Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Rachel Maddow is not normal. Plus: The latest indicators that a Big Smear is coming

Thanks to an emptywheel retweet, I ran across this thread by Russian-born writer Slava Malamud, listing several views that could result in arrest if voiced by a Russian living in Russia. First example:
Crimea is a part of Ukraine and was illegally annexed by Russia.
There was a time when I argued for the Russian position. That was before I truly understood Putin's evil.

The second example prompted today's essay:
There is nothing wrong with being gay. Homosexual and transsexual people are normal.
No. They are not normal.

Before you hit the RAGE REACTION button, let me make one thing clear: I agree with the first part of Malamud's formulation -- there is nothing wrong with being gay.

Have I contradicted myself? No. I am trying to repair an injury that many of my contemporaries have done to the English language -- an injury that Malamud, a non-native English speaker, may not understand.

There is nothing wrong with being abnormal. Normality and morality are two separate concepts, which have become infuriatingly conflated by Identity obsessives.

Normality refers to frequency. Period.

"But, but, but...!" I hear you sputter. Stop sputtering: No buts.

Words have definitions, and I refuse to rewrite the dictionary simply because doing so might help you feel good about yourself. Your neurotic self-esteem issues are your problem.

Let us look at the example of Rachel Maddow.

Rachel Maddow is a prominent lesbian. She's also brilliant. If she were my daughter or sister, I would burst with pride every day. If she ever ran for president, I'd not only vote for her, I'd volunteer to work on her campaign. History will list her as one of this era's finest Americans.

But she is not normal -- at least, not in terms of her sexual identity. (I wouldn't be surprised to learn that she is exasperatingly normal in other ways.) Polls differ, but this one by the CDC seems authoritative, and it says that 1.3 percent of American women identify as lesbian, while a further 2.2 percent of women identify as bisexual. If my addition skills have not completely atrophied, these figures give us a total of 3.5 percent of women who are either lesbian or bisexual.

If you are one of the 3.5 percent, you are not normal. If you are among the 96.5 percent, you are normal. I am not in a position to say whether you are good or evil -- but sexually, you are normal.

There is nothing inherently iniquitous about those who reside within Three-Point-Five PercentLand. In fact, I would counsel any young man to consider the advantages of dating a bisexual woman. Suppose a man says the following words to his bisexual girlfriend: "Winona Ryder sure was gorgeous in that Dracula movie, wasn't she?" The bisexual girlfriend will probably respond: "She sure was!" By contrast, those same words might prompt a straight girlfriend to initiate a night-long row, ending with a command to sleep on the sofa: "And I hope you and Winona are very happy together!"

You know what is very abnormal? Genius.

You know what is, by definition, the most normal thing in the world? Mediocrity.

In many ways -- some laudable, some humiliating -- I am abnormal. Speaking as a lifelong oddball -- as a queer person, as that word was used in the 19th century -- I hereby command you: Never call me normal. That's an insult.

The Big Smear is a-comin'! By this point, you may be wondering: When's it gonna hit? Well, if Biden is the target, it will hit after he is the official nominee.

The latest indicator: The pro-Trump Daily Caller -- which has given the Maxwell case a lot of play -- reports that additional "victims" have come forward. I'm sure that these new victims are every bit as credible as Virginia Giuffre and Sara Ransome.

The Daily Caller would shy away from this story if they felt that Trump could be hurt.

I have no sympathy, of course, for either Maxwell or Epstein. But I'm very suspicious of these new claimants. Having been burned by Ransome and Giuffre, who turned out to be infuriating liars, I cannot trust any new entrants into the Epstein case. Please note that Ransome and Giuffre were not part of the original case against Epstein, even though many news articles and documentaries have given the false impression that they were. During that investigation, the cops interviewed many genuine victims. The story is told in Patterson's Filthy Rich, which is a good book as long as you keep in mind the fact that Patterson wrote before the truth about Virginia came out. (The Netflix documentary of the same name is far more deceptive.)

From the Daily Caller story:
“The powerful testimony of these victims, who had strikingly similar experiences with Maxwell, together with documentary evidence and witness testimony, will conclusively establish that the defendant groomed the victims for sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein,” the prosecutors wrote.
I predict that one or more of these new victims will also claim that she had sex with Joe Biden during one of his many Virgin Island vacations. Maxwell will eventually "confirm" this false story. There may even be photographic evidence (concocted).

Prepare now. Spread the word. Don't let this come as a surprise. The only way to counter the smear effectively is to have a plan ready beforehand.

And never forget: Maxwell is Mossad, according to Hoffenberg and others. Israeli rightwingers understand that they can annex much of the West Bank if and only if Trump wins re-election. 

Krystal Ball -- the die-hard Bernie supporter who works for Pro-Trump media, and who insists that she is not a Russian agent, despite all appearances -- has been prepping the way for the Big Smear. See here and here. Follow Ball if you want to track how the propagandists will sell this "Evil Dem" story to naive lefties. (I can't believe I used to like that woman!)

I'm frustrated with stories like this one from 538, which applies purely conventional metrics to the election. The article argues, correctly, that Trump is now the one who suffers from an "enthusiasm gap." Joe Biden is not universally adored by Dems, but few truly dislike him, and he does not create gut-level rage among Republicans.
Additionally, social science research suggests that antipathy toward the other side is driven in large part by racial and cultural differences between the parties — differences that Clinton and former President Barack Obama exemplify in ways that a 77-year-old white moderate male Democrat doesn’t.

As The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer astutely put it, “The notion of a Biden presidency simply does not provoke the visceral rage that Clinton and Obama did — not in Trump, and not in his supporters.” So long as Biden’s campaign does not evoke such negativity, Trump will likely be the one on the short end of the 2020 enthusiasm gap.
When a weepy "Epstein girl" goes on teevee with a "Joe raped me" story, the negativity quotient will skyrocket.

The pro-Trump forces have to resort to a Big Smear. They simply have no choice. Nothing else will save Trump. Remember: Impeachment resulted from a Big Smear attempt every bit as audacious as the one I am predicting here.


Anonymous said...

Mary Trump’s book arrived today. Well observed study of the monster we have come to know. There is now no defense. She has a degree in psychology, and she knows the family well.

Interestingly on page 101 sh says that Alan Dershowitz at one time hired Roy Cohn as a lawyer.

Don’t think I had known that before.

William said...

Normal is also used to describe individual behaviour that conforms to the most common behaviour in society (known as conformity). ... Someone being seen as normal or not normal can have social ramifications, such as being included, excluded or stigmatized by larger society. › wiki › No...
Normality (behavior) - Wikipedia

If you have an abnormal temperature there is something wrong that needs to be fixed.

A Startrek episode showed a society where heterosexual was abnormal and needed to be fixed.

Joseph Cannon said...

My favorite dictionary is the American Heritage. Here is their definition of the noun "normal":

"The usual, expected, or standard state, form, amount, or degree: Temperatures have been above normal for this time of year."

If the temperature is 70 degrees on February 20 in Maine, the day is hotter than normal. Nobody would argue that 70 degrees is immoral or wrong. It's just not normal.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

"Remember: Impeachment resulted from a Big Smear attempt every bit as audacious as the one I am predicting here."

If you are referring to the impeachment of Bill Clinton, you might want to recall that at the time, the Swedish prime minister (whoever s/he was at that time) said something to the effect that Americans were lucky not to have more important things to worry about.

This time, we do have more important things to worry about than the Haruhi-damned Culture Wars--which will diminish anyway, as White Folks Without College diminish as a proportion of the electorate. They were 85% in 1968, 42% now. The GOP has gone all-in on appealing to that bloc of voters; this is why 1988 was the last year a Republican presidential candidate won a comfortable, indisputable victory. The GOP is paying the price for its donors' refusal to raise wages and working conditions to the point that native-born white Americans are willing to work for the donors.

If the Big Smear happens, only the Trump Chumps and a few fringey cranks will believe it, and the Trump Chumps were going to vote for Benedict Donald anyway.

The Culture Wars over which you obsess stand little chance against Donnie Two Scoops's abject failure to deal with Corona-chan, or with the economic slump she is causing.

To misquote Cyndi Lauper, Corona Changes Everything (and I don't mean the Mexican beer).

William said...

The definition of a word is dynamic. An acceptable definition of a word can be based on how society uses it. Conformity was normal for much of the 20th century.

Joseph Cannon said...

"If the Big Smear happens, only the Trump Chumps and a few fringey cranks will believe it..."

Ridiculous. If Maxwell accuses Biden or Bill Clinton of pedophilia, if a weepy "victim" accuses Biden or Clinton of pedophilia, if photographic or other evidence indicated Biden or Clinton of pedophilia, then the accusation will be believed by...well, by everyone.

(Except by the few who read these words and knew what to expect.)

The country is not going to vote for a someone who is believed to have had sex with the underaged. Period.

Of course, if that belief is widespread, then Biden would drop out and the candidate would be his vice presidential pick. (Right now, everyone seems to think it'll be Duckworth.) So the question is whether Duckworth could win in a situation when the Democratic brand is sullied so horrendously.

It's possible. But I strongly doubt it.

Stop being optimistic. Optimism is madness. That's the lesson I've taken away from every history book I've ever read.

William said...

Prepare for the worse and pray for the best.

Stephen Morgan said...

That's a story about the press reporting on a woman supposedly close to Maxwell, who turned out to be a fantasist. If the mainstream media won't do basic due diligence on something like that, we can probably expect little research into any accusations against Biden, or whoever.