Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Harris and Trumpy Politics

Everything I wrote about the Liz Warren ancestry controversy can be applied in miniature to the ridiculous controversy about Kamala Harris and what music she listened to while smoking pot in college. I really do mean "in miniature"—it is obviously not remotely as potent an issue, it just has similar attributes.

In short, during an interview Harris said she smoked weed in college and seemed to indicate that while she was smoking weed she listened to Snoop Dogg and Tupac. The problem is that her college years preceded their first albums.

As the Times piece I linked to explains, it's not clear that Harris made the claim being attributed to her. She was asked what kind of music she likes in general, and before she could answer another interviewer interposed another question, specifically asking, "What were you listening to when you was high?" The first interviewer then suggested Snoop, which Harris confirmed, adding Tupac as well. She could easily could have been ignoring the part about being high, or she could have smoked pot later in life while listening to Snoop and Tupac.

But look. No one is going to listen to this defense. I mean it's worth trying, if you want to lay out the facts. But Harris herself is going to look (mildly) ridiculous if she tries to argue the point.

And there's another important feature here, which I forgot to mention in my post about Warren. This is eminently mockable on Twitter, and once people get into the "dunking" and riffing mode, anyone pointing out the precise details of the interview is going to look absurdly uptight.

In fact this thing people do on Twitter, where they feed on each other's jokes and show off their feeble wit, is one of the most annoying things about the site. I can't count the number of times I've seen waves of jokes premised on a tendentious or outright false understanding of the news. And I think the fact that it's all couched in a sort of cynical, ironic, humorous pose makes it much more "persuasive," in a sense, than earnest tweeting.

Anyway the other similarity with Warren is that it's the kind of issue that no rational person would give a shit about (even the existence of this blog post is quasi-ridiculous), but I think it amounts to a kind of threshold issue for some people—is Harris phony? I think it's the kind of thing that can make someone laugh and then distrust Harris forever.

Again I really don't want to make this out to be a big deal. It's not. I just hate this aspect of politics and I hate how well this stuff works for Trump.


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