Part 1—They wonder if anything matters: As is true on so many Saturday mornings, last Saturday morning was a morning when The Crazy continued.
Donald J. Trump was sounding off about Amazon's alleged depredations. He made a bunch of inaccurate statements, continuing a diatribe he'd started two days before.
The very next day, on Sunday morning, he offered wild tweets about DACA and NAFTA and such. Donald J. Trump was advancing The Crazy. "Is it possible that he's 'mentally ill?' " one bright analyst asked.
"Shhhh! We aren't supposed to discuss that question," her carrel-mates quickly advised her.
Donald J. Trump has been advancing The Crazy again. That said, silly, absurd, inane diatribe has been the norm in American discourse for at least three decades now.
To what extent have we all been immersed in what we've described as "Trump before Trump?" For a quick overview, consider:
By the early 1990s, a major American clergyman was selling a video about the many murders committed by Bill and Hillary Clinton. This destructive behavior produced little pushback from the mainstream or liberal worlds.
(This very morning, Jon Meacham was seen complaining, on Morning Joe, about Trump's remarks this weekend. Several analysts sadly asked, "What was he saying back then?")
Knowledge of the Clintons' murders managed to spread rather widely. The system-wide lunacy has proceeded steadily downward from there, with various elements of the society taking part in the emerging culture of lunatic tribal claimage.
In March 1999, three weeks after Clinton's impeachment trial ended, the mainstream press corps—not the right-wing noise machine—began the rolling lunatic diatribe which eventually sent George W. Bush to the White House. The culture of widespread ludicrous assertion was already firmly in place.
Barely two years after Bush's inauguration, we were at war in Iraq. In the fall of 2002, star liberal journalists has savaged the vile former Candidate Gore for the speech in which he warned that we shouldn't go there.
(Don't listen to what this vile man says, star journalist Frank Rich advised. He kept this up until Gore won the Nobel peace prize, at which time he executed an instant perfect flip. To the somnolent liberal world, this apparently seemed to make sense.)
As the years went by, this culture of lunacy grew. In 2011, Trump began to fashion himself as king of American birthers. One day after he was elected president, we American liberals—feeling that we'd spotted a problem—launched the "resistance" we've frequently used as a means of praising our hapless selves.
Our failing society is deeply sunk in the culture of crazy claimage. If it feels good, thought leaders say it! So it was that Amy Sullivan started yesterday's front-page piece in the New York Times' Sunday Review with this embarrassing passage:
SULLIVAN (4/1/18): Now that Stormy Daniels has confirmed on national television that Donald Trump initiated sex with her just months after his third wife gave birth to their child, at least half the country is asking: Surely this is a porn star too far for white evangelical Christians, right?Serving the tribe in thought, word and deed, Sullivan turned an allegation into a "confirmation." But then, it's been widely done.
Stating the obvious, Sullivan doesn't know if Trump and "Daniels" ever engaged in sex at all. She certainly doesn't know who might have "initiated" such exciting activity.
"Stormy Daniels" saying it doesn't make it true! But as the culture has devolved, even the most basic logical blocking and tackling has disappeared from upper-end journalism.
Faithful servants of the tribe keep turning Clifford's allegations or claims into "revelations" or "confirmations." We seem unable to observe even the simplest distinctions of logic and language—distinctions which are lodged in the languages our forebears somehow managed to develop over these trillions of years, despite their lack of cable news.
Our journalistic culture has been openly crazy for decades, but few of our professors or journalists have noticed. Over the past three or four decades, this emerging culture has involved crazy claims about targeted individuals, as well as crazy claims about every major policy matter our thought leaders find ways to avoid discussing, as is their Trumptastic wont.
Increasingly, leading anthropologists refer to this type of collapsed upper-end culture as an idiocracy. Flashing a bit of erudition, Andrew Sullivan (no relation) recently cited Plato's view on the matter, saying we're living in "a late-stage democracy" which threatens to "morph into tyranny."
(For Andrew Sullivan's subsequent hard-copy essay, you can just click here.)
Which philosophical framework do you prefer—that of Plato or that of Judge? For ourselves, we can teach it flat or round. We think it's correct either way.
Last Saturday morning, Donald J. Trump was pushing this culture forward. Having said that, we have to add this:
So was Kirsten West Savali on C-Span's Washington Journal.
Savali is an associate editor and senior writer at The Root, an online magazine. Originally, The Root was part of the Washington Post media empire. In 2015, it was sold to a holding of Univision and relaunched last year under a post-Gawker platform, according to the leading authority on its peregrinations through the corporate money-making world.
Savali appeared on Washington Journal to discuss the topic of "Race and Police Shootings." Later that evening, ambassadors from other galaxies insisted that her presentation, like so many others before it, "suggests that [our] society has gone a very long way down a very deep rabbit hole."
(Their hair was perfect.)
During her 35-minute C-Span appearance, Savali made an array of infelicitous claims about the topic at hand. Her various statements probably would have seemed odd, if not for the emergent culture we've described above.
As for the visitors of whom we speak, we'll offer these few words to establish some basic context:
They told us a long, remarkable story concerning their presence here. Among other revelations, they told us that the sightings Kevin Drum has been reporting have resulted when they leave our sprawling campus through a favorite wormhole.
Importantly, they also told us this:
Earthlings have sometimes imagined that advanced life-forms have been coming here to save us from various types of annihilation. "Amy Adama? She's one of ours," these unusual experts alleged, seeming to boast a bit.
In fact, these night visitors said, they've been sent to protect us from our downward tribal spiral. "Even when it comes to matters of so-called 'race,' you seem to have lost the ability to avoid this reflexive bullshit," these unusual visitors said.
"You're reaching the point where nothing matters to you except tribe," these thoughtful ambassadors said.
Over the weekend, they were triggered by Savali's appearance. They felt it was time to reveal their presence, to articulate their observations.
"For obvious reasons, so-called race is a matter of high emotion within your world," these thoughtful travelers said. "Because we come from the far side of [NAME WITHHELD], these are less emotional matters for us."
They gave us permission to pass on their other-worldly views. We'll be doing so all week.
They said they've seen it a million times if they've seen it once. All over the cosmos and what's beyond, tribal politics devolves into this.
"At this point, you can't even play it straight concerning race," these night visitors said. "Forget about Mr. Trump's nuclear war. This could lead to the end of your civilization too."
Those were some of the things they said. We decided to listen.
Tomorrow: "When we speak about black men, we cannot forget black women, particularly when we talk about unarmed encounters with police departments. Sixty percent of, according to a new study from Fatal Interactions with Police that came out of Washington State, shows that 60% of black women are unarmed and fatally shot by police officers.
"But again, as I mentioned earlier, 60% of encounters with police officers which are unarmed, in the black community, the victims are black women."
As heard on Washington Journal! Here's the question the Martians asked:
How is this not like Trump?