MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2020
"More alike than different:" Crowds were chanting, "Lock them up!" A strong man sometimes joined in.
A newspaper published a shocking report as the White House campaign neared its end. But then too, how odd:
According to a later report in a different major newspaper, the principle author of the report "refused to put his name on it"—"did not allow his byline to be used because he had concerns over the article’s credibility."
The principle author of the report didn't believe his own news report, though only if this second report is accurate!
Crowds were chanting, "Lock them up?" In this way, our species' history was coming around again.
Or so we were told by a famous time-traveler who visited us last night. We refer to Carlotta Valdes (1831-1857), who's best known from her seminal role in the Hitchcock film, Vertigo.
Vertigo was poorly reviewed, and only modestly popular, at the time of its release in 1958. For these reasons, a gang of French cineastes decided it was "the greatest film in history" and eventually got everyone else to say the exact same thing.
Last night, as crowds were chanting a very old cry, Carlotta Valdes spoke. She engineered one of the puzzling nocturnal submissions the haters refer to as dreams.
She spoke to us about those cries—but also about the New York Times' award-winning effort, The 1619 Project.
Valdes plays a key role in Vertigo. We'd always assumed that she was fictional. After a bit of a search this morning, we're no longer sure.
In the film, Carlotta seems to travel through time. She keeps seizing the soul of the Kim Novak character, who also turns out to be fictional.
Whenever Novak is seized by Valdes, she sees back through the whole of human experience. And so it seemed to be last night, when the real Valdes appeared to us and discussed these recent events.
The chanting of the crowds was easy. If only periodically, that's who we've always been, this ancient personage said.
Carlotta's remarks about the Times were much more surprising:
She said she saw a certain set of connection between the group at the New York Times and the crowds at those Trump events. "More alike than different," she somewhat dreamily said.
For the record, The 1619 Project was launched by the Times in August 2019. Beneath a photo of the Atlantic, this basic framework appeared:
The 1619 Project
In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the English colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.
One part of that passage is plainly (almost) true. Few aspects of our nation's history and culture are unconnected to the brutal racial history which got its start near Port Comfort that day.
That said, "It is finally time to tell our story truthfully?" Several questions come to mind:
Is it possible that the deeply flawed folk at the New York Times were possibly getting out over their skis in their pursuit of this somewhat unusual "project?"
Also, a thought which came to us:
Are we really sure we want these people rushing ahead, full of belief, to create a public schools curriculum for 7- and 8-year-old children?
The project has been in the news of late. At the Washington Post, Sarah Ellison offered a fascinating overview of the situation as the project's creators have scrambled to correct or clarify, or perhaps to cover up, some of its alleged flaws.
Text of the project has been changed or dropped, without notice. In the face of embarrassing contradictions, a trove of tweets by one of its creators has been disappeared.
Its creators insist that no one said some of the things they themselves rather plainly did. In short, this project, whatever its ultimate merits, has displayed some of the journalistic traits we've written about at this site for the past twenty-plus years.
In Vertigo, the Novak character gloomily relives the past when Carlotta takes control of her soul. She's seized by a sense of the suffering which has gone before.
At present, those chanting crowds are dangerous in a way the project is not. But since we discuss the press at this site, we're going to offer some ruminations about The 1619 Project during the course of the week.
Large crowds want to lock the others up. Meanwhile, the Times has been changing text, and killing tweets, in pursuit of a very good cause.
"It's all the same," she wearily said. "It's more alike than different."
Tomorrow: High speed, true belief, self-assurance