One last intriguing account of What Harris/Barr Said: "Mommy, where do embellished facts come from?"
In this media-savvy modern world, 6-year-old children now ask that question pretty much every day of the week.
According to academic research, mothers are confronted with that awkward question a full 63 percent of the time. According to one study, fathers will more often be "working" in the garage, or they'll be off at the bar "with the boys."
Whatever! Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves, the association of disconsolate scholars who report to us from the eons which lie beyond Mister Trump's Post-Rational War, have told us where our species' endless assortment of embellished facts come or came from.
"Embellished facts? They came from us the so-called humans," these scholars have repeatedly said.
As humans, we were always wired to embellish claims about The Others, these future academics have told us. We instinctively did this in the course of inventing the potent group "fictions" to which Professor Harari referred in the best-selling book which was endorsed and blurbed by Bill Gates and Obama.
According to these future savants, we humans were always wired to work that way. Consider what Rachel said this past Friday night, they told us over the weekend.
The "Rachel" to whom they referred was of course Rachel Maddow. Last Friday evening, she interviewed James Baker, who served as general counsel in James Comey's FBI.
At one point, Maddow asked Baker to comment on Kamala Harris' now-famous Q-and-A with William Barr. We discussed Harris' widely cited question last week. Here's the way Maddow described it:
MADDOW (5/10/19): There was an awkward moment last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee when Senator Kamala Harris of California was asking questions of Attorney General Barr.According to Maddow, this is what happened:
And she asked if the president or the White House had ever put pressure on the Justice Department, put pressure on the attorney general, to initiate an investigation...against one of the president's enemies for legal purposes. And Attorney General Barr wouldn't answer directly.
Harris asked Barr if President Trump (or "the White House") "ever put pressure on [Barr] to initiate an investigation against one of the president's enemies.
According to Maddow, that's what Harris asked Barr. Also according to Maddow, here's the way Barr responded:
"Barr wouldn't answer directly," Maddow said.
You'll note that Maddow embellished the actual language of Harris' actual question. As we showed you several times last week, here is the actual (four-part) question Harris actually asked:
"Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?"
Maddow made matters more dramatic by amping "asked or suggested" up to "pressured." This made it seem even more amazing when we were told that Barr "wouldn't answer directly."
Maddow made Harris' question more dramatic. Meanwhile, how about her latest account of Barr's response? Is it really true that he "wouldn't answer directly?"
We'd call that claim perhaps a bit embellished too! As we showed you several times last week, Barr said this at one point:
"They have not asked me to open an investigation, but—"
At that point, Harris interrupted Barr, as such people often do. But didn't that statement by Barr seem like a bit of a direct answer? And as the exchange continued directly, Barr also said this:
HARRIS: Perhaps they have suggested?At that point, Barr was interrupted again. One week later, Maddow was saying that he'd been asked a more dramatic question, and that he'd failed to answer directly.
BARR: I don't know. I wouldn't say suggest—
Last Friday, several future anthropologists were struck by the way Maddow extended the process they describe as "tribal embellishment practice" in their official cave paintings.
We humans always behaved this way, they later sadly told us. This is the way the more "red-asped" of us humans routinely behaved on the way to the latest of our endless tribal wars.
Did Donald J. Trump ever ask Barr to open an investigation? It almost seemed that Barr said no—but Harris, a skilled politician, was careful "not to ask him directly." Or at least, so these occasionally whimsical future scholars have said.
After that, along came Maddow! In our view, she embellished other matters as she spoke with Baker last Friday night—but then, what else is new on this cult of personality-driven, corporate cable TV show?
Embellishment was an instinct bred in the bone. The instinct prevailed in every tribe. Members of all human tribes were instinctively inclined to cheer such conduct on.
This is one of the instinctive ways we ended up with Mister Trump's War. Or at least, so a disconsolate gang of despondent scholars have somewhat despairingly said.
This just in: Future Rhetoricians of Limited Reach have weighed in with some thoughts about Harris' ballyhooed questioning procedure. According to this widely-ignored rag-tag band, Harris should have said this:
"Has President Trump ever asked you to open an investigation?"
Her first question should have stopped right there, these experts have hotly insisted. After waiting for Barr to answer, she could have moved to her next (non-compound) question.
"Compound questions were often a skillful dodge," one of these analysts scornfully said. With a genuine edge in her voice, she spoke to us from the future.