IDENTITY RULES: Blue tribe tribunes novelize hard!


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?


  1. Here’s Bob’s “soften them up” post. He’s got nothing, and the circumstantial evidence is getting hard to refute. His defense is the universe is unknowable in the end. That’s starting to look pretty thin…

    1. Why do you come here?

    2. To express an opinion. Why are you here?

    3. I didn't get my check this month yet.

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  2. No worries, dear Bob: when Michael Avenatti is the president, he will sort things out.

    He, Michael Avenatti, will deal with Enemies of The People who have infiltrated the Secret Service and other Great American Institutions.

    Michael Avenatti will righteously deliver justice to 'em all. Oh yes, dear Bob, oh yes.

  3. A novelized tale is much more palatable than the truth.

    1. A concisely stated truth that not only applies to politics but many other areas, especially history.

    2. We have only Somerby’s word, without evidence, that anything is being “novelized.” It is his way of disputing what is said, without providing any arguments or facts.

      Novelized history is called historical fiction. Otherwise, sources are cited and theories clearly identified as such, and controversies examined. There are rules for writing history.

    3. I'm kind of over Somerby, there is a pattern emerging. Does anyone have any recommendations for better MSM critical blogs?

    4. No More Mister Nice Blog. Also sometimes Lawyers Guns & Money, and Rectification of Names. Driftglass.

    5. Digby’s Hullabaloo


    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    8. Not better than this blog, but good:

    9. Greenwald has lost all credibility.

  4. Einstein's explanation of the relativity of simultaneity is clear and correct.

    Many commenters here can understand it if they read it. In particular, David and Mao can understand it. I hope they'll read it.

    The book is "Relativity: the Special and General Theory."

  5. You think men who sign up to jump in front of a bullet are going to rat out their brothers about texts they may or may not have wisely deleted in order to stay out of a witch hunt by corrupt Democrats?

    1. They were not deleted to stay out of a witch hunt. Deleting them broke the law and is a big deal. As Drum notes, the reason would need to justify that lawbreaking, so it won’t be trivial, such as preventing a hypothetical witch hunt.

    2. You guys lost me. A "witch hunt" is a way to describe the Select Committee's investigation. That characterization does not diminish that it is an investigative committee created by the U.S. Senate with the power to subpoena. So it's not a trivial excuse and it's not wise.

    3. Calling 1/6 a witch hunt when it is not one, is a Republican tactic. Trying to evade turning over messages to the 1/6 Committee is breaking the law.

    4. That's fine I'll leave the partisan back and forth to the propagandists. I'm commenting on the idea that once a party labels it a "witch hunt", then defying the committee can be considered a triviality by that party. It is not a triviality, however one refers to them.

    5. So, anon 12:29, thanks for confirming the mainstream media’s theories and blowing Somerby’s cautious downplaying out of the water.

    6. 12:29,
      Do you have any regret about your support for Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, now that you made witch hunts socially acceptable?
      Here’s to living with yourself for doing so, be too much for you to bear your life, here on Earth.

    7. No texts exist. Too bad for the Democrat witch hunt.

    8. You’d think the Right, who pretend they care about government waste, would lead the crusade to stop providing these agents with communication devices they don’t use.
      Or, you would if you didn’t realize Republicans only care about bigotry and white supremacy, and not government waste.

    9. 12:29,
      I’d would totally be onboard with shutting down the January 6th insurrection probe, in exchange for ignoring every Right-winger—from the shithead in the rural diner all the way up to Mitch McConnell.

    10. Everyone ignoring Right-wingers would, by far, be the best thing to happen in the USA’s 246-year history.

    11. Before the right wing organized and aligned with alt right extremist groups, they could be safely ignored, but with the advent of the internet, they found each other, organized themselves and are now a terrorist threat that cannot safely be ignored. The joining forces of Trump and the militias is evidence of that and Trump's coup would not have been possible without that violence.

      Shutting down the 1/6 insurrection probe would be a huge mistake because they will try again, if there are no consequences for sedition and treason.

    12. 5:10,
      Sentence the Right-wing terrorists to death.
      Ignore their pleas for clemency.

  6. Point 3, which Somerby avoids, is the deletion of all Secret Service communications for the requested period 1/5-1/6 without adequate or even plausible explanation (Drum’s point).

    Point 4, which Somerby also avoids, is that he has been denying any Secret service involvement, not awaiting an investigation. Now he’s willing to wait for further inquiry, when the investigation has revealed deletion of messages, a deletion that suggests there is something being covered up, as Drum also claims, not just cable hosts.

    There is nothing admirable about Somerby’s “caution.” It makes him look like part of the cover up, as he insists on ignoring the bigger picture.

    The so-called blue tribe narrative seems much closer to the truth than Somerby’s see-no-evil stance. Calling for yet another investigation is nonsensical and seems like a delaying tactic under the circumstances.

  7. If they deleted it would have been in the ordinary course of clearing excess phone contents and they don't recall what if anything was deleted. Good luck getting these guys to help your witch hunt!

    1. No, this not what happened, according to news reports.

    2. It is interesting how they were able to forensically retrieve text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

  8. Statement by Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the
    United States of America

    Joe Biden, who many have said is our worst President, has come down with a case of the China virus, despite being vaccinated. | hope Sleepy Joe is able to bounce back quickly, much as | was. Doctors described my fight against the China virus as Herculean, and not meaning the woke Disney Hercules but rather the Kevin Sorbo one.

    The Lou Ferrigno one as well.

    Joe, | wish you a speedy recovery, even though you are
    taking America in the wrong direction. No one wants Kamala!

  9. Messages were deleted after agents were twice reminded to back up their phones. Not a single person complied. The Secret Service is expert at recovering deleted messages. Of couse there is someting suspicious going on. The main speculation is about why the messages were supressed, not whether.

  10. Such a bummer that corrupt Secret Service agents aren’t unarmed black males, which would make it so much easier for police officers to shoot them.

    1. Okay, this reminds me of the time right-wing... ahem sorry I mean... a bad joke.

      How many police officers does it take to change a light bulb?


      None, they just beat the shit out of the room for being black.

  11. Agents will not recall if they deleted anything and if they did it’s just an oopsie for these busy men Americans rightly see as heroes.

    1. Unless they're getting drunk the night before a successful presidential assassination, them maybe not so much.

  12. Suppose the Secret Service HAD whisked Pence away and not let him return during the riot? What would have happened?
    1. Biden would have been named President without Pence's signature
    2. Biden would have been named President with Biden's signature later that day or on Jan 7
    3. Trump would have somehow become President for the next 4 years.

    1. It would have resulted in a quandary that may have opened the door to Trump proclaiming himself president and refusing to vacate the office, which was the point of all of the rest of his efforts too. Not one of them was valid or constitutional but they were put forward as pretexts to allow Trump to proclaim martial law and name himself president.

      You are minimizing the intention of Trump and his supporters to remain in office -- the rest of this is the means by which they hoped to accomplish that goal. Saying that Biden would have prevailed anyway is not a foregone conclusion when Trump was trying to mobilize military forces and just looking for an excuse to use them. The evidence of this exists in his contacts with the Pentagon, Department of Defense, conversations with military leaders and his messages to those commanding the national guard, and his orders to local police to stand down. It also exists in the planning conducted on Dec 18 and on 1/5 at the Willard Hotel. It exists in the statements of the Oath Keepers who expected to be deputized once Trump declared martial law.

      This is serious, an attempted coup, not a bureaucratic snafu.

    2. 4. Right-wingers still would have pretended the corporations who own the media, and gladly repeat Right-wing nonsense, are “liberal”.

    3. We don’t think the companies that own media outlets are liberal. We think they are capitalist globalists and are aligned with an outlook that seeks to de-emphasize any sense of national identity.

      We think these corps want to redefine a love of country as bigotry.

    4. Deport Rupert Murdoch.

    5. @ Cecelia, 7:17 PM

      'Liberal' and 'capitalist globalism' are more or less the same thing, as liberalism fancies itself universal, totalitarian 'world order'.

      Have you seen this:

      CNN: "What do you say to those families that say, 'listen, we can't afford to pay $4.85 a gallon for months, if not years?’"

      BIDEN ADVISOR BRIAN DEESE: "This is about the future of the Liberal World Order and we have to stand firm."

      ...end of story.

    6. Mao, you can put people like Mitch McConnell firmly in that camp.

      The technological ability to be all places at once has afforded power as nothing before.

    7. "you can put people like Mitch McConnell firmly in that camp"

      Certainly, Cecelia. Most of the politicians, especially the career politicians; otherwise how would they become -- and stay -- politicians.

      See how Tulsi Gabbard gets cancelled after a single term. Or how Dennis Kucinich gets gerrymandered.

  13. “We humans are not "the rational animal."”

    It isn’t irrational to speculate about potentially nefarious things going on at secret service, given what the hearings have revealed and what we know about Donald Trump the megalomaniac and his henchmen. The speculation is plausible given the things we do know.

    You could call it hasty, but it is not irrational. And when the facts converge toward the “blue tribe” view, that doesn’t make the blue tribe view tribal.