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August 08, 2015

So Much Drama in the D-J-T

Roger Stone says he's quit Trump; Trump says he was fired.

"Mr. Trump fired Roger Stone last night. We have a tremendously successful campaign and Roger wanted to use the campaign for his own personal publicity. He has had a number of articles about him recently and Mr. Trump wants to keep the focus of the campaign on how to Make America Great Again," a campaign spokesperson told CNN.

Stone, however, told CNN that he "categorically denies" being fired, and provided what he said was his resignation letter.

"Unfortunately, the current controversies involving personalities and provocative media fights have reached such a high volume that it has distracted attention from your platform and overwhelmed your core message. With this current direction of the candidacy, I no longer can remain involved in your campaign," the letter to Trump says.

Stone added: "I care about you as a friend and wish you well. Be assured I will continue to be vocal and active in the national debate to ensure our nation does not again turn to the failed and distrusted Bush/Clinton families."

RedState, meanwhile, disinvites Donald Trump from their 2015 Gathering.

Conservative commentator Erick Erickson on Friday night disinvited GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump from speaking at an activist conference he is hosting here this weekend, citing disparaging remarks Trump made hours earlier on CNN about Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Erickson said Trump had been scheduled to speak at his RedState gathering on Saturday at the College Football Hall of Fame, but he told Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, about an hour before midnight that Trump was no longer welcome.

Trump’s campaign said in a statement that Erickson’s decision was “another example of weakness through being politically correct. For all the people who were looking forward to Mr. Trump coming, we will miss you. Blame Erick Erickson, your weak and pathetic leader. We’ll now be doing another campaign stop at another location.”

Trump’s CNN interview Friday evening instantly drew controversy and criticism after he said Kelly, one of the moderators of Thursday’s Republican presidential debate in Cleveland, “had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

On Saturday morning, Trump tweeted that he was referring to Kelly's nose. His campaign also issued a statement, claiming Trump said "whatever" instead of "wherever," again repeating that the reference was to her nose.

I don't support this move by Erick Erickson or RedState. Let me explain.

First of all, there is of course a campaign on the left called "No Platforming." This is coordinated campaign to pressure groups to never invite anyone the Social Justice Warriors don't like to speak -- denying them the platform, hence, "No Platforming."

I think it is extremely short-sighted and contrary to the principles of Free Speech to engage in No Platforming ourselves.

I think it's clear that I'm not a supporter of Donald Trump. I routinely call him crude and boorish, and I don't say that in a friendly way.

However, Donald Trump is a bona-fide political actor, with a real constituency, and, who knows, perhaps even a real agenda, and I cannot support carrying the left's No Platforming tactics against him.

Legitimizing the tactic just guarantees it will be used all the more -- primarily against us.

I also don't think people should freak out over the "out of her eyes or out of her wherever" remark. Trump says he meant her nose. Do I believe him? I don't know either way. I've listened to the remark and I don't hear what I identify as the telltale vocal hints that someone is dropping a double entendre.

Make up a double entendre, like "You need your tires rotated? Yeah I'll rotate your tires for you" and listen to how your voice goes into a stagey, wink-wink Do You Understand What I'm Hinting At? mode.

I don't really hear that in Trump's voice.

Now, honestly, this strikes me as the sort of thing he might say, so I'm also not saying "He didn't mean that."

I'm saying honestly, we don't know with very strong evidence what he meant.

I'm also saying, equally honestly: Who gives a shit?

I am a major fan of Megyn Kelly. It is an unusual thing for a man to have hero worship for a woman -- not because women are not worth being considered heroes, but because no man, obviously, could literally emulate a woman in important ways, absent surgery and societal indulgence -- but I consider Megyn Kelly to be a straight-up superstar and role-model.

I have long been on Team Megyn. I continue to be on Team Megyn. (But being on Team Megyn does not mean I do not have criticisms of her; more on that later.)

As Trump would say of Megyn Kelly: She's a superstar, just fabulous, and incredible woman.

He might also say, correctly: She's tough. She's a killer.

And have no doubt about that last one: Megyn Kelly has guts. She delivered some of the toughest questions to Trump (and others), and she didn't emit an atom of timidity while doing so.

So here's the thing:

As much of a fan of Megyn Kelly's I am, I do not feel as if I should "White Knight" on behalf, nor do I feel that she needs such White Knighting.

Even if Donald Trump did intend to suggest she's on the rag: Oh for God's sakes, who cares.

Why do we continue to wind ourselves up in these childish, fake, contrived trivial microcontroversies?

I think it's for precisely the reason they are in fact trivial microconseversies -- we can spend our time and energy jacking ourselves over nothing.

Beats real work, don't it?

People love the trivial fake non-news news, because it gives them the illusion they're engaging with Real and Serious Issues, when in fact, they're just not.

This is easy peasy nonsense. It's so easy to have a Righteous Opinion over something so absurd.

Now, do I think it's proper or dignified to say of a respected, and properly lauded, newswoman that maybe she's on the rag if she gets a little tetchy in her questions?

No, I don't think it's proper.

But who the hell said we have to spend our lives being Proper at any time?

I had mixed feelings about Megyn Kelly's question at the time, and I still do. Yes, I conceded this was the sort of #WarOnWomen thing that would almost certainly be deployed against Trump by Democrats.

On the other hand, I said, myself, on the podcast, that I thought Megyn Kelly was being a bit of a "little PC bitch" to get into such silliness as name-calling.

Should I be cast out of the movement for that?

It was an attempt at.... I don't want to say a pure joke, because I meant what I was saying, but a lighthearted attempt to suggest that Megyn Kelly was being ticky-tack and Social Justice Warrior-y with this question.

Was "little PC bitch," said in a friendly, giggly tone, too cruel? Too much?

I don't know. I can only note what David Letterman said after his mean joke at Bristol Palin's expense -- "These are just jokes. I can't defend any of these." *

Jokes are inherently unfair. Almost all jokes are exaggerations. If they weren't exaggerations, we wouldn't call them jokes; we'd call them "factual statements."

So yes, in my case, I tried to be a little bit funny and a little bit rude while debating, with myself, the appropriateness of Megyn Kelly's "pigs" question, and I suppose I violated the Rules of Courtly Etiquette by suggesting she was being a bit of a "little PC bitch" by getting into this area.

Frankly, if I had to guess: I would guess that they really wanted to ask about the Ivanka Rape Claim, and the spokesman's very unfortunate claim about marital rape, but decided that would be "too hot," so they thought "What else could we ask along those lines?" and they came up with this as a compromise.

What we are doing here is feeding the beast here. This beast is the Outrage Beast, and it will eat each of us in turn unless we begin starving it so that it becomes weaker, smaller, and more manageable.

The "Eek! A Mouse!" crap is inherently censorious. How many times a week can we really be Outraged!!! by an off-color or unfair remark?

The rules of the game we are currently playing -- and we should not be playing it -- is that we must bring down the Social Disapproval of anyone who steps out of line, because, after all, if we don't destroy that person and publicly shame him and deny him a platform, his behavior "reflects on us."

That is complete bullshit. I used to say that myself, but a long time ago Warden and/or Empire of Jeff told me what silly little PC bitch I was being in trying to patrol the speech of complete strangers to make sure all of it was in complete accordance with the standards of Upwardly Mobile Middle Class Propriety.

In particular, I was getting on that idiot old biddy who asked McCain if Obama was a "terrorist" at a rally. I got very upset, very Little PC Bitch, shouting at Invisible Enemies that you must keep a polite mouth on you, lest The Cause be damaged, because everyone's speech reflects on everyone else.

No it does not.

If you accept that any action or speech by any other person "reflects on you," that puts you into quite a bind: Because, in order to keep from any other person's speech from "reflecting on you," you must yourself take your turn as The Censor, and, have no doubt either -- you must also take your turn as The Censored as well.

No one's actions or speech reflects on you but your own. Well, okay, your spouse reflects on you, and your kids, and your closest friends.

And that's it. No one should ever worry that speech by some Random Stranger from Jerkwater Flats "reflects on him."

That is how our Inner Censor gets its justification for censoring some people.

I think speech should be met with speech. Trump's speech was -- assuming he meant what he may or may not have meant -- boorish and crude. It also, sure, was a "gendered" attack on woman.

Can we not use our words to express our displeasure with this statement then?

Do we all collectively believe words to be such insignificant things that they are simply altogether inadequate for purposes of self-expression?

And that, then, if we wish to express ourselves, we must put our silly insignificant words to one side and engage in real communication, actions, that is, non-speech, consisting of coordinated ostracism, no platforming, and all the rest of it?

Everyone online -- including commenters -- is a Writer. Even YouTubers are writers.

Why are Writers so contemptuous of the power of Words?

If you find Trump's comments and their alleged meaning crass, boorish, ugly, and ungallant -- why is simply saying so dismissed as so inadequate to that end? **

One last point, a short one: I am also tired of our Cohort's endless fascination with Political Celebrities. This is yet another dispute in which people quickly stop talking about ideas -- things like probity, decorum, actual equality of the sexes (i.e., should Megyn Kelly be granted any special protection? No one complained when Trump called Frank Luntz a loser slob), proportion and freedom of expression in order to get to what really interests us -- selecting which Political Celebrity, Megyn Kelly or Donald Trump, is our Fave Rave, as Tiger Beat used to say.

Again, I am on Megyn Kelly's side if the question is who I would like people to think of when they think of my cohort. She's classy, unlike Trump, she's bright as hell, she's articulate, and yes, she's pretty easy to look at .

But this is not really about "Megyn Kelly vs. Donald Trump" -- or rather, it is that, but only in the lowest, basest, easiest way.

We seem to talk a lot about our "ideas" and how ideas matter, but then we spend an awful lot of time demonstrating we don't believe that at all.

My Criticism of Megyn Kelly: Trump claimed the litany of insults he dropped on women (and why weren't his many, many insults of men discussed? seems to suggest he's an Equal Opportunity Asshole, not a misogynist) were about Rosie O'Donnell.

Megyn Kelly said that wasn't true -- that the remarks she read went "well beyond" the Rosie O"Donnel Matter.

Well, I linking Vox (and I can't believe I'm linking Vox), I don't know about that "well beyond" thing. It is true that several of the insults did not involve Rosie O'Donnell -- but most of them were about Rosie O'Donnell, and some of the ones not involving her (such as Trump calling a woman he was apparently in some kind of lawsuit with "disgusting") rely on one interested party's claims.

The one about Trump saying it would be a pretty picture to see a Playboy Bunny on her knees?

Well, I wouldn't say that of my accountant, but if a woman is in the business of posing sexily for men, I don't think that kind of comment is the worst possible thing.

It's not a classy thing to say, and no woman likes the sexual attentions of a man she doesn't herself have an interest in.

But ugly, unappealing guys don't necessarily know they're ugly and unappealing, and the rule can't be that they should just know they can never drop a double-entendre with a woman.

That said: Seriously, Guys, don't drop double-entendres with women plainly beyond your Romantic Kickstarter Reach Goals. You will make them uncomfortable and get labeled an Ugly Creepster. Always make sure you have a genuine flirtatious rapport with a woman before saying anything with more than one entendre to it.

In short, while Kelly is technically right that the comments included some not involving Rosie O'Donnell, I think her claim that the comments went "well beyond" O'Donnell is, how do I put this, Trumped up.

I think they just went on the lookout for non Rosie comments, and couldn't find many, thus necessitating including that lawyer's claim about him calling her "disgusting."

Personally, I would never included such a quote from an interested party, especially where I didn't know the context.

The Gail Collins thing -- oy vey, that one's.... well, I don't know about "misogynist," but it is a window into Donald Trump's soul.

Criticisms aside -- and my long-held belief that she's always going to be a voice of the Establishment -- I think she's a superstar.

But I don't put her on a pedestal, because no one should be on a pedestal, except maybe your parents, spouse, and children. (And even there -- I don't know about that.)


* I wrote about this at some length (shocker, huh?) in the Limbaugh/Fluke matter.

** For example, if Red State editors signed a group letter criticizing Trump and reminding them that many consider courtliness and manners to be part of conservativism (that bit about the conservation of civilization), that would have sufficed.

In addition, Trump would have, no doubt, immediately have canceled out of the event (calling you "fat slobs and losers," naturally).

So even if you were looking to not have Trump present -- I think simply criticizing him would have achieved that.



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posted by Ace at 07:06 PM

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