Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Part of what’s so disconcerting about this year’s Oscar-winning documentary Icarus — which examines the revelation and fallout of Russia’s state-sponsored program of cheating international competitions through providing PEDs to its athletes — is the steadfastness with which Putin’s regime continues to deny guilt in the face of a staggering degree of evidence, ranging from scientific data to sworn testimony. This attitude has been similarly on display as journalists, diplomats, attorneys, and intelligence agents have gone missing or been found dead under suspicious circumstances, often with such confidence that government mouthpieces have even been willing to crack dry jokes about how enemies of the state should be careful about settling in England.
“This is how you did it, this is how often you did it, here is photographic evidence of the way it was done,” say the investigators.
“No,” the Putin regime replies.
We have been able to witness our own president attempt this tactic in more clumsy strokes, with occasional halting success, throughout the majority of his public life. The transition of “fake news” from a cheap catchphrase to a common shorthand in official statements is one prominent facet of this strategy. It’s not a leap to intuit that part of Trump’s admiration for Putin is based on Putin’s capacity for escaping accountability, facilitated by a broad use of autocratic powers and a cabal of ministers who are fiercely loyal and competent.
It is increasingly likely that when Robert Mueller’s complete report is released it will lay out a strong case that the Trump presidential campaign, up to and including its bumbling citric figurehead, willfully cooperated with a coordinated attack on our election processes. And it is just as likely that Trump — facilitated by Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and FOX News, among many others — will deny the entirety of the findings, and continue to deny in the hopes that we’ll find ourselves stuck on how to proceed. They will act as if the exhibits are mere opinions, and declare that they have been treated unfairly, without cause. We will arrive at a point where we are not fighting to contain malice, but outright absurdity.
It will be the Shaggy defense.
“It wasn’t me.”