Crazy Old Giza

« November 2015 »

Memo to Bernie Sanders: YOU ARE WRONG.

I know it seems odd to start a rundown and analysis of Ben Carson's frankly astonishing week with a dig at Bernie Sanders, who I generally like and may well throw an otherwise meaningless primary vote at, but but bear with me, because Sanders said this on Meet The Press on Sunday. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I think it might be a better idea, I know it's a crazy idea, but maybe we focus on the issues impacting the American people and what candidates are saying rather than just spending so much time exploring their lives of 30 or 40 years ago,"

I agree that would be a better idea, but there are two problems. The first is that, well, that'll never happen. Which is why Bernie is an idealist running a quixotic presidential campaign and I'm a guy yelling into the Internet. But the second problem is that, whether the media realizes it or not, scrutinizing Carson's past involves an issue that would impact the American people if he got elected.

There are three main areas at issue with Ben Carson's past statements: the Pyramids, the Stabbing, and the Test. Let's start with the latter two, because they're connected, and also because you close with the funniest thing and fuck knows the Pyramids thing is hilarious.

The Stabbing is, of course, Ben Carson's story that he tried to stab a guy when he was a teenager. The media is in the odd position of trying to prove a political candidate didn't try to kill someone, with the candidate insisting that he totally did. The Test is a story that, to be honest, makes no goddamned sense to me. Some psych class had a test, and then the teacher lied about the test being lost in a fire, and then there was a makeup test, and the test was harder, and everyone walked out except for Carson, and that means Carson was the most honest student in the class so he got ten bucks and had his picture taken for the paper? I know the Ivy League was weird in the 70s, but what the fuck?


Anyway, the secular progressives pounced. Liberal bastion CNN can't find anyone who remembers Carson being stabby. Leftist rag the Wall Street Journal can't find the course Carson claimed he was taking or the picture Carson calimed was taken. Carson claims he's a threat and that's why everyone's out to get him, and in a hilarious press conference on Friday dragged out every wingnut Obama scandal from 2008-2009 as evidence that the media was being mean to him.

Why does it matter if these stories are true? Because these stories are why Ben Carson is Ben Carson, and not just some neurosurgeon you have to be careful bringing up politics around if you invite him to a dinner party. These stories are part of the Ben Carson Mythology, which you probably don't know about because you're not an Evangelical Christian passing around stories that reinforce certain racial stereotypes and right-wing ethos. Ben Carson was a troubled "urban" youth who turned his life around through sheer will and gumption and his love of Jeeeeeeesus! That's where his fame comes from, that's where his dreams of elected office come from, and that's why these stories matter.

Another thing that matters is that Ben Carson believes that the Biblical prophet Joseph built the Egyptian pyramids to store grain. They weren't tombs for Egyptian pharoahs at all. Archaeologists have it wrong. I mean, why would you need hermetically sealed chambers for bodies? Bodies don't rot. Only grain rots.

This, I shit you not, is an actual thing Ben Carson was on record as believing in the 1990s. And so he was asked about it, he admitted he still believes it. You know who believes something like that? A crazy person.

I am not just hyperbolizing here. Ben Carson's Pyramid Theory is on par with young earth creationism - a belief passed around the fringe Christian community as the real truth the scientists are trying to trick you out of believing. Except it's worse than young earth creationism, because the evidence for what the pyramids are and what they were used for is much more obvious than the evidence for evolution. Carson's whole theory is based on the interior volume of the pyramids being great for grain storage. We know how much room there was in the pyramids. Not a hell of a lot.

All of the Republican candidates deny reality and evidence to varying degrees. All of them, for example, think that cutting taxes raises revenues. But all of Carson's fibs and weirdnesses point to a very specific, very particular, very religious, and very fringe brand of reality-denying. And while there's little chance any of this will be Carson's downfall, they're certainly evidence that this man shouldn't be anywhere near any position of any kind of power.