Monday, July 3, 2017

Blood Libel: Donald Trump, Mika Brezinski, Genesis 9.5 (and Leviticus et al. passim)

I'm not going to write a formal post on the subject — with a draft on MS-Word and revision and proofreading and all that — but this much I'll add to the commentary on Donald Trump's tweet of 29 June 2017 on Joe Scarborough and Mika Brezinski, as reported on Business Insider: "I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"

To tweak for the tweet an old snarky comment: we knew Trump was a bully and sexist when the Electoral College hired him, so we have only a limited right to complain. Even allowing that limitation, however — and as an American I claim complaining as a God-given right, Constitutionally protected — even allowing that limitation, there are three serious problems with the tweet, in addition to its being a tweet (and sorry folks, but the President of the United States shouldn't be tweeting, period, except maybe an occasional "Happy Thanksgiving" or such).

First, blood comes with taboos in our culture and others: Biblically, it's the life of an organism and forbidden as human food in God's covenant with Noah. (So religious folk all upset over homosexuality shouldn't speak on the subject while eating blood sausage.) On the positive side, as the life of the organism it's a crucial point of Christian communion: "Take; drink." / "for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins." And there are concerns with menstrual blood in the cultures of the Israelites and Jews and others.

Trump's mentions of blood, though, are unusual nowadays, and creepy.

They move from creepy into dangerous with at least two other considerations.

That Mika Brezinski and Joe Scarborough would track down Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago three nights running would indicate a great need to get to Mr. Trump; that they'd do it while Brezinski was undergoing complications from surgery would make them nearly desperate to contact him.

Whatever else was going on, such insistent attempts would indicate either pathetic stalking or a pathetic attempt to get to the Mr. Trump for one reason or another. As an absolute certainty, it would indicate a power relationship in which Mr. Trump is the superior.

Trump is the President of the United States; it's weird he'd brag about power in such a relatively trivial relationship.

It's weirder that he'd brag in such a way that he can be easily and quickly be shown to be lying.

Mike Brezinski is a TV personality only, so she's without significant power; she does have significant exposure and people could see whether or not "She was bleeding badly from a face-lift" on or about New Year's 2016/17. News outlets simply need to publish a photo, such as this one.

People lie for many reasons. For a person in power to tell a blatant lie is a power move. As George Orwell and Eric Hoffer pointed out primarily about "the old monster," Stalin — descriptive phrase from a Marxist opponent of Stalinism — Stalin's twists and turns functioned among other things to make intellectuals go into contortions to follow the Party Line. And more normal folk would have to show their faith in the great leader by showing it as unquestioning faith, ignoring logic and reason and sometimes their senses.

If "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four," then Power is the power to get people to say, and ultimately believe, otherwise. If Trump says Brezinski "was bleeding badly from a face-lift," that is that, whatever photos and other witnesses might say. For authoritarians and totalitarians and bullies and power-freaks from Shakespeare's farcical sexist Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew (4.5) to tragedy-producing tyrants: for their inferiors "To rely on the evidence of the senses and of reason is heresy and treason" (The True Believer, §56).

And that means heresy against the word of the leader and treason as disloyalty, e.g.,  to assert that Mika Brezinski wasn't bleeding.

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