Many readers of this Substack probably share my perception that America gets weirder by the minute. To be sure, humans have always done strange things. Throughout most of history we just didn’t know about it because there was no means of documenting and distributing recordings of this behavior for everyone to see.
Diogenes the Cynic rejected the distinction between private and public. He lights his lantern “to search for an honest man.”
The United States has an official census population of 331 million people, and almost all of them are equipped with a phone and an internet connection that enable them to share recordings of people doing disturbing things. Thus, when we are presented with such recordings, we must temper our reactions, and put them into perspective, by considering all of the tens of millions of people out there who don’t do such things.
Though I try to insulate myself from reports of public figures and celebrities behaving badly, two stories of the last few days broke through my cocoon.
The first were statements—published in the New York Times —by Susanna Gibson and her lawyer, Daniel P. Watkins , on September 11. Gibson is a nurse practitioner and Democratic Party candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates. On Monday, the Washington Post published a report revealing that the married, 40-year-old mother of two children has posted several online videos of herself performing sexual acts with her husband and soliciting money from the viewers. Even weirder than her videos is her accompanying messages to her viewers on the site, in which she represents her lawyer husband as not only a willing participant, but also as a catastrophic cuckold.
What caught my eye about this story was not the sordid trashiness of the subject, but two salient facts that I believe are worth noting:
1). Gibson continued to post such material under her profile, called “hotwifeexperience,” after announcing her campaign in July 2022 — uploading at least one image of herself on the sex streaming site a month later. To me, this strongly suggests that she deliberately courted this controversy
2). The statements of Gibson and her attorney to the New York Times may be the most ridiculous humbug ever uttered.
Releasing damaging information about candidates of the opposing party into the heat of a campaign is an age-old political practice, but the sensational nature of the disclosure of sex tapes — reportedly featuring Ms. Gibson and her husband, a lawyer — is highly unusual. Ms. Gibson called the release of the tapes “the worst gutter politics.” The Post said it learned of the material from a “Republican operative” who denied a connection to Ms. Gibson’s opponent, David Owen, or to other political groups in Virginia.
Daniel P. Watkins, a lawyer for Ms. Gibson, said it was unlawful in the state to record someone in a state of undress and distribute it to a third party without that person’s consent.
“It’s illegal and it’s disgusting to disseminate this kind of material, and we’re working closely with the F.B.I. and local prosecutors to bring the wrongdoers to justice,” Mr. Watkins said.
Ms. Gibson gave no indication she was considering dropping out of the race.
“It won’t intimidate me and it won’t silence me,” she said in her statement. “My political opponents and their Republican allies have proven they’re willing to commit a sex crime to attack me and my family because there’s no line they won’t cross to silence women when they speak up.”
Note the bizarre inversion of reality expressed in these statements, especially the tone of outrage in using the words “gutter,” “disgusting,” “in a state of undress,” and “sex crime” to describe the distribution of material that Gibson herself recorded and disseminated, along with with solicitations for money in an electronic public forum. Reading this statement fortified my perception that Gibson (and possibly people exercising influence on her) actively sought this controversy that would serve as yet another crazy and crazy-making drama in the public life of the American looney bin.
This morning, I was trying to forget the Gibson story, a friend and assiduous Hunter Biden watcher sent me a report that the President’s son is suing the Trump White House aide who published his laptop contents. As reported in Zero Hedge :
Yes, the same laptop that 51 former intelligence officials said had "all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” and which Antony Blinken (then a top Biden campaign official) had a 'central role' in discrediting after the New York Post reported that Hunter Biden exploited his father's position as then-VP for personal gain.
According to a Wednesday night filing, Hunter Biden's legal team is suing Garrett Ziegler, who operates the website Marco Polo.
The 13-page lawsuit alleges that Ziegler and others violated federal and California privacy laws by "accessing, tampering with, manipulating, altering, copying and damaging computer data" gathered from Hunter Biden's purported laptop and iPhone cloud storage without consent.
So, it turns out the “Laptop from Hell” was not—as 51 former intelligence officials proclaimed—a piece of Russian disinformation, but the private property of Hunter Biden. That’s right, Hunter’s privacy has been violated, and he is—apparently right before the limitations period expires—suing for the damage that he incurred as a result of it.
Then again, note his attorney’s equivocation, “Hunter Biden’s purported laptop and iPhone cloud storage without consent”—apparently still leaving the door open that it wasn’t Hunter’s laptop after all, even though Hunter is suing people for stealing and publishing the contents of his laptop.
Again, we see an example of twisting, distorting, and inverting language and other representations of reality. Increasingly I wonder if the public forum is deliberately being populated with preposterous lunatics in order to drive “We the People” crazy.