October 28, 2016

"As the only person anyone knows who has spent time in a Zimbabwe jail, you should pen an oped calling for his killer’s extradition. What an asshole. Missed you at the mini-reunion."

Wikileaked email from John Podesta to Barry Bearak.

Bearak is a reporter who got thrown in prison in Zimbabwe as he was covering the elections there.

The "killer" in question was the man who killed Cecil the Lion.

I assume Podesta — writing for an audience of one — intended to be edgily hilarious. That's the trouble with eavesdropping. You don't get the relationship. You don't know the in-jokes. I mean, I was just giving some more thought to what I wrote about Chelsea Clinton's email to her parents that said "I hope this mini-behemoth is not rife with grammatical errors...." It could be that "mini-behemoth" is a joke among the 3 Clintons. Maybe one time they laughed over this obscure video. Or maybe they've fooled around with this toy.

Context is everything. Relationships are everything. In fact, the reason people cared about Cecil the Lion was because he wasn't just another lion — as the asshole/dentist killer thought — but a lion people had been relating to for many years.

You think with these leaks that you're getting into the private zone, hearing what really goes on, but that's exactly what you cannot do. You cannot be fair. I'm not saying don't read those leaked emails. Don't pretend you don't see what you do. But don't assume you know what they mean.

Here's Barry Bearak's report from 2008, "In Zimbabwe Jail: A Reporter’s Ordeal":

I was being charged with the crime of “committing journalism.” One of my captors, Detective Inspector Dani Rangwani, described the offense to me as something despicable, almost hissing the words: “You’ve been gathering, processing and disseminating the news.”...

“Don’t worry, whatever the cells are like I can handle it,” I told [my wife], attempting a tough guy’s bravado. I added a reporter’s inside joke. “Really, anything is better than having to file four stories a day for the Web site.”...

The cell was about 7 feet wide and 15 feet deep. Three bare shelves of rough concrete extended a body’s length from both of the longer walls. Only the top slab left enough space for a person to sit upright, albeit with slouched shoulders. There was a circle of concrete in a corner to be used as a toilet. Behind it was a faucet. Stephen tried the knob. It did not work.

The floor was filthy. The odor of human waste infected the air. More bothersome were the bugs. “Cockroaches the size of skateboards,” I quipped. This was hyperbole. The insects were mostly tiny and black, others short, white and wormy. We were soon sharing our clothes with them....

Sleep escaped me. The concrete was too hard, my body too bony. I had never so craved a pad and blanket. The insects were most annoying at night. In my wakefulness, I’d pull my sleeves over my hands but then the stretched fabric exposed my midriff.

One time, when able to wander the bleak corridors, I found what once had been a bathroom, with the remnants of sinks and showers. In one corner was a heap of blankets, stiff and moldy and fetid. I was tempted to take one but they were simply too disgusting. I wasn’t yet that cold or tired....

23 comments:

Owen said...

By this reasoning we can never know anything because there is always more context that is suppressed or neglected.

I think your idea explains or justifies too much.

But maybe I just miss the context.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

You think with these leaks that you're getting into the private zone, hearing what really goes on, but that's exactly what you cannot do. You cannot be fair... But don't assume you know what they mean.

In other words, don't assume that Grab them by the pussy is an admission of sexual assault?

Achilles said...

Private zone? Is that where you go to avoid FOIA requests?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Giving people the benefit of the doubt goes a long way toward being fair but it's been my experience that few people value that kind of fairness.

There's an evolutionary explanation, probably.

David Begley said...

Podesta is a reprehensible jerk. Don't give him the benefit of the doubt. Podesta is a leftist. He is in the camp of wildlife over persons. We must save the earth be eliminating people or making them poor.

Michael K said...

The "asshole" in that story was the guide who steered the dentist to Cecil the lion.

How was he supposed to know ? Oh, I know that hunting is evil but the enviros killed 10,000 elephants in Africa the last decade and it was all a mistake according to a TED talk.

Sorry, it was 40,000 elephants.

After shooting 40,000 elephants to prevent his local bit of savanna in Zimbabwe from dying—to no avail—Allan Savory was determined to find a better solution to desertification.

traditionalguy said...

Malthus redux. Won't they ever stop justifying an intentional murdering of weaker people and animals to save some ideal in their Globalist Imaginations?

n.n said...

Watergate reimagined with a conspiracy between State, Party, and Fourth Estate.

#CecileTheCannibal did not make the Party's e-mail list nor her enablers/guides.

Abortion rites advocates and environmental lobbies are enthusiastic about disarming and silencing unwanted human lives, and inconvenient animal lives, in a physical and virtual cloak of privacy.

n.n said...

Won't they ever stop justifying an intentional murdering of weaker people...

It's their first solution, their only solution, their final solution. That said, it's good for environmental stability, and keeps the unworthy off their lawns.

Yancey Ward said...

Well, dammit, Ignorance is Bliss! I came here to make exactly that point, and you beat me to it!

Ann Althouse said...

"In other words, don't assume that Grab them by the pussy is an admission of sexual assault?"

It's a statement about making sexual assaults. Doesn't necessarily mean he does it, but he talks about it, and we're left trying to figure out the extent to which it is a joke and if so, what kind of a joke. There is a lot that can be said about it. I didn't take the position that it means that Trump has done actual assaults. I think he was doing a relationship with Billy Bush and we caught a glimpse of it and can only speculate what the whole picture is.

If you think I assumed something, quote me.

Sigivald said...

Extradition?

for what crime?

Does this fool even know what extradition is or how it works?

Birkel said...

So upset at being called out, Althouse double posts and deletes the offending second post.

Birkel said...

Here's the thing you're missing, Althouse: Life is not lived in a courtroom. Nobody here has to prove a damned thing. We know you hyperventilated about Trump's private comments and called those words assault. Now you're making excuses for Chelsea.

You cannot help but be sympathetic, despite your best efforts, because you have a soft spot for the collectivist rag known as the New York Times.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

IiB firing for effect at 11:04!

Ignorance is Bliss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignorance is Bliss said...


If you think I assumed something, quote me.

Trump's statement — which is itself only words — is a confession to behavior.

Criminal behavior. Sexual assault.

Birkel said...

Althouse above: "It's a statement about making sexual assaults. ...If you think I assumed something, quote me.

Self-refutation.

"It's a statement" is true.

"...about making sexual assaults" is your assumption.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Birkel said...

Life is not lived in a courtroom. Nobody here has to prove a damned thing.

Chill out. The Professor's request for a quote is quite reasonable, since the precise wording is important, and people have often criticized her based not on what she said, but on their misrepresentation of it.

Birkel said...

You think I am not 'chill' because of those two sentences? Physician, heal thyself.

David said...

"You cannot be fair. I'm not saying don't read those leaked emails. Don't pretend you don't see what you do. But don't assume you know what they mean."

I know that they mean that these people are often petty, crass, manipulative and dismissive of others. And I'm pretty sure this is not an unfair characterization. It's not any single email that tells me this. It's the overall weight of all of them.

Do they ever discuss what the right thing to do is? No, it's all snark and politics. Reprehensible people.

AllenS said...

So far, from the Wikileaks business, there have been no Hillary emails. Have you noticed? Just emails from the "group". When the Hillary emails are released, I'm thinking we're going to find out just what an absolute crooked, lying asshole she is. Soon, people, soon.

John said...

I am so sick and tired of hearing people claim that what Trump said was sexually assaultive. (Looking at you, Ann. But many others as well)

He said that when one is a famous celebrity women will "...let you grab them by the pussy, whatever."

What part of a woman letting you do something do people not understand? If they let you, it means permission. If they let him grab their pussy (and as others point out there is no evidence he ever did) it is not assault. It is consensual.

Sheesh! I will be so glad when this election is over.

I'm going to be rocking out at a party in Trump Tower Chicago on election night. The tears of all the Crooked Hilary bots are going to be so, so, sweet. Glad I'll be on a high floor. There could be flooding!

John Henry