TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2021
Crazy, daft all the way down: An un-funny thing happened in Saturday's Washington Post.
We're referring to the famous newspaper's print editions. On page A2, a news report described the situation involving Haitian migrants near Del Rio, Texas. In paragraphs 5-7, this account was offered:
SONMEZ AND MIROFF (9/25/21): The deportations of Black Haitians seeking asylum—and the viral images and videos of White Border Patrol agents grabbing and shouting at them—drew sharp rebukes from Black Democrats, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Earlier in the day, Biden decried the migrants’ treatment. Agents were photographed and filmed by news crews cursing at the Haitians and attempting to force them back across the river to Mexico, at times charging with their horses and swinging their leather reins.
There has been no evidence that agents stuck [sic] any of the migrants or used “whips” as some claimed.
A peculiar claim can be seen lurking in that passage. Weirdly, Sonmez and Miroff reported that some Democrats were angry about the fact that border patrol agents had "shouted at" some of the migrants.
Some of the border patrol agents had shouted at some of the migrants! According to the news report, this shouting had drawn sharp rebukes from some Democratic pols.
That said, there had been "no evidence that agents struck any of the migrants," the Post was now reporting. Also, there had been no evidence that agents had used "whips," as some people had claimed.
There was no evidence that migrants had been struck. There was no evidence that agents had used whips.
Correction! There was no evidence of such behaviors until you turned to page A19 of those same print editions. On that page, columnist Colbert King could be found saying this:
KING (9/25/21): Who would have thought, on Inauguration Day, that a mere eight months down the road President Biden would be faced with: a Haitian migrant crisis on the southern border; schisms in his party that threaten his plans to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and improve health, education and safety-net programs; a rupture with the French over a new U.S.-Australia defense pact...
The United States’ relations with France will endure. However, in the handling of Haitian migrants, the administration is coming across as its own worst enemy. What kind of government would tolerate for one second mounted Border Patrol agents using horse reins like whips to control Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Tex.?
On page A2, there was no evidence that any migrants had been struck at all, let alone struck with whips.
But so what? On page A19, mounted Border Patrol agents had been "using horse reins like whips" to control the migrants, and King was strongly suggesting that the Biden administration had somehow "tolerated" this.
So it went on Saturday morning in the Washington Post. For what it's worth, a news report in that morning's New York Times also suggested that earlier reports about the use of whips had been erroneous.
"A photographer on the scene had said publicly that agents had not been using their reins to whip migrants, as had been widely speculated," the Times reporters reported. For the record, this was a change from the original version of their report, which has now been formally corrected.
Meanwhile, the corrected New York Times report still included the fact that Vice President Harris "had likened the pictures of agents on horseback to slavery." Without explanation, a photo caption offered this nugget:
President Biden vowed to hold the agents accountable who chased Haitian migrants on horseback as they tried to cross the Rio Grande into Texas from Mexico on Saturday.
Aren't border agents supposed to "chase" migrants if they're crossing the Rio Grande into Texas without authorization? Such questions went unexplained in the Times' news report—and as the Post's report continued, President Biden was quoted saying this:
SONMEZ AND MIROFF (continuing directly from above): “It was horrible,” the president said. “To see people treated like they did? Horses running them over and people being strapped? It's outrageous and I promise you, those people will pay.”
Had migrants been run over by horses and strapped? That's what the president was quoted saying in the Post report, even as Colbert King seemed to suggest that Biden, or at least his administration, had tolerated such conduct.
Welcome to the wonderful world of a rapidly failing culture! By now, efforts have been made to sift through the thrilling tribal excitement concerning the alleged use of whips, or the alleged use or reins as whip, or the claim that people had been run over by horses, or had even been shouted at.
Yesterday, Max Boot attempted to sort these matters out in the Washington Post, though his column has only appeared online. Kevin Drum offered a substantial excerpt from Boot's column while offering this assessment:
DRUM (9/27/21): I doubt that an investigation will show that CBP officers did anything wrong in their treatment of Haitian immigrants. It made a big impact thanks to a single picture that gave a seriously mistaken impression, but video suggests there was nothing very unusual about the situation.
Did officers do anything wrong in their treatment of the migrants? Was there anything "very unusual" about the isolated events at the border which had been captured in a single viral photograph—a single photograph which our own flailing and failing anti-Trump tribe found especially thrilling?
People can judge such matters for themselves. For now, we'll briefly return to Saturday's Washington Post:
On page A2, readers were told that there was no evidence that migrants had been struck at all, let alone that any agents had been using whips.
But on page A19, on that very same day, a leading figure at the Post was telling readers something quite different—and he angrily suggested that the Biden Admin had tolerated the whipping of migrants.
Two days later, there was Charles Blow, in Monday's New York Times. Blow was still howling about "the outrageous images of agents on horseback herding the migrants like cattle."
Using the private language of our failing, barely-competent tribe, Blow referred to the migrants as "Black bodies" rather than as people. According to experts, this is the way we humans behave as our societies die.
In fairness, awkward juxtapositions can occur as information emerges about some incident. Perhaps it isn't "very unusual" that Colbert King was saying one thing on Saturday morning, even as his own newspaper's news report was saying something quite different.
That said, something has been "very unusual" about this event, or at least that would be the case in a dimly rational world. We refer to the lunatic way the liberal / progressive / anti-Trump world reacted to that one photograph involving that one border patrol agent.
Beyond that, we refer to the slippery, disingenuous was our liberal thought leaders are still pimping their original impressions concerning this incident.
As we learn that no one was actually whipped, we're asked to be upset to think that unauthorized migrants were "chased," even "shouted at." At New York magazine, Sarah Jones—she once inspired so much hope!—offered this as our silly and failing progressive world emitted its many death rattles:
JONES (9/23/21): Some images burn themselves into the brain. In this one, a U.S. Border Patrol agent on horseback lashes a whip near the face of a Haitian migrant; Reuters reports he later grabbed a man by the shirt. The migrants on our border are fleeing poverty and political chaos; they seek the same future we all want for ourselves. They have found a violent welcome in Joe Biden’s America. Asked to comment on the use of whips by border agents, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she did not think “anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate.”
Jones included the photo of the (one) agent on horseback—the photo which launched a thousand breakdowns.
In fairness to Jones, it may be that she still believed, at that point, that "agents" (plural) were lashing "whips" (plural) in the incident which had generated that one photograph of that one border agent—that agents (plural) were doing this "in Joe Biden's America."
That said, we offer this to note the insanity which grips human populations as their societies come to an end—the insanity involved when Jones complains about that Reuters report, in which it was said that a border patrol agent had grabbed someone's shirt.
Reportedly, a law enforcement officer had grabbed someone's shirt! As our failing tribe slides toward the sea, that's the sort of thing our thought leaders rail against—"in Joe Biden's America," no less.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our tribe is now nearly insane. In the particular matter under review, we're commenting on our tribe's crazy reactions to an incident which might seem to involve a matter of race.
That said, the dimwitted nuttiness of our upper-end tribal discourse is all around us now, if we're just willing to look. Our discourse stopped making sense long ago. Our behavior rapidly is spiraling downwards, if we're just willing to look.
We'll offer examples this week. We hope to move, with deliberate speed, to the increasingly nutty conversations between Rachel and Lawrence, and to the studied lunacy of Our Own Rhodes Scholar herself.
As we do, we'll also make reference to Robert Kagan's lengthy, widely-cited essay in Sunday's Washington Post. We're on the eve of destruction, Kagan said—and we'd have to say that he understated the nature and sweep of the challenge.
Our own vastly self-impressed tribe is failing very fast. The Crazy is quite widespread among the pro-Trump population, but the behaviors on display in Our Town are increasingly dim, addled, silly, near-hysterical, "very unusual," daft.
It's all right there if we're willing to see it. Anthropologists insist that we aren't.
Coming: As Kagan paints a frightening picture, Rachel and Lawrence cavort