Part 4—No ostrich left behind: "Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers [sic] brought forth on this continent a new nation..."
We believe Abraham Lincoln said that.
"About 70,000 years ago, Sapiens from East Africa spread into the Arabian peninsula, and from there they quickly overran the entire Eurasian landmass."
Yuval Noah Harari said that. He said it in his widely-acclaimed 2011 best-seller, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.
By "Sapiens," Harari meant member of our widely-acclaimed and thus self-impressed species, Homo sapiens. According to Harari, chance mutations to our pre-existing "massive brain" gave our ancestors important new capabilities—the ability to "gossip," and the ability to create, believe and affirm highly potent group "fictions."
These emergent capabilities let our ancestors drive all other human species into extinction. Or so Harari says.
Homo erectus got wiped out. So did the Neanderthals. Today, we're left with Anderson Cooper, appearing on CNN last night beneath this pitiful chyron:
RICHES TO (OSTRICH) RAGS STORYSad! But that's the chyron CNN aired at 8:15 PM Eastern last night, as Cooper teased his upcoming report about the Manafort trial.
After a commercial break, Cooper displayed his trademark furrowed brow, the signal that he's now pretending to be serious. When Jessica Schneider made the report, the ostrich stayed in the picture:
SCHNEIDER: [Still no transcript. Sad!]Quickly, Schneider got to the ostrich. Later, in fleeting fashion, she fleetingly mentioned the alleged crimes with which Manafort has been charged.
The ostrich is part of the entertainment; it's also part of the gossip.
According to Harari, the ability to gossip was one of the new abilities which let our species triumph long ago. Back then, it was a survival skill. Today, it's simply dumb—and it's found all over modern American journalism, wherever our sad species goes.
In 1999 and 2000, the gossip was about earth tones. The children kept it up right through election day, sending George Bush to the White House.
Today, the gossip and the fun concerns that ostrich jacket. In this morning's Washington Post, Robin Givhan offers one of the dumbest reports ever published, with the ostrich center stage.
Givhan's report is on the first page of the paper's pathetic Style section. Above it is another low-IQ report, this time about one of the stars of a 2004 teenage reality show.
Borrowing again from President Lincoln, a people willing to be this dumb is unlikely to "long endure." More likely, they'll produce a President Trump:
Who knows where it goes from there?
Go ahead—read Givhan's report. Would she be able to name the crimes of which Manafort stands acuused? There's very little sign that she could.
Instead, Givhan is dumbing the public down, in precisely the way the judge in the case is stopping prosecutors from dumbing the jurors down. In court, a judge can stop the dumbnification. But dumbnification has long been the fuel on which our press corps runs.
Does anyone in "cable news" escape the dumbnification? Sadly, evidence to the contrary only continues to mount.
Last night, Barbara McQuade discussed the trial on the Maddow Show, with Ari Melber guest hosting. Josh Gerstein appeared along with McQuade, who's a thoroughly competent "former federal prosecutor and MSNBC analyst."
Melber played the ostrich card early and often. Amazingly, McQuade specifically argued that letting the jurors see photos of the jacket wouldn't be "more prejudicial than probative."
It isn't enough to tell the jurors how much money Manafort was spending. By this theory, you have to show them photos of the items which were purchased.
The slowest of all pre-Neanderthals would have snorted at this idea But all three players—Melber, Gerstein and McQuade—pimped this silly idea, since this is what "cable news" does.
How does a photo of the ostrich jacket support the government's charges? And by the way-—amid all the enjoyable joking, to what extent have you even seen anyone explain what those charges are?
On cable news, on page one of Style, such things aren't at issue. These orgs exist to entertain, and they exist to spread gossip around.
The children are having lots of fun discussing the ostrich jacket. Heads have been buried for many years as to where this amusement is leading.
In 1999 and 2000, they amused themselves, and propagandized us, with the irrelevant earth tones. As late as July 29, 2007, the New York Times was still posting formal corrections of new misstatements about the tones. It was now almost eight years later. Their gossip never dies!
Long before that, people had died all over the world because of that these apes had done. But nothing stops them from their clowning when the next opportunity knocks.
Harai stresses the fact that we're "humans" and "animals." On a few occasions, he even lowers the boom, describing as one branch of the "genus of apes."
Seventy thousand years have passed since the chance mutations on which Harari places so much stress. At that time, we started to gossip, the gentleman says.
Next week, we'll examine what Natasha Bertrand wrote as we explore our big-brained species' "information aversion." Tomorrow, the rarest of all events at this site:
Mika Brzezinski gets it right! Indeed, on this morning's Morning Joe, she got it very right!