy?
To an idiocracy triggered, perhaps, by elite exposure to lead?
The evidence continues to mount! In this morning's New York Times, we seem to be told that the most read "story" across yesterday's nytimes.com was an opinion column in which a 97-year-old man argued that we should try to do something we all know can't possibly be done.
That seems to have the most read "story." Our sense of horror only deepened as we then encountered this:
The ConversationTo its credit, the Times continues to post embarrassing reports about its own subscribers. To wit:
FOUR OF THE MOST READ, SHARED AND DISCUSSED POSTS FROM ACROSS NYTIMES.COM
2. How Stormy Daniels Out-Trumped Trump
The day's second most-read story came from the Culture desk, where the television critic James Poniewozik assessed the "60 Minutes" interview given by the porn actress. Three of the top five reads on Tuesday concerned Ms. Daniels.
The deranged suggestion from the 97-year-old man seems to have been the "story" Times subscribers doted on most. After that, it was pretty much all Stephanie Clifford. It was The Sex, but also The Chase, pretty much all the way down!
To its credit, the Times keeps printing these exposes about its flailing subscribers. On the other hand, the Times comes out quite poorly itself in this latest report.
Good lord! Poniewozik's "story" about Clifford's interview came from the Times' "Culture desk!" According to an array of international experts, this bears the scent of idiocracy, perhaps resulting from lead.
Now we'll make an admission. Yesterday morning, an almost Sartrean nausea kept us from reading Poniewozik's "Culture desk" "story."
We first became nauseous on Monday night as we flipped through the "cable news" dial.
Rather quickly, we felt we had to turn cable off. We kept encountering displays like the one shown below, live from Anderson's Playpen.
We may have endured fifteen seconds of this. We'll highlight remarks from the brilliant barister who's now being hailed as a genius:
AVENATTI (3/26/18): Let's talk about Michael Cohen, what kind of man this is. This is the kind of guy who claimed in connection with that story that there's no such thing as spousal rape. This is a legal genius.There's little doubt that Michael Cohen may perhaps seem like a bit of a "thug," or may sometimes seem to be perhaps somewhat thug-like.
AVENATTI: Right. Completely false. The guy doesn't even know the law. He's a thug.
SCHWARTZ: Right, right.
AVENATTI: Your friend is a thug.
SCHWARTZ: Well, thank you. That's a million dollars, a million dollars, a million dollars.
AVENATTI: Thug. Thug.
SCHWARTZ: You know what? You're a thug.
AVENATTI: Thug, thug. He's a thug. If he was here, I would tell it to his face.
SCHWARTZ: By the way, by the way you're doctored—you doctored your lie detector test, OK? No galvanic skin response. No, I got to say this, no galvanic skin response—
SCHWARTZ: —no arm band. By the way, the photo's doctored.
That said, in which of Professor Turley's classes did his student acquire those skills? So one of our analysts sadly asked, as our panel of experts soberly told us this:
"That has the plain look of idiocracy. Idiocracy all the way down."
Nauseated by these widespread behaviors, we took a pass, the following morning, on Poniewozik's "Culture desk" story. With the help of our Starbucks barista/therapist, we felt strong enough to read it today.
Same old story, we thoughtfully said. Let's break this foolishness down.
Way back in 2006, Donald J. Trump and Stephanie Clifford did, or possibly even did not, have sex, on at most one occasion.
We don't have the slightest idea why anyone would care about that at this point. Indeed, the idiocrats, to a person, seem to say that they don't care about that.
Who cares about that? they thoughtfully say. They don't care about The Sex. They care about The Threat.
The Threat, of course, bears a special status; it's only an alleged threat. That means we don't know if it happened.
No one knows if this alleged threat actually occurred. But all across the current dial, the children are doing exactly what their counterparts have done in the past:
The children very much want to keep discussing The Sex! For that reason, the children keep finding ways to let them believe the accuser.
In the current circumstance, they get to talk about The Sex because of the claim about The Threat. For this reason, the children have set off on their latest stampede, in which they work to obscure a blindingly obvious fact:
Stephanie Clifford may be lying about The Threat!
Is she lying about The Threat? We have no way of knowing. But it's The Threat which currently keeps her thrilling story alive, helping the children maintain The Chase. And to state the blindingly obvious, yes—yes, she could be lying.
Yes, she actually could be lying! Consider some points you were barely permitted to ponder in yesterday's Washington Post.
Berman and Sellers produced a bottom-of-page 4 news report in the wake of Sunday evening's session in Anderson's Playpen. Early on, they described Clifford's claim that she was physically threatened as a "revelation," idiocratically failing to see that an allegation only becomes a "revelation" if it's known to be true.
Within an idiocracy, journalism functions that way. The simplest distinctions known to the race are beyond the reach of the journalists.
The scribes had stumbled right out of the gate. For the record, the headline said this:
After Daniels's TV interview, Trump associate denies account of threatsThat was "threats," in the plural. Don't ask. At any rate:
Michael Cohen's attorney had said there had been no threats. Making a long, stupid story short, we come to paragraphs 15-17, where a close associate of Daniels finally says this:
BERMAN AND SELLERS (3/27/18): Randy Spears, an old friend of Daniels’s who performed with her in many Wicked Pictures productions and helped her sell her story to Bauer Publishing, InTouch’s owner, in 2011, said she never told him about the Las Vegas threat described on “60 Minutes.”Spears could be wrong about all of that, of course. That said, there's no sign that Clifford mentioned the alleged physical threat to anyone back in the day, when it's alleged to have happened.
“It could have happened and I just wasn’t privy to it,” said Spears, whose real name is Greg Deuschle.
Spears said he doubts Daniels has more evidence to produce, recalling how eager they were to substantiate the interview when it was quashed in 2011. “That would have been the perfect time to say ‘I have some texts, photos’,” Spears recalled. “She would have produced it.”
That doesn't mean that that it didn't occur. It helps us understand that it might not have happened, unless we [HEART] those accusers so much that nothing will ever let us see that this treasured claim might be invented.
Was Stephanie Clifford physically threatened? Like you, like all the children, we have no way of knowing. We do know that, in print editions, the Berman-Sellers news report closed with a wonderful irony.
The children don't want heroic Clifford "silenced." That said, who's zoomin' who?:
BERMAN AND SELLERS: After the Wall Street Journal broke the news of the $130,000 payment and agreement in a January 2018 report, Cohen released a statement bearing Daniels’s signature that denied the affair and the settlement report. Another signed statement was released before Daniels appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”Wonderful clownistry! Even as the children moan about the "silencing" of Clifford, Clifford continues to silence her former attorney! She won't let him say that some of what she's currently saying is—what's the word—untrue!
Daniels said on “60 Minutes” that these denials were untrue but that she signed them “because they made it sound like I had no choice.” However, she did not elaborate on whether the “they” meant Cohen or her own representatives at the time. When the second statement was released, a representative for Daniels, Gina Rodriguez, told The Washington Post that it was signed in front of her and Keith Davidson, Daniels’s then-attorney.
Davidson, now Daniels’s former attorney, said in a statement that he could not speak publicly until Daniels waived attorney-client privilege, but that he looked forward to correcting the record soon.
“I am not at liberty at this time to respond in a point-by-point fashion,” he said. “Suffice to say, I do not believe that the assertions in Ms. Daniels’ ‘60 Minutes’ interview represents a fair and accurate description of the situation.”
He isn't asking for any money. He just wants the right to speak.
Was Stephanie Clifford physically threatened in 2011? Has she ever been threatened at all?
(If she was so frightened in 2011, why was she trying to sell her story again, this time to Slate, in 2016? These are the types of question Anderson forgot to ask!)
Like you, like all the stampeding children, we have no way of knowing the answers to these basic questions. Unlike our stampeding journalists, we don't believe patheticisms like this:
LAWRENCE (3/26/18): Jennifer, I want to get your reaction to what you saw on 60 Minutes last night, and are you in the 62 percent who believe Stormy Daniels perhaps? And where do you think we are in this story now?Was it evident to everyone that Clifford was telling the truth? We think Trump is deeply disordered and profoundly dangerous, and it wasn't evident to us at all!
RUBIN: Yeah, I'm definitely in the 62 percent!
Listen, I admire her as a woman who made her life in film, but I don't think she's that good an actress.
I think it's very hard to come across as she did, with the inflection, with the body language. You know when someone is telling you something that's true, and I think that was evident to most everyone who was watching, with the exception of the real Kool-Aid drinkers of Donald Trump.
According to Rubin, "You know when someone is telling you something that's true!" Essentially, everyone from Poniewozik and Paskin on down has been sifting and selecting the facts and the logic to advance that basic impression:
Heroically, Clifford is telling the truth! The children are able to tell!
Clifford may be telling the truth, but she could also be lying. Having made this obvious statement, we'll add this:
We're so old that we can remember an earlier time, when an idiocratic stampede much like this one took off.
The press corps [HEART] accusers! Way back then, they all could tell that the new accuser, NAME WITHHELD, was wonderfully telling them things that were true!
They stood in line to swear on Bibles that this new well-dressed accuser was being masterfully truthful. They stood in line to say they could tell. Rubin joined that same line on Monday night, speaking to glorious Lawrence.
Way back when, with that other accuser, the children got burned very badly. That's why this early sign of idiocracy has been thoroughly disappeared.
You aren't allowed to know it happened. Tomorrow, we plan to refresh you.
Tomorrow: NAME WITHHELD was telling the truth. To a person, the children could tell!