It was all downhill from there: Oof! We refer you to page A3 in this morning's New York Times.
As anthropologists will understand, the downward spiral which led us to Mister Trump's War confronts us on that page. Sadly, no link is available.
That said, we haven't changed a single word. Here's what the text really says:
The ConversationNo, seriously—that's what it says! News of this debate among a passionate group of beauty vbloggers was the most read article yesterday across the entire sweep of the New York Times on line!
FIVE OF THE MOST READ, SHARED AND DISCUSSED POSTS FROM ACROSS NYTIMES.COM
1. James Charles, From 'CoverBoy' to Canceled
In 2016, James Charles became CoverGirl's first male face. It was all up from there—a merchandise line, millions of followers, the Met Gala. Then, with a single YouTube video, it all came crashing down. Mr. Charles is now at the center of an ongoing debate about betrayal among a passionate group of beauty vbloggers. New of that conflict made for Wednesday's most read article.
Let's start with a bit of fairness. The breaking news seems to reflect on the readership of the New York Times, not on the Times itself.
Presumably, this is the "most read" article to which that passage refers. The New York Times doesn't seem to regard it as an especially significant report.
In today's hard copy editions, the most read article appears at the bottom of page D1. That's the first page of the paper's ThursdayStyles section.
A serious person might scold the Times for spending any time on this world-class bullshit at all. But it seems to be us the people who turned this stupenagel news report into the global super-phenomenon it has apparently come to be. That doesn't seem to have been the principal doing, or the fault, of the Hamptons-based Times itself.
In fairness, fuller disclosure! As it turns out, Mr. Charles isn't simply at the center of a debate among a group of beauty vbloggers. As Valeriya Safronova explains in her seminal news report, a much wider group of future victims of Mister Trump's War is involved in this passionate pigpile:
SAFRONOVA (5/16/19): Mr. Charles is now at the center of an ongoing debate about betrayal among a passionate group of beauty vloggers, bona fide celebrities and the meme-makers of TikTok. He has lost about three million followers on YouTube; Miley Cyrus, Shawn Mendes and Kylie Jenner have all unfollowed him on Instagram.As you can see, the actual sweep of this debate has been edited down on A3.
It isn't just the beauty vbloggers; bona fide celebrities and the meme-makers of TikTok are involved in this folderol too! As she continues, Safronova describes the world within which this important discussion plays out:
SAFRONOVA: The beauty-influencer world is one in which interpersonal conflicts often play out in videos posted across YouTube channels, with players flinging accusations at each other or apologizing in 15-minute monologues to their fans. The rumor mill they spin into existence is bolstered by coverage from “drama channels,” YouTube accounts that keep track of the gossip and “expose” the wrongdoings of various local celebrities.The rumor mill the influencers spin into existence is bolstered by coverage from “drama channels," while others keep track of the gossip?
To a sufficiently skilled anthropologist, that description may sound a bit like the way modern "cable news" works! Or so we were told last night, in a visit from a spokesperson for Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves (TM), scholars who report to us from the years beyond Mister Trump's Bullsh*t-Ending War.
For now, let's set that slander against cable news to the side. Instead, let's consider the fact that this news report was "Wednesday's most read article" across all of NYTimes.com.
An anthropologist might want to say that this tells us something about the mental traits of our self-impressed species, Homo sapiens. It might even remind us of something that happened long ago, during the journalistic era future anthropologists now discuss under a depressing rubric, The Rise of Leadership Down.
It was April 1990. Three years earlier, journalists had hid in the bushes late one night, wondering if Democratic front-runner Gary Hart might have a girl friend who wasn't his actual wife.
Their intrepid journalism ended Candidate Hart. In the end, Candidate Bush went to the White House, but only after Bernie Shaw mugged Candidate Dukakis with an ugly general election debate question about the imagined rape and murder of his wife—a question Shaw's female co-panelists had begged him not to ask.
According to future anthropologists, these bits of behavior help us describe the actual mental hygiene of the human animal. These anthropologists note that the insipid love of "gossip" and potent group "fictions" will often characterize the mental world of such influencers as upper-end journalists, along with the somewhat easily influenced rank and file as well.
At any rate, it was April 1990. It had been three long years since Candidate Hart had been taken down.
Upper-end "journalists" had perhaps become bored, or so these future anthropologists are willing to speculate. Along came media star Diane Sawyer, eager to liven things up.
Howard Kurtz did the report for the Washington Post. Current on-line headline included, his report started like this:
KURTZ (4/20/90): MARLA 'I LOVE HIM'Was sex with The Donald the best Maples ever had? During this high-profile "blonde-on-blonde interview," the actress somewhat sanely demurred when the ridiculous journalist asked.
After two months of silence amid the deafening roar of Trump-o-mania, Marla Maples took to the airwaves [last] night to declare that she still loves Donald Trump but that "I'm not the reason for that marriage having problems."
In a blonde-on-blonde interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC's "PrimeTime Live," Maples, 26, speaking in a soft, breathy voice punctuated by nervous laughter, skirted most questions about her internationally rumored affair with The Donald, citing "pending litigation" from his wife, Ivana.
But the actress from Dalton, Ga., left little doubt about the once-intimate nature of their relationship, which Trump is said to have ended a few weeks ago, although Maples said she was in Guatemala at the time. When Sawyer popped the $5 billion question—You still love him?—Maples said, "You know, I, I can't lie about it. Oh, I do." She answered the same way when Sawyer asked if it had been a romance, saying, "I do love him."
There were no torrid, BEST-SEX-I-EVER-HAD revelations—in fact, Maples refused to answer Sawyer's BEST-SEX question, but called the quote attributed to her by a friend "an absolute, total lie." She also ducked when asked if she wanted to marry the Queens-born billionaire...
Indeed, it was Sawyer's role in this big pile of moral and mental trash to which the future anthropologist pointed last night. "Here again," this future scholar told us, "we see the type of conduct now widely known in the future as The Rise of Leadership Down."
Let's offer some background here. Sawyer had gone to one of the finest schools. She'd already married the respected director when she popped the question to Maples.
While Maples was only 26, Sawyer was 44. Six years earlier, she had become the first female correspondent on 60 Minutes, one of the nation's most respected news programs. She was representing the upper-end "press corps" when she popped that insultingly stupid question to Maples.
Anthropologically speaking, Sawyer was thereby helping define the values which would define the parameters of American discourse when she plopped down with Maples that night.
As such, "This is the essence of 'leadership down,' " or so we were told last night by the future scholar to whom we refer. Indeed, the blinding stupidity of Sawyer's conduct that night virtually defines The Rise of Leadership Down.
Please understand! Sawyer's guild was flailing in a wide array of ways during the era in question.
By 1994, "young Americans believe[d] they ha[d] a better chance at seeing UFOs than Social Security checks made out to them when they retire," according to a poll released by a youth advocacy group.
Assuming the poll was on the level, this belief had largely been fueled by the inability of people like Sawyer to explain the way that venerable program worked. Anthropologically speaking, these journalists enjoyed life in the nation's underwear drawers, but were bored, and perhaps a bit overwhelmed, by questions about major matters of substance.
During 1995 and 1996, Sawyer and other celebrities exactly like her were completely unable to explain the basic logic of Newt Gingrich's Medicare proposal.
Was the GOP proposing "Medicare cuts," or was it simply reducing the rate at which the program would grow? People like Sawyer were baffled by this. Their inability to handle that question continued for several years.
Within a few years, loud shouters like cable's Chris Matthews were filling the void with deranged assessments of topics like Hillary Clinton's disturbing behavior on bunny ski slopes and the deeply troubling number of buttons on Candidate Gore's suit jackets.
This was the gruesome era known in the future for The Rise of Leadership Down. Tomorrow, we'll start with Sawyer's interviews with Candidate Gore in 1999 and with Candidate Clinton in 2014.
At any rate, "There was no avoiding Mister Trump's War," one future scholar told us last night. "It was anthropology all the way down, as Sawyer's past conduct makes clear."
By 1990, the rewards for that kind of journalism were simply too damn high. Or so this future scholar said as she returned to the future caves in which her colleagues huddle.
Tomorrow: A truly amazing story! Could it be that The Rise of Leadership Down started with Muskie's lost tears?