Tuesday, May 8, 2018

How (a few of) the Mighty Have Fallen

Irony reached new heights Monday night, when New York's attorney general was forced to resign his office for slapping and choking women even before the last opulent bondage and torture-themed costume had exited the annual Met Gala. The poor New York Times was even forced to temporarily replace its best and worst-dressed slideshows of the decadent event with the shocking news of Eric Schneiderman's downfall.

And talk about role reversal --  he will now be investigated by Cyrus Vance, the same Manhattan district attorney whom Schneiderman had been ostensibly investigating for the alleged deep-sixing of a New York City police investigation of sexual predator Harvey Weinstein.

I say "ostensibly," because Schneiderman has always been something of a poseur. You might vaguely remember him as the "tough on Wall Street" prosecutor who was conveniently co-opted by President Barack Obama in 2014 to head up a special federal task force on financial crime. Needless to say, not one banker ever went to jail as a result. This could possibly have been because Obama somehow not only forgot to provide Schneiderman with an office staff, he'd even neglected to give him an office. Or one single phone.

But Schneiderman got the next best thing to a real function, official Oval Office cuff-links, or a trip to Disneyland. He got an honored seat next to Michelle Obama at that year's State of the Union address.  He got the biggest political prize of all: saturated, nationwide corporate media coverage.

More recently, he'd bathed himself in glowing saturated coverage by posing as righteously as the legal face of the anti-Trump #Resistance as he'd once posed as the new anti-bankster sheriff in town. He pretended to be Lancelot defending legions of Guineveres at the same time he was abusing them in the castle keeps of his West Side bachelor pad, the Hamptons, and wherever the rich and famous congregate. So it should come as no surprise that Schneiderman would defend his assaults as "consensual role-playing" exercises.

  I signed up for Eric's mailing list way back in the good old days when I still thought he was sincere about fighting Wall Street in the vein of one of his predecessors, the also-fallen Eliot Spitzer. I first became smitten with the dapper Schneiderman persona in 2011, when the Obama administration began putting a lot of pressure on him to back off the banksters. My AG-crush reached its crescendo when Kathryn Wylde, a New York Fed official, actually confronted Eric on the sacred steps of the Catholic church where the funeral for Governor Hugh Carey had just been held, and demanded that he lay off Bank of America. When he was kicked off a federal panel by an Obama factotum for refusing to make a sweetheart deal with foreclosure fraudsters, I was in his email fan club for life. Or so I thought at the time.

Despite my gradual awakening to Eric's true posing nature, the revelations of his sadistic violence still have the capacity to shock. And here I thought that Timothy Cardinal Dolan, partying at the decadent Catholic-themed Met Gala on Monday night, right alongside Rihanna dressed as a Borgia pope, was the shock of the day. This event was the total obverse of Savonarola's Bonfire of the Vanities, as Dolan profusely thanked private equity robber baron Stephen Schwartzmann for financing the "Heavenly Bodies" museum exhibit, which includes a leather bondage mask draped in rosary beads and a near-topless scarlet dress fashioned from cardinals' robes.   

If even the righteous professional virtue-signalers of Dark Ages America can't beat them, the pragmatic philosophy goes, they might as well join them. How else would the Church remain the wealthiest institution on the face of planet?

As for Schneiderman, his mortal sin was that while he was pretending to beat up the bankers, he was beating up on women, both physically and emotionally. He compensated for his craven wrist-slap of Wall Street by slapping women's faces so severely that he literally left his hand-print on one victim's skin, while he rendered another woman chronically hearing-impaired.

One thing I always found weird about his frequent fund-raising emails was that he rarely signed them himself. A female campaign underling usually wrote them on his behalf, probably to distance him from money and the incessant grubbing of it. Like many a top cop before him, he invested a lot of time and energy into the maintenance of his squeaky-clean, virtue-signalling image. (see Comey, James.)

It of course came as no surprise when current Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a stalwart friend of Wall Street despite some recent progressive role-playing exercises, was the first VIP to demand Schneidermann's resignation on Monday. For his part, Cuomo may or may not also be under official investigation for bribery and other corrupt things which have nothing to do with the #MeToo movement. So he's probably safe, despite experiencing some ostensible discomfort from his primary challenger, Cynthia Nixon.

As a matter of fact, Schneiderman probably could have gotten away with his violence and alleged drug abuse were it not for the "wokeness" of his victims, engendered by the #MeToo movement. 

Only a precious few of the Mighty ever fall, and it's usually for the crime of not having kowtowed to other Mighty Righties obsequiously enough - or as Cardinal Dolan put it at Monday night's Met Gala, not adhering smarmily enough to "truth, goodness and beauty".

Why else would the wealthy celebrities dress up in their Torquemadan S&M attire at their annual Bacchanalia if not, as Dolan gushed, to show that "we love to serve the poor to do good.  And that's why we're into things such as art, poetry, music, liturgy and, yes, even fashion, to thank God for the gift of beauty."


The Joker said...

The lesson seems to be that the slogan of The X-Files, "trust no one", is particularly relevant to the political sphere.

Unfortunately, while that reduces the likelihood of getting suckered-in by a Schneiderman, a Spitzer, a Comey (or an Obama, a Clinton, a Bush, or a Trump), it also makes it infinitely more difficult to find genuine resistance leaders and to grow a powerful opposition movement. Which suits the plutocracy just fine.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Schneiderman Shmiderman. As scandal past, present and future, the Met Gala is so much more enticing.

I now understand I need no longer confess the sin of downloading pirated versions of these celebrities' movies and music. They clearly have too much time and money, which should be redistributed. And I steal their talent to immerse myself in truth, goodness and beauty. Thank you, Cardinal Dolan.

I wonder whether Pope Francis realizes the setting for the art works on loan to the Met from the Vatican treasure chest? Dolan may have some explaining to do next time he goes to Rome.

Anna Wintour, who runs Vogue, was mentioned in the links, but she deserves top coverage for organizing this bash down to the last detail every year since 1995. I wish her well, as is my Christian duty, but I'm seriously contemplating the cancellation of my subscription to Vogue.

Erik Roth said...

Ah, how this does smack of Bob Dylan's description:

"Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They’re drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made
Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things
But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe ..."

And so we, on the outside looking in, have to answer his challenging query:
"... how does it feel...?"

Cardinal Maga said...

The Catholic Church has been culturally appropriating pagan rituals for millennia.

The display of decadent capitalism at the Met Gala has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus. The obscene shopping frenzy around the winter solstice has nothing do with the birth of the Christ. But the fables are still promoted heavily.

They have traded their sandals for scandals and are quite comfortable in them.

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

cardinal dolan's remark about thanking god for the gift of beauty reminds me of a few of william blake's 'proverbs of hell' -

The lust of the goat is the bounty of God. The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God. The nakedness of woman is the work of God.

by sharing this association i do NOT mean to say that, from a panentheistic perspective, schneiderman's sadism is OK - i regard it as perverted and hope he will spend some time in prison for it

cardinal dolan and i are both regular participants in the ceremonies of the church of rome - my role is as a choir member at my local parish

missus charley is a committed cradle catholic, and i have become a practicing catholic because of her - erich fromm wrote that 'the purpose of all the true religions is to help man overcome his narcissism' - please forgive him his old-fashioned androcentric phraseology

out here among the believers, i observe that it is possible to practice catholicism in such a way that it is one of the true religions, despite the many obvious problems with it

in this it is not so unique - consider the contrast between the legacy of two famous american protestant clergymen of the late 20th century - fred rogers, of the mr rogers neighborhood tv show, and jim jones, of jonestown

cardinal dolan, and i, are "two american kids doing the best they can" - to quote a john mellankamp song that is in fairly heavy rotation on the dinosaur rock radio station i listen to in the car