Thursday, May 26, 2016
A Couple of Observations about Wrongdoing
Those of us old enough to remember Whitewater would prefer to forget. In a pistachio shell, the Clintons, while in Arkansas, invested some money in a real estate deal. The promoter turned out to be a sleazebag, and they lost their investment. That is all.
But the New York Times, which for reasons unknown hated the Clintons, produced a long-form investigative piece (written by Jeff Gerth, whose inexplicabe, irrational hatred for Hillary Clinton is as boundless as Donald Trump's ego), which insinuated that the Clintons had somehow been guilty of wrongdoing in the affair. The piece actually made no sense and added up to nothing, but was extremely convoluted and sufficiently difficult to follow that few readers bothered to deconstruct it and figure out that it was a complete nothingburger.
Michael Tomasky tells the story of what happened next. Briefly, a hyperpartisan pathological liar named Kenneth Starr wound up being appointed as a special prosecutor by a panel controlled by ultraconservative judges, and spent 3 years persecuting and tormenting everybody associated with the Clintons and finding absolutely nothing. Then Monica Lewinsky happened, so he switched to that, and we got impeachment.
Starr is now the president of Baylor University. He has suddenly taken to praising Bill Clinton for some inexplicable reason -- to which Clinton's friend say no thanks. He has also (okay, allegedly) swept sexual assaults by Baylor football players under the rug, for which he may (we are all desperately hoping) end up losing his job.*
Meanwhile, Ronald T. Dump is planning to dredge up the Whitewater hoax as a campaign tactic. Since the corporate media has never accepted that it was, in fact, a hoax, since that would embarrass them, it will probably work.
So, in politics the simulacrum is as good as the reality. Or as Cokie says, it doesn't matter if it's true or not, it's out there.
Turning now to the world of art, a Manhattan gallery sold $80 million worth of works by such modern luminaries as Motherwell, Pollock and Rothko which were in fact painted by a Chinese immigrant in a garage in Queens. Now that this is known, the paintings are worthless. But they are in fact the same paintings they were when they were worth $80 million -- to some of the most discerning collectors on earth.
Think about it, it must mean something.
*Update: They kicked him upstairs. Once you're a big enough asshole, there's no way to fall but up.