October 8, 2020

Was the fly on Mike Pence's hair divine intervention?

This is a question that occurred to me as I was recording my reading of the previous post — "Was there any discussion of 'systemic racism' during the debate?," — which has a bit to say about the fly that landed and lingered on Mike Pence's hair during the debate. It made it hard to listen to what Pence was saying, which I see, reading the transcript, was trenchant and substantive. Was the fly a meaningless, random occurrence or could it have been divine intervention? 

Surely, an omnipotent deity, if He cared about the outcome of American elections, could simply cause the person he wanted to win. Why would he merely put a thumb on the scales as We the People weigh the choices? And such a tiny thumb, a little fly, so lightweight that it made no impression on the mind of Pence as it stood staunchly on the man's silvery coif! He had no idea of that thing as he burbled about respect for our earthly justice system. Yet perhaps it tipped the election. Who can know?!

But I had divine intervention on my mind after what Trump said yesterday (transcript):
Hi, perhaps you recognize me? It’s your favorite president. And I’m standing in front of the Oval Office at the White House... A short 24 hours [after receiving the drug Regeneron], I was feeling great, I wanted to get out of the hospital and that’s what I want for everybody. I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president because I feel great. I feel like perfect. So I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it. This was a blessing in disguise. I caught it. I heard about this drug. I said, “Let me take it.” It was my suggestion. I said, “Let me take it,” and it was incredible the way it worked.... You’re going to get better. You’re going to get better fast, just like I did. So again, a blessing in disguise....

I blogged that video yesterday, here, and then — because it was thematically relevant — I added video of the aged actress Jane Fonda saying "I just think COVID is God’s gift to the Left." So, people are talking about divine intervention. It's an idea that landed on my head and has been lingering — depositing eggs of ideas, one might say, to extend the metaphor. 

By the way, look what The New Yorker put in its crossword on Monday:

23 Down: "________ Jane, celebrity epithet of 1972." So many possible clues for "Hanoi." They had to want to go there. Is it, for them, just a funny old nugget of pop culture? 

Anyway, back to the question whether divine intervention could come in the form of a fly? I think of the play "The Flies" ("Les Mouches") by Jean-Paul Sartre. This is something that occurred to me as I was reading the previous post out loud, but I couldn't talk about the play off the top of my head — my almost certainly flyless head. I hadn't read it in 50 years. I had to end the recording and find some sort of recap. I'll use this, randomly:
Sartre revamped the Orestes story... by adding Zeus as an ironic and despicable character, a plague of large flies fouling the wretched city of Argos....  Clytemnestra calls it a quarantine, "a sort of pestilence" others are afraid of being infected by....

Quarantine! That resonates. At the time of the play, 1943, the idea of pestilence was associated with the Nazi occupation of France. 

Ah! Here's the whole text of the play. Excerpt:

THE TUTOR: This Argos is a nightmare city.... These charming insects.... Now leave us in peace, you buzzers. We know you like us, but we've had enough of you. . . . Where can they come from? They're as big as bumble-bees and noisy as a swarm of locusts.... 
ZEUS: They are only bluebottles, a trifle larger than usual. Fifteen years ago a mighty stench of carrion drew them to this city, and since then they've been getting fatter and fatter. Give them another fifteen years, and they'll be as big as toads.... Don't blame the gods too hastily. Must they always punish? Wouldn't it be better to use such breaches of the law to point a moral? 
ORESTES. And is that what they did? 
ZEUS: They sent the flies. 
THE TUTOR. The flies? How do the flies come in? They are a symbol....

The gods sent the flies... but what do the flies mean? Ironically, right now, a dog named Zeus is crying at me, and I have no idea what he means.  

I stopped my reading of this post into the recording that will be today's podcast. I'm hoping to get a better idea of how to bring this post in for a landing, like a tiny insect alighting on a Vice President's silvery hair. 

If God does protrude into our natural-seeming world to send messages, would he send a fly? Who can know? But I do remember that in the New Testament, when Jesus is baptized, God sends a little flying creature into the scene:

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

A dove is not a fly. But the debate was an indoor event. A dove — or any sort of bird — would have caused quite the ruckus. It certainly couldn't have landed on one of the heads — which one? — and hung out for 2 minutes. I think a fly was the right choice of small flying creature to create just the right impression. 

You know, I've read that Biblical passage many times, and I've never really thought of the bird landing on Jesus. The paintings of the baptism tend to show the bird before it alights on Jesus.

Did it land in his hair like a fly on Pence? On his shoulder like a parrot on a pirate? Did Jesus reach out his hand and make a perch of his finger like Snow White singing to a bluebird?   

  

Imagine if Pence had sung to the fly in a twittering voice like Snow's and held out his delicate fingers for the creature to alight?! 

Life is weird, but not that weird. And certainly there was no voice from Heaven saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

44 comments:

Craig said...

A fly on someone's head, while the fate of the nation is at stake, is exactly what the citizens of Idiocracy would focus on.

Dave Begley said...

God does not pick winners and losers in human contests. If that was the case, Creighton University's men's basketball team would be undefeated every single year.

You're being silly Ann. But that's okay.

Yancey Ward said...

I wonder what happens next week if Trump shows up in person for the townhall debate. It's what I would do in Trump's shoes- tell them I am willing to do it virtual, and then show up in person. What a spectacle that would be.

rehajm said...

The fly is another of the psychic cat/shark/pig/parrott animals. Flies communicate their psychic foretelling by landing on the winner.

Lucid-Ideas said...

It was a Russian nano-fly, feeding Pence counter-intelligence information on current and future democratic opponents and their proclivities for urine-related activities.

The way I look at it, they might as well start building the story line now. They've done it once already.

Roughcoat said...

God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

The left are happy the world economy was tanked over a virus from a nation that wants Joe Biden to win - a nation that has paid the Biden family millions in graft.

Does that make anyone else sick to their stomachs?

daskol said...

Ooh, that's an easy one. Our Deity is clearly a fan of chaos theory, and He's tired of butterflies getting all the credit.

Chennaul said...

I am pretty sure the fly flew off when Kamala said

“Tiki torches”. It could have landed on her but she was appropriately dressed in all black. As a Democrat you have to be ready for anyone to drop like a fly and then do the Wellstone.

tim maguire said...

Given who Pence and Harris are as people and as leaders of movements, it would indeed be something if God interceded to help Harris.

Surely, an omnipotent deity, if He cared about the outcome of American elections, could simply cause the person he wanted to win.

Why a fly? I say the same thing I say to Intelligent Designers--a God who waves his hand and mutters a few words and it all just springs into existence is far less impressive than a God who makes the glories of creation unfold from a few simple rules set in motion eons ago.

A minor God would just make it happen, it takes a great God to know where to place the lightest of touches.

roesch/voltaire said...

Well flies are attracted to bullshit and there was plenty of that from Pence, but divine intervention might be a stretch beyond the ordinary barnyard occurrence.

tcrosse said...

Not the first politician to have trouble with his fly. Bill Clinton and JFK for example.

Mark said...

Hubris before the fall.

hstad said...

AA this is what you got from the debate? Talking about the fly? I generally like your subjects but this is over the top and follows the "Tabloid MSM" strategy.

Dave said...

His hairdresser applied some sort of fly attractant.

PubliusFlavius said...

The bug in the ointment pertains to the trend that this small insect is the story.

Not ms lotus lips poor performance.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

I didn’t watch last night but as soon as I saw the fly story, I knew Pence won the debate.

stever said...

God does pick sides, we do. Lots of self focus. The fly was doing the "late in life" fly thing.

n.n said...

God does not pick winners and losers in human contests.

No, God is not Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic, a secular religion. God prescribed a religion that would normalize functional outcomes. Presumably, if everyone followed the principles therein, follow God's advice and recognized a separation of logical domains, offered charity and be charitable, practiced self-moderation in their lives and lifestyles, there would be a reconciliation of rights, dignity, and productivity throughout the world.

Chennaul said...

Ugh. I use to love to watch the Senate for the drama. The best dramatist were Kennedy, Frtiz Hollings, Biden and Wellstone.

I actually liked Wellstone because he was the only one out of those that seemed sincere,

Went to look at his wiki and found this:

Eleven days before the 2002 U.S. Senate election, Wellstone died in a plane crash in Eveleth, Minnesota. His wife, Sheila, and daughter, Marcia, also died on board. Wellstone's sons, David and Mark, were not on the flight, and until 2018 co-chaired the Wellstone Action nonprofit organization in honor of their parents. The organization was subsequently renamed Re:Power after their departure.

So maybe you might wonder why it was renamed Re: Power.

Following that wiki link you land on this:

In May 2018, it was reported that that organization's board of directors had voted to remove Wellstone's two sons from their directorial positions after they raised questions about the financial activities of the organization. There was also a dispute over the direction and priorities of the group.[5] Following the removal of Wellstone's sons from the organization's board of directors, Wellstone Action was rebranded as "Re:Power".

Darrell said...

I thought the fly came from Kamala's hoo-hoo. And was carrying the Chinese couf.

Remember the fly that landed on the corner of Obama's mouth--that he let play for what seemed like eternity? Google the pic. Surely the divine Obama would have been designated as the chosen one by this act. Then so must be Pence. And the Left will lose again as surely they must.

MayBee said...

I saw younger Facebook friends posting pictures of Jane Fonda, including her Hanoi Jane photos. And the youngs were talking about how she's always been a badass activist. So I think they just have no idea what she did.

MadisonMan said...

How many flies landed on Harris' head? Things no one asks because you couldn't tell.

Ice Nine said...

>>Yancey Ward said...
I wonder what happens next week if Trump shows up in person for the townhall debate.<<

I like the spirit of your idea but, where exactly does one show up in person for a *virtual* debate?

Ice Nine said...

Pence represents flyover country.
...and Harris unzips flies.

Pence for the win.

Chennaul said...

Here are some quotes from the article linked at the wiki about the Wellstone fallout:

David Wellstone and other Democrats close to his father began objecting last year to what David Wellstone described as Wellstone Action’s abandonment of disaffected Democrats in the rural Midwest — the rural poor were an early focus of the late senator — with an increasingly narrow focus on gender politics and people of color.

[…]

“How I read it is Paul Wellstone is no longer relevant. It is the most untrue, un-thought-through and most offensive remark,” Wellstone said. “When you’ve got people who are hurting and they’re turning to Donald Trump, we’ve got to give them something. … We should be the fighters for all folks who aren’t on top. That’s what my dad always said.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/13/wellstone-family-legacy-feud-minnesota-democrats-584205

I was sitting in Shanghai awhile back and an evil American who presented himself as an economic expert suggested on a Chinese media show for English speakers that the CCP should hit Trump in the swing states by cutting off crop purchases for farmers in those swing states.

We scoffed at this idea. We were actually dumb because we forgot to figure in that the economy around the farmers would also be affected. So the numbers of voters would be significant. Then shockingly the CCP actually adopted this strategy and made an announcement just a couple of days later.

So as part of the trade war China cut farmers in America. Will it hurt the people Wellstone cared about? The CCP policy hurt people in China. The Yangtze flooded and much of China’s own crops were destroyed. In Shanghai the CCP is telling people to not order as much food in the restaurants and for take out. It could be a country wide policy who knows.

China has always been plagued possibly by diseases that come out of their eastern provinces, you use to be able to trace that by the names but the WHO has changed that.

Maybe plagues in their history is why they have evolved as authoritarian.

Francisco D said...

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said... I didn’t watch last night but as soon as I saw the fly story, I knew Pence won the debate.

Another clue was when lefties complained about Pence mansplaining to Kamala.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Sometimes a fly is just a fly.

Yancey Ward said...

Ice Nine,

The audience is still attending in person with Scully at the location is my understanding- the two candidates are supposed to attend via computer.

narciso said...

fonda was lucky there were no bombers on patrol, at the time she did that stunt, the fate of the fonda manque in hunter's I sniper, was quite satisfying,

stevew said...

That's not consistent with God's MO, the Christian one, anyway. He bestowed free will upon us and then kicked back with a big bucket of popcorn to watch how it all plays out. So far I bet this God character, supreme being and deity, has found 2020 to be a very entertaining year.

Curious George said...

"roesch/voltaire said...
Well flies are attracted to bullshit and there was plenty of that from Pence, but divine intervention might be a stretch beyond the ordinary barnyard occurrence."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qfv2c0wTZg4

Andy said...

Why do you assume the fly was a divine agent? Satan is known as the lord of flies, after all.

John Clifford said...

Yep... when the media and Democrats started focusing on the fly, it was a clear sign (from God?) that Pence had conclusively won the debate. They confirmed it by accusing Pence of mansplaining.

Iman said...

Bullshit is coin of the Democrat realm, just one more reason why Harris must stay animated, smirking, laughing, moving around... akin to a cow or horse swishing its tail to shoo away the flies.

That fly on Pence’s well-coiffed head was merely resting after several unsuccessful attempts to enter Kamala’s lying piehole.

Drago said...

roesch/voltaire: "Well flies are attracted to bullshit and there was plenty of that from Pence, but divine intervention might be a stretch beyond the ordinary barnyard occurrence."

Speaking of a stretch, and we were, who can forget how Crack Emcee declared on this very blog that whites invented murder, rape, slavery and even lying, and then practiced those things for 300 years before any other peoples on earth began to copy them.

And r/v agreed with and congratulated Crack for declaring that and told him to keep it up.

Good times, good times.

r/v sounds like precisely the sort of person who should be lecturing others on things that are "a stretch".......

rhhardin said...

The fly is not reasoning well just now. A man buzzes at its ears. This is enough to render it incapable of good advice. If I would have it find truth, I should chase away this animal which holds its reason in check and disquiets that intelligence which governs kingdoms.

- Lautreamont

mikee said...

A fly landing on the VP's head?
Absurdity taken to extreme minimalism.

I grew up reading about the killer rabbit that attacked President James Earl Carter while he was out in a canoe, without any Secret Service protection. Jimmah had to defend himself with a canoe paddle. And yes, there is a photo of the event. True story.

Now, that was entertainment!

Teddy Roosevelt put a grizzly in the Smithsonian.
Carter wasn't killed by a rabbit.
Pence ignored a fly.
Who is more macho?

Friedrich Engels' Barber said...

Divine intervention would be Donald Trump debating Joe Biden's teleprompter, as currently proposed. In which case, let's just get rid of the middle man. The computer gathering the Biden interview/debate team responses can read its/their answer, Trump can tell us his answer. We can let Joe "stand by" and watch.

Maillard Reactionary said...

The things that birds drop on your head are not always eggs.

Not that eggs on the head so great, either.

gspencer said...

Despite all the masks, plexiglass, distancing to keep the microscopic virus out, a fly, which in comparison to the microbes is a freaking giant, gets in and manages to get a prime time viewing audience.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Speaking of a stretch, and we were, who can forget how Crack Emcee declared on this very blog that whites invented murder, rape, slavery and even lying, and then practiced those things for 300 years before any other peoples on earth began to copy them.

And r/v agreed with and congratulated Crack for declaring that and told him to keep it up."

Isn't it odd that r/v uses the name of a Dead White Male who is considered a great figure of Western Civilization? I'm pretty sure Voltaire would disprove of a dullard with authoritarian instincts besmirching his name.

Tina Trent said...

Exiled: Voltaire is a fitting handle for v/r as Voltaire was a hateful little preener who carried on about free speech while recommending that most people were too stupid to be endowed with it. His name fittingly graces Voltaire Network, one of the most pernicious anti-American, Iran/China axis funded propaganda outfits, based in France and run by truther nutcase Maoist Thierry Meysson. Both Ron Paul and Cynthia McKinney are involved, which gives you some sense of how batshit crazy the current fusion of far left and libertarian right have become.

Focko Smitherman said...

Never seen Jesus in red plaid short-shorts before.