TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2021
The way we humans function: Sensible people weep for the impulses of our war-inclined species.
And remember, it's all anthropology now! Disconsolate experts all insist there's no way out of the mess.
Last Friday's ReidOut show was a tough program to watch. Professor Johnson was guest-hosting. He started things off like this:
JOHNSON (11/18/21): We begin The ReidOut tonight with yet another judicial gut punch. 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, a militia man wannabe who crossed state lines and killed two human beings at a Black Lives Matter rally, was found not guilty on all five counts.
Rittenhouse has crossed state lines and killed two human beings. Apparently, it would have been fine if he'd done it in his own state.
In fact, Kenosha is in the southern end of Wisconsin, near the Illinois line. Rittenhouse had gone to his lifeguard job in Kenosha County the previous day, then had spent the night in Kenosha with his best friend.
Rittenhouse crossed states lines every day when he went to his lifeguard job! But now, as we looked for something to say, we kept repeating the utterly pointless though vaguely incriminating phrase.
Our human race is actually like this. This is secretly what we're like.
The professor threw to Joy Reid, reporting in by remote. As Reid discussed the judicial gut punch, she too played the pointless card:
REID: But what I am concerned about is the precedent this sets for what people will believe that they can do under law when Black Lives Matter protests happen in the future. And that people may use this as an excuse to go out-of-state and do what this teenager did, believing that they'll get away with it, and in some cases, getting away with it.
In Reid's view, more people might decide to travel "out of state" and do what Rittenhouse did! If they would simply stay in their home state and do it, it would be A-OK.
The next person to play the card was someone we've long admired. He's very smart, and he has am excellent sense of humor. But even he went along:
SHARPTON: This is a very, very serious problem for activism because now we're being told that someone can cross state lines with a semiautomatic rifle and kill people and say it's self-defense and they have this case to cite as saying that I'm like Rittenhouse.
It isn't the fact that people kill people. The problem is the fact that they do it after they cross state lines!
Before this remarkable opening segment was done, Elie Mystal had also played the card. In fairness, he sanded the card way down, saying only that Rittenhouse had "shot two people in the street" after he "came outside of his community."
When we humans have nothing to say, we agree to say things like this. At times of heightened tribal conflict, the things we say don't have to make sense. It's just that everyone has to say them. They serve as tribal code.
So it had gone, earlier on, when Professor Johnson tried to explain what was wrong with the judicial gut punch we had just endured. This is what he said:
JOHNSON: The first thing that occurred to me after this ruling is, "Oh, well, okay, now it's just open season." Like if I'm walking around and I'm a white nationalist, you know, coward little kid with an AR-15, and I see someone drive by with a Black Lives Matter bumper sticker and I feel threatened, I can open fire.
If I go by a youth group standing outside a local Target and they're chanting, "Black lives matter," and I feel threatened, I can open fire.
It was good propaganda, but is that what Rittenhouse actually did? Did he simply see a bumper sticker and decide to open fire? Did he simply hear someone chanting? Is there really any chance that the professor really believes that?
This is the way our own failing tribe is currently behaving. We're losing, losing, losing, losing, and we just aren't sharp enough to know what we should do or say or think.
On the bright side, if everyone says the same handful of things all day long and into the night, the rest of us won't understand how much we aren't being told. We'll come to believe that someone decided to open fire for exactly zero reason, after crossing state lines.
There's a great deal we liberals haven't been told about this matter on MSNBC and on CNN. In this particular case, people were actually exposed to much more information if they were watching Fox.
On the ReidOut program, we liberals were told that he crossed state lines, then decided to open fire. We weren't told a whole lot more. That was all we needed to hear.
By today, everyone knows to say the word "vigilante" over and over and over. Before that, though, it was "crossing state lines."
This is the way our species is built. It's the actual way we are. It's the way we create our wars. It's the way we humans "reason."
These two were also giants: Later, Malcolm Nance and Dean Obeidallah jumped on the tribal train too:
NANCE: What he did, by his very action of going out, going to a protest across state lines, being within a group of armed men, performing what they call the Korean on the rooftop, right, defending a position, whether it's a business or other, where they were not invited, and then getting into this fight where he killed two men and wounded a third, that is now the template on how to protest against Antifa or Black Lives Matter or any other person that they consider in the white supremacy world race traitors.
OBEIDALLAH: It tells people, "Hey, if there's a Black Lives Matter movement protest in the next state, get your AR, drive over. If you fear anyone, kill them. Go on the stand. Repeat what Kyle did. Cry on cue. And you walk.
He'd gone to a protest across state lines! He was in the next state!
Nance came dangerously close to explaining why Rittenhouse was actually there that night—and if we want to be honest about it, he wasn't exactly "at a protest." We aren't saying whether he should have been there—but within our tribe, the rule has been clear:
You aren't supposed to explain why he was there at all. Please don't ever do that!
Nance came close to breaking the rule. Eventually, though, he and Obeidallah agreed. If he'd done what he did without crossing state lines, it would have been A-OK!
(This is the way our self-impressed species actually functions. Remember, it's all anthropology now!)