Our lack of intellectual hygiene is striking!

MONDAY, JULY 15, 2019

Sleazy rumors, plus Law and Order's billionaire perv:
For us, yesterday's most remarkable paragraph is the one shown below.

It was written by Andi Zeisler. She was identified by the Washington Post as "the co-founder of Bitch Media."

For reasons which define a serious problem, the Post published a brain-dead essay by Zeisler in yesterday's Outlook section. This was part of the fun:
ZEISLER (7/14/19): Those familiar with Epstein’s social notoriety—he hosted celebrity-packed parties at his Manhattan townhouse, and his private Caribbean island, Little St. James, was informally known as “Orgy Island”—know that both Trump and Clinton are long rumored to have benefited from his sleazy largesse. Gawker began covering Epstein as early as 2006 in part because of his ties to Clinton, regularly referring to him as a “billionaire Bill Clinton pal.” Vicky Ward, who wrote a 2003 Vanity Fair profile of Epstein, has said that Graydon Carter, then editor of the magazine, assigned the profile because Clinton’s trip to Africa aboard the Lolita Express had sparked curiosity about the wealthy financier’s murky background. And a 2011 episode of “Law and Order: SVU” titled “Flight” earned its ripped-from-the-headlines bona fides with a lead character known for being both a “billionaire pervert flying in underage girls for sex” and the buddy of “a former president.”
That was paragraph 6 of an essay in Outlook. It defines a problem which is intellectual and moral, but anthropological too.

The key words in that passage begin with these: "long rumored." Other key words in that passage include these: "Orgy Island" and "Lolita Express."

Also, don't miss the reference to something that Law and Order: SVU once so excitingly did. The exciting TV show aired an episode about a billionaire pervert!

"Orgy Island" and "Lolita Express" were included to get you excited. "Rumored" is there because our species is simply too dumb for this game.

Those words define the way the minds of life forms like Zeisler work. The fact that the Post would publish this dreck defines an existential problem.

The same problem appeared two days earlier in a rancid though typical essay by New York magazine's Frank Rich. As with Zeisler, so with Rich—the grimy old "Butcher of Broadway" was modeling the idea that rumors should be spread about Trump and Clinton both, with total disdain for real facts:
RICH (7/12/19): If you watch Fox News, you will believe that Bill Clinton was Epstein’s No. 1 pal and enabler. If you watch MSNBC, this scandal is usually all about Trump. In fact both presidents are guilty (at the very least) of giving Epstein cover and credibility, though the full extent of their respective exposure, moral and legal, won’t be known unless and until we get many more facts. Certainly the circumstantial evidence is creepy. Unsurprisingly Trump now asserts that he’s “not a fan” of Epstein even though their years-long friendship is profusely documented as far back as the early 1990s, when they were the sole men present at a 1992 “calendar girl competition” that Trump instigated at Mar-a-Lago and where more than two dozen “girls” were flown in. Clinton also appears to be trying to rewrite history. This week he released a statement saying that he had taken just four “trips” on Epstein’s jet even though FAA-mandated flight logs reportedly show that he was present on more than two dozen. In a letter written to prosecutors by two Epstein lawyers, Gerald Lefcourt and the inevitable Alan Dershowitz, in 2007, Epstein was named as a founding donor to the Clinton Global Initiative even though, as Marc Fisher reported in the Washington Post, “his name does not appear in public documents detailing the initiative’s leadership.”...
"The circumstantial evidence is creepy," the creepy fellow says. He has just constructed a sentence which starts with the words "In fact" and ends with the claim that we need to get the facts!

As he proceeds, Rich does the sort of thing he always has done—he toys with chronologies to hand you creepy insinuations about Clinton. Consider some typical examples of sleazy insinuations by Rich:

"In 2007, Epstein was named as a founding donor to the Clinton Global Initiative?"

As Rich notes, Epstein was so "named" in a letter written by Epstein's attorneys! They wrote the letter to federal prosecutors as a character reference as Epstein was on the verge of going down.

There is no particular reason to believe that the claim is accurate in any serious way. With that in mind, there's no reason to find it odd that Epstein's name "does not appear in public documents detailing the initiative’s leadership.” Rich just wants to hand you a thrill through one of his endless manufactured contradictions.

Meanwhile, how about that amazing conflict about the number of trips on Epstein's plane? Rich pretends to be wetting his pants about the way Clinton "appears to be trying to rewrite history" with regard to the number of trips.

In fact, by the time Rich's essay appeared, this contradiction had been explained about ten million times. Clinton claims to have taken four long-distance trips on the Epstein's plane, all long before Epstein's legal problems surfaced. The two dozen entries on the flight logs represent the various legs of those four lengthy trips—or so a million people had said or suggested by the time Rich's essay appeared, with that apparent or possible explanation disappeared.

For reasons Bandy X. Lee might want to explore, Rich has always been like this. For our money, the guild's recent exercise in sliming got its start with one slippery, slimy paragraph in this Michelle Goldberg column. There's only one word for that paragraph:


In the end, this is what humans are like. In this age of Clinton/Gore/Clinton, this is what upper-end humans have been like all along.

We know of no evidence that Clinton engaged in deviant behavior with Epstein. Certainly, Zeisler and Rich weren't able to offer any. So they did the best they could.

People like Rich are sadly deranged, and the Washington Post has slid to the point where it decided to publish Zeisler's excited recollections of various rumors she's heard. These are the rules by which the last thirty years have been played. These rules have led us to President Trump—a sick-seeming person, like Rich.

Various things have been rumored! This is something the Washington Post very much wants you to know.

Also, Law and Order: SVU did an episode about a billionaire pervert! And the billionaire pervert was a "buddy" to a former president!

This is the stifling culture of rumor, excitement and sexual thrill. It's the mental world of our "human race" in these, its last few days.


  1. The only thing wrong with this essay is that Somerby blames a whole lot more people than the authors for their underhanded attack on Clinton. He attributes this crap to the whole human race, ultimately, which includes you and I presumably, and I for one won't take responsibility for what these political operatives posing as journalists have written.

    When Somerby enlarges responsibility from the individuals (and their editors and newspapers or magazines), he dilutes that responsibility and excuses the behavior, almost as if he were saying "humans will be humans" and "there's no point in expecting anything better, since these are humans involved here." This is bad behavior and it deserves to be complained about.

    Whenever I read one of the these articles by Somerby, I wonder if he spent any time writing and complaining to the papers about them. I wonder if he sent a copy of this article to the writers, their editors and their papers. Odds on, he didn't. Because that's what people are like? No, because that's what Somerby is like.

  2. Well, 4 long-distance trips equal to a couple of dozen short and/or medium-distance trips seem like quite a big scandal. Mr Rich's many a jounalistic flaw notwithstanding.

    Any thoughts from this angle, dear Bob? Or does your 'human' condition prevent you from having any?

  3. Trump knew in 2002 that Epstein liked his girls on the young side. And at that point, the two had known each other for quite some time. How many other members of the elite knew as well?

    1. If someone you know is engaged in illegal behavior, do you keep hanging around with him? If he is doing something that harms children, shouldn't you call the cops?

      There is no situation where you can know about this behavior and do nothing about it. This has nothing to do with money or being elite. It has to do with thinking about underage girls as children instead of objects of male pleasure. It is why Trump is a misogynist and sexist, not just a liar and crook. It takes a certain kind of person to look away and do nothing. Trump is that guy -- we know that from his own words.

      Bill Clinton did not party with Epstein. Nor did Hillary engage in pedophilia in a pizza parlor basement. These right wing ugly smears need to be contested, not just laughed at.

    2. " It is why Trump is a misogynist and sexist, not just a liar and crook. It takes a certain kind of person to look away and do nothing. Trump is that guy -- we know that from his own words."

      The Trump you allude to here is Donald J. Trump, right? The one with the 96% approval rating from Republicans?
      If so, you shouldn't point that out, because concern trolls say that only makes Trump a shoo-in for re-election.
      I, OTOH, like to remind each and every Right-winger that Trump, the misogynist, sexist, lying crook is the living embodiment of being a true Conservative.

  4. There is no way Republican politicians are going to call out Trump for his racist statements. The risk of offending Republican voters by doing so is too strong.
    They may be cowards, but they understand bigotry gets Republican voters to the polls. BTW, so does the media, but they're paid to pretend it isn't so.

  5. "There is no particular reason to believe that the claim is accurate in any serious way"

    Is there really any doubt that the fella is a member of your zombie cult, dear Bob? If you think there is, you're sadly deluded. Perhaps not 'founding donor' per se, but a donor for sure. He's one of you, dear Bob; there's no way around it.

    Y'know, this reminds me: I was in London a few weeks ago, and saw Mamet's play Bitter Wheat. It's good. You need to see it too, dear Bob.

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