Donald Trump and his presidency have unleashed a golden age of bullshit upon the land.
We know for a fact that if Donald Trump — or anyone supporting him — opens their mouth, what follows will almost certainly be a total lie. After 3+ years of living inside this nonstop maelstrom of nonsense and fuckery, you can feel our collective weariness just by walking outside your front door.
We felt it the night Trump “won”. We knew we’d crossed over from the reality we’d all lived in — and taken for granted — to a whole new space where not being able to discern bullshit from reality was the point of the exercise. Look at how long it’s taken the MSM — who spend their lives to digging for the truth (in theory) — to even realize that maybe the reason Trump is so chummy with Vladimir Putin is because Putin owns Trump.
Our MSM still hasn’t gone all the way to that realization — but they can see it from their houses. That’s a huge improvement.
We all endure and even tolerate staggering amounts of bullshit in our lives. Never mind other peoples’ bullshit — if we all looked squarely at our own and nothing but, we’d have plenty of work ahead of us — if we wanted to live bullshit free.
The 4 Levels Of Bullshit
Level 1: Incidental Bullshit
- Your 5 year old asks if there’s Santa Claus; you say yes.
- It’s 6 am. You have to get up. You don’t want to. “Five more minutes,” you tell yourself – you won’t be late. Bullshit – you know damned well you’ll be late. You do it anyway.
- “One more spoonful of ice cream won’t matter to my diet/diabetes.”
- “Why did you look at me funny when I took one more spoonful of ice cream?”
- “Have a nice day” (no matter who says it, no matter why).
Incidental Bullshit is water off a duck’s back. Life’s just too short to get too hung up on this kind of low grade truthiness. It’s petty mostly. Meaningless and forgettable. However: This is the ‘shit’ that ‘happens’. It just does. What are any of us going to do about it? Nothing. Moving on…
Level 2: Tolerable Bullshit
- Your 10 year old – who’s starting to figure things out – asks if there’s a Santa Claus; you say yes.
- Your bff always brings a bottle of red wine when she comes over – except you drink white wine. What kind of guest is that? You could say something, but you don’t; you’ll keep the peace instead.
- You both know damned well whose turn it is to clean the bathroom – but you do it better anyway, so…
- “I love you” said under duress.
Tolerable Bullshit will challenge you occasionally – is it actually tolerable? Small doses – no problem. More than that? It could easily start to feel just like bullshit.
Level 3: Red Flag Warning Bullshit
- Your 20 year old asks – for real – if there’s a Santa Claus.
- “I don’t have a drinking problem.”
- “My phone’s battery died. No, really – I swear it!”
You know it in your gut – it ain’t right. It doesn’t add up or it just plain smells. This is the bullshit that leaves a mark – or worse. Deal with it now – you’ll probably be okay. Ignore the warning and this bullshit will likely morph into –
Level 4: Utter Bullshit
- “I alone can fix it.”
- “No collusion.”
- “I don’t deserve to be here”
This is the stuff that kills. It changes lives forever. And it’s bullshit.
My worst example of utter bullshit was believing it was my fault that I was sexually molested when I was 14. I kept that secret for 45 years — denying it even as it ate at my insides every day. That secret — and even keeping it was bullshit — came within literal inches of killing me.
My bullshit became so convincing that I honestly thought no one would care if I died — that the insurance money would eventually assuage my family’s deep psychic would. Talk about utter bullshit.
We live in an atmosphere that’s equally toxic. We have grown adults refusing to acknowledge what more and more Americans understand is horrifyingly true — that Russia has taken over this country. Evidence of treason and obstruction of justice and election fraud and treason ffs mounts every day. It is bullshit on steroids to deny what mountains of evidence make damningly clear.
Who the hell wants to live like this?
Except a Trumpian, I mean…
Cut to the end of the chase: even the smartest people you know have a taste for bullshit – their own.
We all believe things that – if we actually had to back them up – we’d realize how silly we were for saying such things out loud (never mind actually believing them). We might even realize our problem’s much worse: bullshit has taken over most of our lives.
That ain’t bullshit.
I was watching the football club I follow – Tottenham Hotspur – play horribly again this morning. With ten minutes to go, they were down 3-0 to a team they should have thumped. Spurs lost earlier this week 7-2 to Bayern Munich in the Champion’s League. With ten minutes to go – and defeat a dead certainty (in a week we’d been outscored 10-2 FFS!), I still experienced a moment where I thought “Hey, we’re Spurs, we can still do this!”
No, we couldn’t – and we didn’t. We couldn’t get the ball past midfield. We’re in a mental freefall as a team. That’s the Truth. It’s bullshit to think Spurs can win anything right now.
But, for a moment, I tried to convince myself that they could. I tried to bullshit myself and I succeeded.
Bullshit is Hope’s evil twin. Just as Hope is aspirationally positive, Bullshit is aspirationally negative. It’s a lie easily thrown together, easily tossed off and easily forgotten – especially when new bullshit is created to replace the old. It’s the sausage factory from the seventh ring of hell.
And yet, damned if Bullshit Brand Sausage doesn’t sell.
For a lot of us, the addiction to bullshit starts early – with our “religious education”. That’s a non sequitur. You can learn about religion, but to be educated IN a religion is to be fed a diet of pure, unadulterated bullshit. Religion, mind you, is entirely different from spirituality.
Spirituality is the ineffable essence of the awe any human feels as they gaze up at the cosmos and tries to see how they fit with it. With the pure fact of “being”.
Religion is rules & regs. It’s crowd control. It’s the perverse corporatization of spirituality: an institution invents a “way” to spirituality – through them, through following their rules. Followers may flirt with spiritual experience but it’s always within the context of the religion’s rules. Any spiritual experience outside those rules? It’s heresy. You’re allowed the church’s definition of “spiritual” and not your own.
Funny irony? Jesus himself preached AGAINST having a church. He taught his followers to speak directly to god. No need for the Temple, its authorities or priests.
And no need to tithe any church either. Just “Do Unto Others”. It’s that simple.
How many American Christians “do unto others”? Not many (relatively speaking). Most are “church-goers”. They’re not followers of Jesus. They’re in it for the “exclusivity”, the clubiness. They like the mythology, too. They like the magic behind it because the magic says they’ll never die.
Magic is sparkly bullshit. It’s no more real just because it glitters a little.
The Truth is we’re all going to die. There’s no escaping it. There’s no proof of any afterlife. None. To insist that one might exist is simply magic forcing itself upon you.
It’s me thinking Spurs could come back from three-nothing with minutes left when all the evidence said they were already in the locker room, their heads hung low.
If ever one word captured the age we live in — it’s “bullshit”. And could a man embody & epitomize bullshit any better than Donald Trump?
Shameless plug first — I just finished (and I’m agent-shopping) a book: How To Live Bullshit Free (And Other Showbiz Tales). It’s a painfully funny, brutally honest, name-dropping Hollywood memoir. I’ve had an unusual career (you can IMDb me here) that’s given me the chance to work with some of the most talented people in The Business. It’s also a “why you shouldn’t kill yourself” book (I came within inches of committing suicide three days before Christmas 2016 — or, as I like to think of it, I came within literal inches of bullshitting myself to death.
As I began to healthy in the aftermath (thanks to a great therapist, a mood stabilizer to cage the depression — it all flowed from a sexual assault at 14 I had buried — and loads of THC to mitigate my hypomania), I saw the myriad ways bullshit was still kicking my ass on a daily basis.
The first thing you have to do — to get bullshit out of your life — is to acknowledge all your own bullshit first (you have to deal with yours before you can even think of dealing with anyone else’s). And the first thing you’ll find, when you begin to deal with your bullshit, is how completely bullshit has destroyed your perspective. Bullshit, like depression, reduces your view of the world to an extreme telephoto lens — dialed in on one thing (how much you hate yourself, say) to the exclusion of everything else. Both destroy perspective until all you can see is your bullshit — and your bullshit is lying to you.
So — what can one do to become the alpha dog in one’s relationship with one’s ownb bullshit? Understand — calling out the bullshit in your life is not a one-n-done project. Bullshit is like herpes. It never really goes away. You manage it at best. But you have to manage it. Every day – or it’ll metastasize from herpes into something a hell of a lot worse.
HOW TO LIVE BULLSHIT FREE: THE DAILY 7 STEP ‘TO DO’ LIST
1 Get Perspective
2 Be Clear on What Is and What Isn’t
3 Keep Perspective
4 Refuse to Engage With Bullshit (It’s Pointless)
5 Own Your Own Bullshit First (Own It All Every Day)
6 Maintain Perspective
7 Wake Up Tomorrow and Repeat
If you look at how the list is structured, one thing kind of leads to another. Nothing on it is intrinsically difficult – unless you try it in isolation. The daily hunting and pecking at bullshit is a grind. You see a lot of familiar faces: your bad habits for instance – they’re bullshit. Bad habits you know you can break (and should) are bullshit on steroids. Those are the ones that trip easily into Red Flag Warning territory. There’s a reason they’re habits despite the fact that they’re bad.
The getting, keeping and maintaining of perspective are all a matter of pulling ‘the camera’ back as far as you possibly can. Are you seeing the biggest picture? Sure you can’t pull it back just a little bit more? Remember – bullshit eats perspective.
If you can master that – seeing your circumstances in their fullest context – it may not make you happier, but you’ll know exactly what stands between you and happiness. You will always know where the bullshit is in your life – and which bullshit you can live with and which you can’t.
We all get obsessed with songs. That’s the whole point of writing a song, I guess. To get everyone who hears your song to be unable to get the song out of their heads. Sounds mighty powerful. I wouldn’t know; I’ve written lyrics to songs but the melody part — the actual point of the exercise — is way outside my skill set.
I’m throwing down here a couple of songs — one recent, one not old but not the artist’s most recent work, — that are always playing somewhere in my head. If I hear them out here in reality, I will stop whatever I’m doing to hear the song out. I’m that smitten.
Go on — take the plunge. Get infected…
First — I have been a Marina Diamandis fan from the moment I first heard/saw the video for her “I’m Not A Robot” (as part of her “band” Marina & The Diamonds). I turned my daughter onto Marina, too. Among the things I respect about this artist is the fact that she’s got a lot on her mind. Even the way she approaches relationships isn’t from the “you hurt me, now I’m angry” rack, it’s from the whole “Relationships are damned complex” store. “Forget” is a shining example — off her album Froot — filled with great songs.
Second — Vampire Weekend’s “This Life” off their just released Father Of The Bride. The whole album is brilliant. “Harmony Hall” is on the verge of becoming another permanent fixture in my head. “This Life” is a perfect combination of jaunty tune with deeply ironic lyrics: “Baby, our disease, is the same one as the trees, unaware that they’ve been living in a forest”. There’s a drumbeat under the line “Oh, Christ, am I good for nothing” that has the distinct feeling of one pounding one’s hands into one’s head in angst — all while unable to resist the urge to dance. That’s a great song.
Now, I don’t mean EVERYONE in the Main Stream Media. But ALMOST everyone. We shouldn’t be here — at the precipice of our Republic going down the toilet because of Republic-ans.
If we don’t pull this back from the brink and an honest history of our times never gets written, the story will never be told of how a foolish notion — that “both sides do it” — was the basis for the complete and utter failure of the American Press to uphold their Constitutionally mandated duty to be the final check on power. We need to know where this ludicrous need for false equivalence comes from. That’s what “both sides do it” is — it’s the Mother Of All False Equivalences.
It’s like saying Bernie Madoff is a thief — he’s a rich guy who stole from other rich guys. Jean Valjean (fictional though he is) stole bread because people were hungry and needed it. Poor guy. See? Both rich guys AND poor guys BOTH “steal”. Both sides do it.
Never mind proportion or perspective. Both sides do it.
This ludicrous idea has sailed past abstraction and now sits like a giant dodo bird atop American journalism — holding it down while death circles overhead like crows in a Boschian hellscape. Sight unseen it gives every piece of information (true or untrue) equal weight. A lie by Donald Trump has equal weight to the truth spoken by someone else. They’re both the same. The primo example of how this works and looks — any time there’s a conversation about climate change — and a denier is given either equal time or an equal screen.
Images have a vocabulary. Video has a vocabulary. Two images presented side-by-side in a 50-50 setting are understood to be absolute equals. It might not be what the broadcaster intends but that’s how our brains perceive it. And the name of the game isn’t what you meant, it’s how you were perceived. That’s why schmucks like Donald Trump can shrug off their horribleness as “just a joke!” Suddenly it’s on us for not getting it. For not perceiving what wasn’t a joke as a joke.
We desperately need our press — all of it, every last bit — to see the picture in front of them for what it is. We need them to stop giving the benefit of the doubt to thieves and criminals who are using that very benefit to undermine the press’s ability to ever report The Truth accurately again. We need the press to unbolt the normalcy bias blinders from its eyes and recognize how much THEY THEMSELVES have normalized both unacceptable and downright criminal behaviors. Because actual crime has been committed in their faces — in front of their cameras even — it can’t be a crime: that seems to be their take. They’re wrong about that. Completely and utterly wrong.
And they can’t see it.
As they say in French: “Voila le probleme!”
That won’t end well — for us or for them. Both sides don’t do it. If they did, they’re not doing it now — and that’s more important than anything. However American News Media acquires perspective, they need to get it Amazon Primed to them right bloody now.
We can’t afford for them to let us down.
It sucks that an atheist has to explain Christianity to Christians. But — the fact is — atheists have a perspective on Christianity that Christians intrinsically lack (and can never get). THIS atheist — having perspective — sees a distinct difference between Jesus (the supposed “inventor” of Christianity and “Christianity” (his supposed “invention”).
Oy. Where to begin…
Back in the 1985, Robert Funk (an American bible scholar) created The Jesus Seminar. Funk wanted to promote “biblical literacy” via a “historical-critical” approach that viewed Christian orthodoxy with extreme doubt. Funk wanted the Seminar (composed of about 50 critical-thinking biblical scholars and 100 lay people) to identify (if they could) and draw out a “historical Jesus” from the texts — a man apart from any mythos. While the Seminar was most active in the 1980’s and 1990’s, its work has continued up to today.
The Jesus Seminar concluded that (this is taken from Wikipedia’s page on the Seminar) —
- Jesus of Nazareth was born during the reign of Herod the Great.
- His mother’s name was Mary, and he had a human father whose name may not have been Joseph.
- Jesus was born in Nazareth, not in Bethlehem.
- Jesus was an itinerant sage who shared meals with social outcasts.
- Jesus practiced faith healing without the use of ancient medicine or magic, relieving afflictions we now consider psychosomatic.
- He did not walk on water, feed the multitude with loaves and fishes, change water into wine or raise Lazarus from the dead.
- Jesus was arrested in Jerusalem and crucified by the Romans.
- He was executed as a public nuisance, not for claiming to be the Son of God.
- The empty tomb is a fiction – Jesus was not raised bodily from the dead.
- Belief in the resurrection is based on the visionary experiences of Paul, Peter and Mary Magdalene.
The seminar also concluded that at best we can put a dozen to a dozen-and-a-half sayings into Jesus’ mouth — as things Jesus might have said (vs the self-referential things he almost certainly did not say because it would never have occurred to him).
That means that, effectively, most of what we think of as Christianity had nothing to do with Jesus — and everything to do with Paul who was the one person hard at work creating far-flung churches (among the goyim) made up of goyim. The overwhelming majority of the NT is Paul communicating with and building his church communities. And he’s mythologizing Jesus as he goes — converting “Historical Jesus” into Christian Church Jesus.
Real Jesus despised the “church” (in his world – the Temple authorities). Jesus’ whole message was “You don’t NEED a church to have a relationship with god”. Since that’s the case (according to the Jesus Seminar), then why on earth would Jesus advocate for the creation of a “church” to speak for him? It’s ludicrous on its surface.
Jesus preached a simple message — that’s why it’s endured. Simple & doable. Why, even a humble atheist can “do unto others” without contradicting themselves.
For “Christ’s sake” — following Jesus is incredibly simple (and rewarding). I bet following a church can’t hold a candle to it.
I consider myself an aficionado of bullshit. I don’t “like” bullshit — but I do see how pervasive bullshit is. I see (having fallen for it myself to the point of nearly offing myself because of it) — how seductive bullshit is; I see how easily every last one of us can fall under its sway — and become its slaves.
Bullshit captures us and holds us because it appeals to the lazy, irrational, can’t-be-bothered-with-the-Truth lizard brain that epitomizes conservative mind-think. It sees a mystery — and, where the “gaps” are in its knowledge, it puts ooga-booga instead of a simple “I don’t know the answer to that yet”. It assumes magic must be the answer to what it doesn’t know. Ironically — if it waited five minutes (while someone curious went at the answer), they’d LEARN — it isn’t ooga-booga, it’s biology or chemistry or physics or some other natural explanation that simply needed to be stumbled over.
There’s a reason the religions of the world love to educate children — they can break a child’s capacity to think at the get-go and replace analytical thought with acceptance of mythology and ooga-booga. Did Life-As-We-Know-It begin in a singularity — or in the mind of a physically powerful but emotionally fragile deity?
If you don’t have microscopes or telescopes or celestial navigation or calculus or any of the other human innovations that gave us the TOOLS with which to replace ooga-booga explanations with REAL ones — you’ll give in to the ooga-booga because you don’t know any better. “KNOW” is the operative word here.
On this subject — quick side note here — I recommend this remarkable lecture by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Among other things he touches on naming rights (why do so many stars have Arabic names?)
The point of “naming rights” is that it reflects “discovery”. Being the “inventors” of celestial navigation — a human innovation that put a big chunk of ooga-booga to bed — Arabs (having no competition to consider) named the stars they identified — and fixed in the heavens & their mind — in the language they spoke: Arabic. It’s a great lecture — absolutely worth the time to watch. He touches on ooga-booga, too.
As Tyson articulately explains — even the greatest minds in science have given in to that old, (apparently) hard-wired-into-us urge to give in and fill in the gaps in our knowledge with ooga-booga and its bedmate Magical Thinking.
Those of us NOT beholden to ooga-booga must call out the ooga-booga for what it is whenever we see it. Maybe we should use the term “OOGA-BOOGA” to describe it — instead of “bullshit”.
Even calling it “bullshit” gives “ooga-booga” way too much credence.
Spoiler Alert Redux: BLAME THE MEDIA. They betrayed our trust in them. I bet money had something to do with it…
Yeah, yeah — it’s not entirely the media’s fault. We aren’t sheep out here, beyond the media bubble. But most people don’t have all day to sift through or triangulate all the information pouring on us to feel clarity about what is true and what isn’t. We identify a voice or two that we trust. When that voice speaks, we’ll feel secure that THEY, at least, aren’t bullshitting us.
This doesn’t apply of course to Fox News viewers.
The Press is the only job mentioned in the Constitution. They’re the only profession enumerated there (in the First Amendment) and given a mission: to be the Peoples’ last check on Power. That means they have to have a ZERO TOLERANCE for corruption since even the tiniest bit can grow (quickly) and bring down the whole system itself. Because self-government is based on TRUST. We have to TRUST that We The People aren’t trying to screw each other over. There’s simply no room for corruption in that equation.
The moment our Press accepts one tiny bit of corruption — or, should I say, the moment our Press ACCEPTED corruption — they helped set us on this very road we’re on. They’re not completely to blame, of course, there’s the corruption the Press didn’t report on. Who are they? And WHY did our Press fail to warn us about them?
During the Bush years, there was a New York Times reporter named Judith Miller. Judith traded a big chunk of her integrity to have access to Dick Cheney. That gave her an inside track to Cheney’s story. He wasn’t telling her the whole truth however. And there was Judith in the end — with a bullshit story under her byline and her integrity in tatters.
Our Press helped sell us the False Narrative we’re living inside of now — that Donald Trump is a legitimate president who “won” in 2016. “But he won the election” has been the mantra for two years to explain the screaming incongruities of Trump’s actions and the electorate’s disgust. “But he won the election” they say — as if everything surrounding the election (you know, RUSSIA) had nothing to do with that incongruity. Never mind every animal instinct inside of us screaming “That’s Bullshit!” — “But he won the election”.
For The Record: It was reported back in real time — 10 days before the election, Paul Manafort (having been forced to LEAVE the Trump campaign because of his ties to Russia) RETURNED to the campaign with this directive: “FOCUS ON PENNSYLVANIA, WISCONSIN & MICHIGAN”. Trump won those three states by a combined total of less than 80,000 votes. No one has ever done any official forensics on the machines (that’s not to say that people haven’t looked at the results — and seen some very real mathematical anomalies including similar vote totals across multiple counties). No one, to date, has asked Paul Manafort (though I’m sure Team Mueller has) — “What’d ya mean by that, Paulie?”
Remember — Even Team Trump expected to lose. There are stories of true shock in the Trump camp. There were stories of Melania especially — raging at Donald because he had assured her he would lose; the whole “deal” they had was he would lose.
Quick Digression — I’m quire convinced that Euro Trash FLOTUS is as much a part of Putin’s active measures against us as was Mariia Butina. Melania isn’t nearly as trained (I don’t think) — but we’ve got so much to learn still…
These stories WERE reported at the time. For some reason — despite their strangeness — they didn’t catch much heat. Shame. We might have gotten to the bottom of this sooner. But, back then, we were living large on lies. We had feasted more than we realized on bullshit — and had been calling it prime rib. More fool us. But then, remember — BLAME THE MEDIA.
As the story of what REALLY happened behind the scenes of our election began to find sunlight, one story caught the Media’s attention: The Steele Dossier. It was so sexy sounding. Its origins were even sexier. It all sounded like something out of a John Le Carre novel. On meth. Quick
Quick background: Back when in the early, early days of the 2016 campaign, a conservative news site — The Washington Free Beacon — hired a company called Fusion GPS to do oppo research on Donald Trump —
The Free Beacon (rightfully) feared Trump. Like everyone else with a pulse, they’d heard rumblings about Donald Trump and various illegal behaviours. Fusion GPS was co-founded in 2011 by Glenn R. Simpson (a former investigative reporter and journalist for Roll Call and The Wall Street Journal), Peter Fritsch, (former Wall Street Journal senior editor), and former Wall Street Journal journalist Thomas Catan — so they had rock solid bona fides. Some more info about Fusion is here —
When the whole Trump-Russia saga began to emerge — and the first obstructions of justice flared, Glenn Simpson was called before Congress to testify (the intention of the Senate Republicans being to tamp Simpson down and discredit him and the Steele Dossier; this occurred at roughly the same time Devin Nunes was making his “Midnight Runs” to the White House). He told some fascinating stories that blew up repeatedly in the faces of the Republicans who’d brought him there. Shame it didn’t get more attention but — c’est lat vie (or our Press).
Among the things Glenn Simpson said under oath was this: When got hired, they did what they always do first — their Due Diligence. Their due diligence consisted of getting ahold of every newspaper article, every magazine article, every video, radio show, anything anywhere in any format — if it was PUBLICLY AVAILABLE, Fusion got its hands on it. They ordered it from Amazon. Found it in book stores. They even took it out of the library if that’s where it was. Due Diligence it’s called.
Simpson testified under oath that what Fusion GPS found IN PUBLICLY AVAILABLE MATERIAL gave them pause. It convinced them that Donald J Trump had (at the very least) been laundering money for the Russian mob forever. And if you’re laundering money for the Russian mob, you’re laundering money for the Russian government — Vladimir Putin in particular. It’s Russia. That’s how it works there.
Fusion wanted to hire the best Russia hand in the business to dig into that. The Free Beacon bailed. They weren’t interested in knowing that much about Trump (who was on the way to becoming the GOP’s nominee). I guess it might have changed how they felt about him SO much they did something. Shame about that.
In April 2016, the law firm Perkins Coie retained Fusion on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC to continue their work. Fusion hired Chris Steele in June 2016. When Perkins Coie ended their contract with Fusion in October 2016, Steele — who’d become so concerned by what HE was uncovering that he continued working gratis because he cared about the Western Democracies. If you want — Simpson’s full August 2017 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee is here (Simpson & Fritsch even wrote an op-ed in the NYTimes demanding their full testimony be released) —
So — The Steele Dossier (a collection of raw, unvetted intel actually) became a kind of bete noir for America’s news media. They glommed onto the first word that, while being true about the dossier, also betrayed a wide beam of editorial ignorance about the espionage trade: “Unverified”. While the claims made in the Dossier may indeed have been “unverified” by them, there were people verifying or quite capable of verifying most everything Steele wrote. In fact, on the subject of the Steele Dosser, the Press got quite belligerent — as if, somehow, Christopher Steele needed to prove his product’s claims to THEM before they could possibly pass muster.
It was bizarre, frankly — these “journalists” who hadn’t done THEIR due diligence about Donald Trump, casting aspersions on someone else’s DUE DILIGENCE. Bizarre? It was PERVERSE.
As we keep learning: Nothing in the Steele Dossier has been “disproven”. Steele’s work product — and remember — Chris Steele ran the MI6’s Russia Desk. He had great contacts. He had integrity. Side note: When the FBI wanted to take down FIFA’s Sepp Bladder for being corrupt — they hired Chris Steele. The man’s work was solid. He had a solid reputation.
But our Press had been compromised already. They were still buying everything Trump or his underlings said at face value (no matter how much it stunk up the joint). Instead of trying to perhaps even verify some of the claims themselves — they shrugged the Dossier off as “UNVERIFIED”. Think about that in retrospect — the great bulk of our Free Press were denying a desperate whistle blower (desperate in part to save THEIR hides, rights & Constitutional purpose) in favor of the CRIMINALS & TRAITORS who were coloring the False Narrative.
The fix was already in though. By then — keep in mind — the Press had already accepted things that could not possibly be “accepted” before. By “accepted” I mean “NORMALIZED”.
Yeah, sure — the press reacted to “Mexicans Are Rapists” & “Pussy Grabbing” with all the proper alarm. For two seconds. Then they turned their focus to fresh outrage — and they stopped asking about these outrages. The effect was immediate: Trump’s bigotry and misogyny were now baked in to The Product that was Trump. And the Press accepted those things as “Part of Him”. Voila — the unspeakable had been normalized.
Taking the bait, our Press yapped about emails instead. Benghazi. Then the Comey Letter (a whole other subject for discussion). The Press’s inability to discern real from bullshit — and their carnival barker mentality could likely have changed the whole course of the election right there. In retrospect, the Press’s relentless harping on the emails (stolen property, don’t forget) will be seen as its blind spot. Its nearly fatal blind spot.
Now we live in a time when it is acknowledged that most everything that spews from the president’s anus-shaped mouth is a lie. Yet most of the press report it as if it could be true. They’re getting better at contextualizing it but — we’re so late in the game and they’re still so loathe to use the word “lie”. “Falsehoods” still abound. So does bullshit.
It wold be awesome if we could go back in a time machine to that moment before our Press ate, digested & pooped out to us as truth Trump’s first lie. Unfortunately, that’s not an option. All we can do is learn from our mistakes. Too bad learning from our mistakes is not a given.
We’ve never been “here” before — to this terrible, treasonous place. We can still save ourselves — what’s our choice? But We The People can’t do it without our Constitutionally mandated partners: The Press.
But we need them to swear off corruption. Cold turkey. Zero Tolerance. The moment they sense it (or even suspect that they sense it), they need to speak up. Loudly and persistently cos we’re not always good at listening. It’s hard to listen sometimes when so much bullshit is being thrown at you.
I was born in 1959, 14 years after the Nazi concentration camps were liberated.
You might think such an awful memory — so close in our rear view mirror — would have made my community so horrified that they couldn’t bear to discuss it. We went completely in the opposite direction. I wouldn’t say we “embraced” the Holocaust so much as we “owned it”. As my community tends to do, we made it a teachable moment.
There’s a famous photo of a group of Jews being rounded up in the Warsaw Ghetto by the occupying Nazis –
From the first time I saw the photo, I became that boy in the lower right. I bet a lot of Jews my age did. We saw and felt that boy’s terror, his helplessness. His confusion: how can they be doing this to you just because you were born Jewish? You’ve done nothing wrong to anyone on the planet – yet the planet wants you dead.
“Never Again” became as integral a part of my “religious education” as chanting the ‘Shema’. The past hurt. That was not going to be our future.
In our guts, my community has always known this was lurking somewhere in the American Character. You can’t cram peoples’ heads with that much bullshit and expect the bullshit not to screw them up. Bullshit always screws people up – cos it’s bullshit. When you cram a nonsense, hateful mythology into peoples’ heads that actually runs counter to your religion’s core message (and its core messenger) — don’t be surprised when the nonsense becomes the message.
It sucks being despised because of a total fiction. It sucks worse being killed over it.