Saturday, December 11, 2021

Beyond Smollett


On January 29, 2019 gay actor Jussie Smollett had

told Chicago police he was physically attacked by two men in downtown Chicago while out getting food from a Subway restaurant at 2 a.m. The Black and openly gay actor tells authorities the men used racial and homophobic slurs, wrapped a rope around his neck and poured an "unknown substance" on him. Police say Smollett told detectives that the attackers yelled he was in "MAGA country," an apparent reference to former President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan. Police say Smollett had scratches on his face and bruises but no broken ribs or serious injuries.

There was no broken bone while there were scratches and bruises. Scratches and bruises, self-inflicted or otherwise, can heal and police unavoidably were skeptical there was such an attack.

Nonetheless, prominent celebrities and politicians were seemingly certain there had been a serious assault.  On the 29th, the tweet from national Democrats went up the political food chain, in chronological order from Representatives Eric Swallwell, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; to Senator Cory Booker; then from Senator Kamala Harris and, finally, former Senator and Vice President Joe Biden.  The attack, the account of which smelled like four-day old fish, was promptly and uncritically accepted (video below from 3-4 weeks later).

The incident was condemned by these individuals as "vile and tragic" (ES); "racist and homophobic" (AO-C); an "attempted modern-day lynching" (CB); an "attempted modern day lynching" of "one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know" (KH); "hate" given "safe harbor" (JB).

On Thursday, December 9, 2021 a Chicago jury found the actor guilty "on five of six felony counts of disorderly conduct for making a false report to Chicago police that he was the victim of a hate crime in January 2019 ." It evidently took the jury a little over nine hours to conclude that Jussie Smollett was, literally, unbelievable, an observation most Americans probably made upon hearing of the alleged attack.

It doesn't take a genius to realize- notwithstanding apparel that is worn- that supporters of Donald Trump and of "Make America Great Again" do not refer to themselves as from "MAGA country."  Critics may- they don't. And it didn't take a genius to realize that two pro-Trump right-wingers, racists, or any such persons who would wrap a rope around a man's neck, yell out a political slogan, pour an unknown substance on the victim, would manage to break no bones. Few people are so inept at the art of violence.

This thing obviously was a hoax from first report. Yet, several of the most well-known Democrats seemingly failed to recognize that Smollett's account deviated substantially and materially from objective reality. It may have been naivete, a rush to judgement, or combination thereof; or something even worse, a sorry impulse characterizing today's Democratic Party.

It's unclear why these politicos decided to jump in and endorse the story of an individual so obviously a huckster and unclear they'll be asked, given the lack of serious journalism in the USA today. However, in a time when the Republican Party has disturbingly made clear what it is all about, the public deserves to know the same about the other Party.



 




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