Friday, September 27, 2019

Post in Lieu of Comment

As I have lamented before, I can't post comments on Blogger from my computer; I have to do it from my phone, a tedious process involving "thumbing" virtual keys.


So this is in part a comment on this post, but it's an idea running through my head.  The idea is that, every time I read something about Ukraine and Biden, it turns into something about Russia and propaganda.  The idea that Joe Biden helped Hunter out by acting on behalf of several European countries and the IMF to get rid of a corrupt holdover from Communist days, in order to foster democracy in Ukraine and stop an investigation of the gas company which wasn't under investigation at the time, is, of course, farcical.  Not only is there "no evidence" for it (Lord save us from any further "both siderism" on that subject!), the whole thing is a fabrication of Russian trolls.  As we've had occasion to notice before on this blog, Donald Trump sits atop the greatest source of intelligence and information in the known world, and yet he gets his information from rumor mongers and idiots and his notion of "patriots" from Steve Bannon (the last UN speech is a side bar, here, but still it's all of a piece!).  Or, I could just post this:

What comes unbidden to mind every time I read about Russian propaganda, which is still thriving and drove Trump to seek a unicorn, a chimera, a manticore, is the final scene from "The Monsters Are Coming to Maple Street," where the aliens discuss the success of their experiment at terrifying a small group of humans and turning them against each other in a matter of hours.  As the scene makes clear, the street is isolated in the larger town, but the implication is clear, too:  it only takes a spark to get a fire going.

Maybe all this Russian propaganda will lead to a conflagration; but I still don't think so.  What I think is a handful of people, self-isolated (as the neighbors were by the time the sun set) can be tormented into believing any nonsense (torment is not necessarily physical, mind).  And someone manipulating them, watching as they react and adjusting to their reactions, truly has a superior technology, as the aliens did in the "Twilight Zone" episode.

Or at least they're using it in a very effective way.  Not that it's effective against everyone, but it doesn't have to be.  And the limits of that effectiveness are now becoming clear:  even the NYT has stopped talking about "no evidence," as if it were a question of some waiting to be discovered.  Most news outlets dismiss the claims against Biden as lies and nonsense, and even propaganda.  A near majority of the people, per polling, now think an impeachment inquiry (at least) is appropriate.  Trump and Giuliani are providing a host of witnesses against them even as they try to defend themselves.  And, back to the comment part of this post, Nancy Pelosi has given Trump enough rope to hang himself.  As the camera pulls back on that scene in the TV show, we see a street full of madness in a calm and composed city, and we wonder what happens when the sun rises and that street rejoins the community of streets around them.  Yes, the ability to terrorize so easily is frightening; but what is reassuring is that it takes a very specific set of circumstances to make that work.

And that specific set of circumstances is very easily undone by the rest of the calm and rational world.

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