THURSDAY, JULY 21, 2022
Our staff disagrees with Drum: We're so old that we can remember when Roxane Gay's recent guest essay seemed like a powerful tool for explaining the decline of our failed nation (such as that nation was).
Gay's essay appeared in Sunday's New York Times. In the several days since the essay appeared, it has been rendered obsolete by behaviors which are being seen all over blue tribe cable.
We refer to the behaviors of blue tribe stars with respect to the Secret Service. Yesterday afternoon, Kevin Drum offered a post about this matter—a post which carried this headline:
I think we all know what the Secret Service did last year
It's our impression that Drum is wrong on that particular point. In fact, we know he's wrong.
How do we know that Kevin is wrong? Simple:
At this site, we don't know what "the Secret Service" (or some element thereof) did with respect to the matters at hand! That said, blue tribe cable has spilled over, in the past few days, with a standard novelization concerning those events.
We've rarely seen a tribal novel emerge so quickly. Beyond that, we've rarely seen so many high-profile people making so little sense.
The creation of this tribal novel has been a type of journalistic "Brooks Brothers riot." It reminds us of a basic anthropological fact:
Man [sic] is not "the rational animal." The claim is repeated again and again, but it's plainly false.
According to major anthropologists, we humans are actually the tribal animal. We're the animal which splits itself into warring tribes, then starts building tribal narratives—pleasing stories in which The Others are cartoonishly evil and wrong.
Gay, of course, was behaving that way in Sunday's guest essay. In our view, her essay helps explain why it has become so hard for Democrats to win elections—why our nation has already failed.
That said, the onset of The Great American Secret Service Novel has wiped Gay's guest essay away. It's all Secret Service now. It's all blue novelization.
Last night, we saw people saying things on cable which had to be seen to be believed.
In the evening, the locus of such novelization is The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. Early this morning, the process started again on Morning Joe.
The speculations—the novelizations—have been emerging thick and fast on these TV shows. We thought today of Lewis Carroll's Queen of Hearts ("Sentence first, verdict later"), but also of the increasingly crazy, hour-long plots which prevailed on 24, an earlier TV program.
Drum says we all know what happened. We're prepared to wait for the investigation of these events—for an investigation which may produce a reliable verdict.
Concerning where the novel now stands, we'll only tell you this:
At present, there seem to be two key parts to our blue tribe's emerging novel. How well do these narrative elements coexist? You can be the judge:
Elements of the blue novel:
Story Element 1: On January 6, Donald J. Trump wanted to go to the Capitol Building to join his violent followers, but his Secret Service agents refused to let him do so. After a physical altercation, they made him return to the White House.
(Note: As far as we know, that's what actually happened.)
Story Element 2: On January 6, Mike Pence's Secret Service agents wanted to whisk him away from the Capitol Building as it was under attack. They didn't want to do this as a way of assuring Pence's safety. They planned to refuse to let him return, thereby making it impossible for him to certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.
How well do those story elements hang together? Before answering, let us be clear:
The notion that Pence's agents were in on the plot is now standard issue on The Last Word, where Lawrence has increasingly acted like a nutcase over the past few months.
That notion has also become standard issue on Morning Joe. Indeed, all across cable's blue bayou, this notion is emerging as a truly remarkable part of the Standard Blue Tribe Storyline.
That said, were Pence's agents in on the plot? Were they planning to whisk him away from the Capitol, then refuse to let him return?
Everything is possible, just as it ever was! Pleasingly, a novelist can even imagine that Donald J. Trump had planned that move against Pence in his utterly crazy attempt to avoid accepting defeat.
We can imagine that Donald J. Trump was the mastermind of that scheme! But then we turn to Story Element 2, and all of a sudden it seems that this same Donald J. Trump actually wasn't the mastermind behind this fiendish novelized plan.
The silly children who service our tribe love to describe the way Donald J. Trump physically fought to go to the Capitol Building. But uh-oh! His Secret Service agents wouldn't allow it—and those agents prevailed.
This would seem to mean that someone other than Donald J. Trump was the actual mastermind behind this "fascist takeover." As in old 24 episodes, so too here:
Some shadowy figure was planning this thing—and Donald J. Trump was merely a pawn in that mastermind's game!
You can, of course, imagine this story a million different ways. You can novelize these events in whatever way you please.
At this site, we prefer to await the result of a competent probe. It may be that no such probe will ever take place—but almost surely, we'll eventually know more about the lack of Secret Service texts than we know at the present time.
As we wait, the American nation, such as it was, has basically ceased to exist. Gay's essay reflected this state of affairs, but so do the various crazy behaviors seen all over blue cable this week. And in all of this hubbub, one point emerges:
We humans are not "the rational animal." According to highly credentialed experts, we're the species which divides itself into warring tribes and then starts inventing tales.
In our experience, the failures of human rationality extend quite high up the ladder. For example, these failures extend to Einstein's transparently bungled attempt to explain "the relativity of simultaneity."
(This doesn't mean that this part of Einstein's theory was wrong. It means that the explanation he aimed at general readers didn't make sense—and that no one has noticed this obvious fact over more than a hundred years.)
These failures even leave us wondering if Godel's theorems make sense, even judged on their own terms. (We'll suggest that you start with "The Liar's Paradox," then take the found humor from there.)
Everything we know about this we started to learn as a college freshman! But make no mistake: You're seeing Pure Crazy on blue cable now, and this Crazy has no plan to stop.
What explains the apparent absence of text messages from those 24 Secret Service agents over the month-long period in question?
At this point, we can't answer that question. By normal standards, no one else can do so either—except Carroll's Queen of Hearts!
This afternoon: The irony of Lawrence's stance? McCaskill's very strange statement?