Thursday, January 23, 2020

Hot Lesbian Never Trumper Action Here!

File under: "History is Not Your Mommy".

A few days ago I noticed that all three of these Clinton-era three hobgoblins were top trending on Twitter and I had to double-check to make sure it wasn't 1995.

Nope. Still 2020.  Damn.

So put a pin in that and lets jump back in time a little more than 26 centuries to talk for a minute about history's most famous lesbian -- Sappho of Lesbos -- who was, during her time, one of the most popular and prolific lyric poets in ancient Greece.  Statues were erected in her honor.  Solon and Plato gave stirring speeches to her genius. She was considered Homer's equal, and frequently referred to simply as "The Poetess", just as Homer was "The Poet".

And yet today almost nothing is known of her life and of the 10,000 lines of her poetry -- which was widely read in antiquity -- only a few fragments survive.

Today, with a few clicks of the mouse from anywhere on the planet I could have a dozen different translations of Homer's  Iliad and Odyssey shipped to my home, so how exactly did Sappho's work suddenly all but vanish from history during 9th century?

One story holds that her collected works were put to the torch by leaders of the Catholic Church because they disapproved of her morals.  A more likely and less dramatic (but no less devastating) explanation is that copying manuscripts was hard work that used up a lot of papyrus, and the celibate, male, Catholic monks who were charged with preserving the written works on antiquity decided that the brilliant work of a long-dead lesbian poetess was not worth recording and passing along to future generations.

Because history is not a law of nature.

History is not physics. History is not plumbing.

And history is definitely not your Mommy.

History is not here to break up your stupid fights or clean up your messes.  It's not history's job to comfort you with promises of retroactively balancing the scales of justice decades from now.  History is not here to tell you that you're wonderful when the world knows you're not.  History is not here to comfort you with fairy tales about how, in the larger scheme of things, all the shit you did really wasn't so bad when the world knows it was.

Pick whichever quote you like --
"History is a set of lies agreed upon." -- Napoleon Bonaparte.

"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." -- Winston Churchill.

"They got a name for the winners in the world.  I want a name when I lose." -- Steely Dan.
-- but it all comes down to the same thing.  "History" is what gets passed along.  "History" is whatever those with the power to interpret events and stamp their interpretation as "Official" chose it to be.  "History" is a brutal, never-ending barroom brawl over who gets to decide what really happened and why it really happened.

And right now the American political media is doing what they have always done in the face of existential threats to our democracy which they helped to create: expending enormous institutional energies to make sure that history lets them and their friends and fellow travelers off the hook.

Consider this chummy tribunal of well-paid, media insiders warning that naughty people may be laughing now, but the Righteous Judgement of History will definitely come for them and boy howdy are they gonna be sorry!

Rush transcript, with emphasis added:
MIKE BARNACLE:  Everything we're talking about, Parnas, Pompeo, Pence, Trump, all of this is being recorded by an element among us called history. In terms of history, the snap of a finger. The behavior of the Republicans in the united states senator in 1974, it's literally a first.

So my question to you, and to you, too, Rick, is what has happened to the institution, not just the Republicans, but specifically now in the Senate Republicans, what has happened to our institutions is Trump slowly altering things, maybe forever in this country?

RICK WILSON:  I wouldn't say slowly.

[OFF CAMERA] Hope not.

RICK WILSON:  Barnacle, I would say he's altered them profoundly and swiftly. The idea of standing up for your state or your district for a Republican particularly is gone. You're judged only if you're loyal to Trump or not. That's the only scoring system in the Republican party. And he has reduced Washington to this corrupt and sort of corrupted environment. Sort of corrupted environment.

KURT BARDELLA:  I think about being not just history like 1974, but their own history. I remember when he was investigating Benghazi. He put out a report saying security is a priority and the administration failed, that's why we're doing the investigation, that's why we are investigating Hillary Clinton. Where is that Mike Pompeo now when someone's security, an ambassador's, has been compromised? Where is Jim Jordan who was on that committee? All these Republicans turned away from their own history, it wasn't that long ago. It was six years ago they were doing this.

SCARBOROUGH:  As a "Morning Joe" contributor, give our viewers a firsthand look back to what it was like when it was Republicans that were investigating Barack Obama. The hypocrisy is staggering.

BARDELLA:  It is so different. I was thinking about the interview last night with Parnas. If something like that was going on when we were in charge of Congress, we would have had a subpoena out that night, wouldn't have waited until the next day. During that interview you would have breaking news, House Republican Darrell Issa subpoenas for testimony. When anything happened that hinted of potential scandal or impropriety with Obama, Republicans were the first to issue subpoenas, have hearings, do closed-door depositions, things they rail about now, they were a big fan of closed-door depositions when they were the majority, it is complete hypocrisy, seeing a different standard. Frankly, we never had close to the volume of evidence that we have now when we were going after them.
When I look at this clutch of media insiders, I spy with my little eye ... one longtime aide to Darrel Issa and former member of the Breitbart goon squad ... one human husk and plagiarist who is now in charge of refilling the Morning Joe Both Sides Do It water cooler every day (or, it is rumored, he is whipped through the streets by Mika Brzezinski) ... one straight-up, life-long Republican ratfucker who found that credulous Liberals would give him more wealth and fame and influence than he ever dreamed possible if he called Donald Trump a shithead ... and two hosts who boost Donald Trump's campaign ointo orbit by giving him million of dollars in free publicity and soft-soap "interviews" on their teevee show.

And all of them have clearly escaped the the Righteous Judgement of History by a very wide margin.

Or consider the case of George Conway, who made his bones as a pro-cancer lawyer working for Big Tobacco and as one of the Republican goons who tried to blow up the Clinton presidency by any means necessary.  Husband to Kellyanne Conway.  Running buddies with Anne Coulter.  And here he is now, cozy in his media sinecure, issuing dire warnings about how Righteous Judgement of History will surely come for naughty people in, oh, five or ten years...

Or consider the case of a sweaty, bipedal  rodent named Reince Priebus who, if the Righteous Judgement of History were actually a thing, would be spending the rest of his miserable life going door-to-door begging the forgiveness of the American people.  But instead:

CBS hires Reince Priebus, whose firms work for the GOP, the Trump Organization, and lobbying clients

Reince Priebus is a Republican operative who is best-known for his humiliating tenure as President Donald Trump’s first White House chief of staff. Priebus now holds senior roles at affiliated lobbying and legal firms; his law firm is connected to the Trump Organization and has collected over $280,000 in fees from GOP campaign groups such as the Republican National Committee.

Despite all that, CBS News announced on January 22 that the network has hired Priebus as a political analyst. He appeared on its coverage of the Senate impeachment trial, where he was the only political operative guest and his conflicts of interest went undisclosed...
Or consider that Ken Starr still walks the Earth and is solicited for his opinions.

Or consider all the time and money David Gregory and NBC spent making sure that Newt Gingrich's career was completely fenced off from the Righteous Judgement of History and his reputation was immediately rehabilitated every time he said or did something which should have gotten him run out of civilized society on a rail.

Or hell, just consider all the Bush Regime scutwork myrmidons -- creatures like David Frum, David Brooks, Michael Gerson, Bill Fucking Kristol, Peggy Noonan, Joe Scarborough, Marc Thiessen, Bretbug Stephens and Hugh Hewitt  (and yes, I know the complete list is much longer) -- who walked away from the bloody and monstrous catastrophes they helped to author with nary a paper cut from the Righteous Judgement of History.  Who, in fact, walked straight into promotions and tenured positions in the Beltway media where no one would dare to be rude enough to bring up their horrifically inconvenient past.

Appeals to the Judgement of History to balance the scales of justice at some point in the future are like appeals to an Almighty God to send bad people to hell.  At best, they provide comfort to the powerless and oppressed.  But at worst, they are the alibis of cowards who want to outsource the hard work of fixing shit here-and-now -- of holding monsters accountable here-and-now -- to imaginary people far in the future (who will apparently be very much better and wiser than we are), or to an all-powerful deity in the hereafter.

As for me, whenever I catch the antics of Bush Regime dead-enders yucking it up on cable teevee, or being paid to pass off their shopworn drivel as profundity in America's major newspapers, I wonder how anyone can continue to believe that eventually the Righteous Judgement of History will catch up with Conservative assholes.

Because as long as the Beltway media puts the full might of its "Strategic Forgettery" machinery behind helping these ghouls and grifters walk away from their crimes against journalism and democracy unscathed over and over again, the  Righteous Judgement of History might as well give up and go pick blueberries for a living.

History Is Bunk!


Rick 6V6 said...

Wow. That was freakin great! Kodos.
Long-time reader/listener here, and I'm not very eloquent or "bright" like you and Blue Gal- but I just had to give a physical "HOORAH" to this bit 'o wisdom.
Sure, you do stuff like this all the time; I suspect the past few days (weeks, years, decades) just finally put me in the mood to chime in...
(Anyway- great work, I appreciate you most always, carry on, I'll of course be sharing this, and most of all- Cheers.)

Anonymous said...

It really is a shame that your work is not available in a more widely publicized way, like TV.

At the least, I'd love to see you as a frequent guest on Rachel Maddow's, Bill Maher's show or similar venues, where you can speak out and be heard by millions.

The problem with the blogosphere is that people tend to only visit writers with who they agree. It still has value for the believers but doesn't spread the word enough.

Thanks for being so good.

rapier said...

You should submit this to the NY Times. I know I know. They have been giving fascism a more than fair hearing for over 90 years but a politically incorrect non fascist? No way.

Mrs. Chippy said...

^^ what both of them said. Huzzah, indeed.

Anonymous said...

I think they talk about fearing 'the awesome judgement of future historians' in the same way village priests talked to people about hell in France in 650. There are lots of big Words, and eternal damnation sounds really bad, BUT everybody knows that nobody ever writes back from Hell to confirm just how bad it is.
When we look at the present day awesome judgement of working historians, it doesn't really seem all that bad.
We are taught to mourn Caesar and the collapse of the Empire, we think the Templars and Crusaders were heroes - tales of Viking rape and pillage (true, exaggerated and fabricated from Whole cloth all at the same time) are just a cost of doing business.
In any bookstore you can find shelf-yards of books on 'how the Holocaust could/did happen' or 'racism and slavery are the double helix of American DNA' paired with another shelfyard of texts about how Grandpa/that Pope were really the Good Nazis, and Southern Culture is about pickup trucks, a banjo in straight 4-4 time, drinkin' Jack Daniels from the bottle and opening doors for the wimminfolk.
Yes, indeed, Caesar is devastated today by Cleo's cleansing scourge, as are Andrew Jackson, George Custer, and the Bobbys: E. Lee and Strange MacNamara. No wonder the two Senators from KY cringe and cower at the thought of that future gavel.

Yrs, from the Arctic Socialist Hellscape of Waffles and Brown Cheese - JTO

Pagan in repose said...

They are all just like the arsonist who stands in the crowd watching the building burning down and decrying how such a thing could happen.

Maybe there will be some of our species left to read "history" and these sewer clogs will not be listed among the original arsonists. But as the world burns and drowns and the garbage dump we used to refer to as the ocean fills with more toxic waste and with the earth unable to sustain our inflicted damage to it for our species to survive, hopefully there will be enough other species left to walk over and and crap on our "recorded history of the time of the homo sapiens."

"Homo sapiens is the only extant human species. The name is Latin for "wise man" and was introduced in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus (who is himself the lectotype for the species)." From Wikipedia just for the humor of it.

Great writing as usual Driftglass, clean and swift. One more thing, we men have been treating women as second class citizens for over ten thousand years or more so it is not so unusual for their art, voices, writing, contributions and more are over looked destroyed and not recorded, and it has not ended yet.

If only justice wasn't just a seven letter word.

Pardon my grumpy old man grumpy grump. It is just that day by day it gets harder and harder to hold back the urge to puke.

Love and kisses and a happy new year.

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