Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Placing Trust Where Warranted

For what little it's worth, I trust evolution to continue operating as it always has. Hundreds of millions of years from now, some or other current-day insect or squid or may evolve to replace our species, which by then we ourselves will have driven to extinction. When that happens, and when they sift through the archaeological evidence, they'll be right to wonder how an organism like NBC's David Gregory was ever possible. Glennzilla:

[O]bserve Gregory's complete inability even to understand the concept of arms-length, verification-based accountability (h/t Stuart Zechman):
MR. GREGORY: You were quoted this week saying this isn't a very sympathetic figure, Tony Hayward.

MR. AXELROD: Yes.

MR. GREGORY: Does the president trust this guy?

MR. AXELROD: Well, look, it's not a matter of who -- we, we -- it's not a matter of trust. We have to verify what they're doing, we have to stay on them, and we have from the beginning. That's why we want this escrow account. I'm not here to, to make judgments about any individual's character, but we do know that they have pecuniary interests that may be in conflict with, with the interests of, of our interests, and we...

MR. GREGORY: But, but let --but...

MR. AXELROD: ...need to make sure that the interests of people in the Gulf are protected. That is what our job is.

MR. GREGORY: But this is a straightforward question. If you are in partnership with somebody -- and make no mistake, the government is in partnership with BP to get this problem solved -- does the, does the president of the United States trust the man on the other end who is leading this operation?

MR. AXELROD: Our, our mission here is to hold them accountable in, in every appropriate way, and that is what we're going to do. I, I'm not -- I don't consider them a, a, a partner, I don't consider them -- they're not social friends, they're not -- I'm not looking to make judgments about their soul. I just want to make sure that they do what they're required to do.

MR. GREGORY: Do you trust them to get the job done? Yes, no or maybe?

MR. AXELROD: We're going to make sure they get the job done.

MR. GREGORY: But it doesn't sound like there's a lot of faith there at the moment.

MR. AXELROD: Well, our job is to hold them accountable, David, and that's what we're going to do.
Axelrod is explaining exactly what the media is supposed to do concerning political officials if they are going to fulfill the function they like to pretend they have, and Gregory is simply incapable even of understanding what's being explained.
I trust David Gregory to be a raving moron for the rest of his natural life, or more exactly, to continue demonstrating that he is the product of a historically-driven ideological winnowing process that favors his precise confusions.

The idea Axelrod is trying to convey is not a difficult one. Any child can understand perfectly well the idea of holding someone accountable by observing and measuring their deeds against a definite standard, e.g., will the student complete his math assignment by completing all of the problems by 9am the next morning, or will he not? Holding the student accountable entails examining what (if anything) the student turns in by 9am the next morning. There's no question of interpersonal trust between teacher and student or vice-versa touching on the student's accountability; whether the teacher "trusts" the student to complete the assignment is beside the point. I feel a little stupid even summarizing and illustrating the idea.

It requires ideology to be as stupid as Gregory is here -- millions of gallons of stupid. If the earth hosts a next intelligent species, may it find a way past elevating and privileging such astonishing, drenching inanity.

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