Kim Davis, Peeple and the Breathalyzer Raccoon

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Nobody’s perfect. Nobody’s impeccable or inerrant. Not even the pope, right? (Catholic doctrine says the pope is only infallible when, essentially, he says he is.)

Our culture panel The Nose is struggling this week with the Y’allta summit between Kim Davis and Pope Francis. The latest from the Vatican is: don’t make too much of it:

“The pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis, and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said in a statement released on Friday morning.

That fits with a slightly more Nixonian (or Segrettian?) theory by Charlie Pierce, who speculates that the U.S. papal nuncio and a cabal of Ratzinger sympathizers hip-checked Pope Francis out into the whirl of the culture wars by walking Davis into the room with him, thus undermining Francis’s overall message of socio-economic justice. It’s entirely possible, and Pierce makes a good case. Or it could just be lousy staff work. After four decades of reporting, I’m convinced that, when public figures say or do something really stupid or embarrassing, 65 percent of the time it’s bad staff work. The famous guy doesn’t know as much as we think he does. He depends on his staff. Francis, much of the time, seems to be writing his own scripts, but maybe not so much on a dizzying U.S. tour.

Or you can believe, as one of our panelists does, that the secret Davis meeting is the reality, and the Pope of Good Feelings is the deceit. I know the canonization of Junipero Serra will come up in this context.

Historians agree that he forced Native Americans to abandon their tribal culture and convert to Christianity, and that he had them whipped and imprisoned and sometimes worked or tortured to death.

Having lived through the ’60s, I thought a deeper loss of faith in institutions would be unlikely, but I think we’re living through one now. I saw “Black Mass” last night with my son, who did not share my level of indignation at FBI agent John Connolly Jr.’s culpability in White Bulger’s crimes. He told me he doesn’t count on law enforcement to choose the righteous path.

So what replaces the old institutions? The rule of the mob! This week we’re also talking about Peeple, an app that will be, in one writer’s words, “basically Yelp, but or humans. “ Actally, everybody uses that analogy.

Peeple, the app, is the Yelp for, well, people. You use it to rate your fellow human beings based on things like their personalities, their professionalism, and how good they are at dating. There’s no opt-out, either. If you are drawing breath, someone—anyone—with the app can rate you and there’s nothing you can do about it.

You will be weighed and measured and probably found wanting.

I’m going to repost this link, because there’s another irony here. The masses, who are going to be entrusted with the evaluation of human beings, are easily confused by two things with the same name.

The masses are also easily tricked. They believed in Breathalyzer raccoon. RocketRaccoonThey retweeted a Harry Potter apartment that probably isn’t real.  And we know from yesterday that people will believe a falsehood. A former president explains how this is done:  “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”

Who will save us? Geniuses, of course. We want to talk on the show about whether the MacArthur grants are a good thing.



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