They're not the tiny samaras of early spring we knew. Mature but still clinging earlier this week to the spent female flowers of our Silver Maple — whose courtship we documented in "Not just another pretty face" and "He may not be pretty, but he has a sense of humor" early March — they (x 3) were swept off their
feetstems by the high winds and heavy downpours of Tuesday's thunderstorm and now lie scattered about the terrace, thinking about putting down some roots. Acer Saccharinum seeds require no dormant period and germinate as soon as they hit the ground. The shimmering albedo of daylight reflected from a nearby window works magic with the sun's early rays.
"It's a different Scott from the Scott I knew," disappointed former White House colleagues are telling the press re former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's "blockbuster" kiss-and-tell, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception, whose publisher, Public Affairs, is "affiliated with the far-left The Nation magazine" and George Soros, reports NewsBusters. The book skyrocketed to the top of Amazon's best-seller list on the super-cold liquid hydrogen fuel of anti-Bush pre-publication hysteria as gleeful BDS sufferers proclaimed McClellan's version of the story proved they had been right all along [Bush Lied, People Died™]:
Harry Smith on CBS "Early Show" Wednesday: There's another quote from the book. "Rather than choosing to be forthright and candid, they chose to sell the war and in so doing they did a disservice to the American people and to our democracy." These are damning, angry words.
Mike Allen, who broke the story Tuesday in Politico: Yeah, well, and Harry, what's fascinating about them is that they echo both the substance and even the rhetoric, the phraseology of left wing liberal critics."
Echo, echo, echo. Did Allen realize the irony in that last bit? Meanwhile McClellan's old boss, Ari Fleischer, and others on the right side of the aisle were speculating as to what had happened to their old friend to cause him to turn on his kind:
I think Scott was magnanimous when he was asked to leave at a time that was earlier than Scott had intended to leave … But since then, Scott has a lot of second thoughts …
We were wrong about whether Saddam had a WMD but that didn't mean the president manipulated anything. And Scott uses the very same words that the far left uses and I find that troubling because I find it inaccurate.
Gratuitous cute-kitty shot with Babe out by the woodpile, gazing intently at things we don't see, to give a sense of scale to the Silver Maple samaras (see below his ruff, lower right).
"Scott told me that his editor did 'tweak,' in Scott's word, a lot of the writing, especially in the last few months,” Fleischer told CBS Evening News, and somewhere out there in 24/7 land we caught this from Fleischer's lips:
He may be trying to hit the reset button on a new career, which has been hard since he left the White House … I find it hard to understand what made Scott change 180 degrees.
Thinking about McClellan's betrayal of his former friends and colleagues and betters in the White House, our own ur-theme, "The importance of being noticed" — based upon Peter F. Rowbotham's essay (scroll down) of the same name — came to mind. Beyond the desire to make a pile, was the insecure young man who was asked to leave his WH post "earlier than [he] had intended" motivated above all by an existential need to regain lost honor? As Rowbotham wrote:
We search for honor in favored venues and in chosen social institutions. We avoid those places and those social groupings which inhibit our search, which do not advance, and may even set back, our moral careers.
And as we wrote in "The real issue is, whom do we select as our peers":
The importance of being noticed makes the world go 'round, from al-Queda types who intimidate through cold-blooded murder of innocents to impress their "brothers," to internet hackers who wreak havoc amongst online innocents to impress their own fellow travelers. On the good side, each one of us seeks, through our accomplishments, to earn a place of honor among our peers. The real issue is, whom do we select as our peers. Once again we recall Peter F. Rowbotham's citation of the unorthodox bonding rituals of Hell's Angels and British soccer fans as examples of a "system of honor that is an alternative to mainstream moral orders."
American Elm's (Ulmus americana) fringed, notched, single-seeded samaras (x 6) intermingle with maple fruits on the terrace. Both are flood-plain species, whose airborne offspring would normally fall on water during spring floods, to be carried off downstream from the parent tree. Just as our nephew's Trinity College commencement ceremonies were wrapping up years ago — with assembled guests seated on the green beneath a grove of stately elms — the wind blew up and showered the company with samaras, a thrilling metaphor for the promise of educated young adulthood.
In another context, writing of what motivates leaders of the Islamist terrorist community — blogged here — Shelby Steele put his finger on what may seem counterintuitive to some but makes perfect Darwinian sense:
The dark achievement of bin Laden, Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad, names we know only because of their association to menace, is that they have used menace to make their people visible in the world, to bring them back into the scheme of history. And they are greatly loved for this. If their achievements follow from evil rather than from good, this is a small thing. Worse than evil is invisibility.
Might McClellan have rationalized something similar for his own behavior? Unable to get respect from his former White House colleagues, he turned to their nemesis, the BDS community, who welcomed him with open arms and seemingly brought him "back into the scheme of history," if only for a few news cycles.
Update: Modulator welcomes all things bright and beautiful at Friday Ark #193.
Update II: Rationalizations for all manner of bad behaviors now on display at Dr. Sanity's Carnival of the Insanities.