Somewhere in his deluded brain, Jussie Smollett, the actor just found guilty on five of six counts of staging a hate crime against himself, believes he was standing up for black people.
He was doing anything but. In a city where black children are being gunned down in the streets in record-breaking numbers, his bizarre, infantile, and narcissistic stunt took up umpteen hours of police time in an investigation that could have been spent saving lives—black lives.
Moreover, in the perpetration of his nonsensical hoax, he enlisted the help of two much poorer blacks with nowhere near his Hollywood money—Nigerian brothers—placing them in positions of possible incarceration for a few bucks. What a guy!
On top of all that, he took the stand and, despite all the incontrovertible evidence against him, including the testimony of those brothers, denied everything in court. This even though, as legal expert Andrew C. McCarthy noted on Fox News, lying in your own defense on the stand triggers a statute that dictates more severe sentencing.
Did his lawyers warn the defendant of this? If so, he didn’t listen. He was probably hoping one juror would believe his lies enough for nullification. It didn’t happen either.
Smollett is guilty of five counts, with potentially a three-year sentence for each. You do the math.
What’s far more interesting than the pathetic Smollett, obviously another actor far too desperate for attention, in all this is the reaction of the press and Democratic politicians at the time.
They, or a great many of them anyway, instantly believed this absurd plot, just as they believed the equally absurd Trump–Russia collusion and a host of other obvious calumnies. (In Hollywood, they say a possible hit movie is “want-to-see.” This is “want-to-believe.”)
In Smollett’s case, he claimed his assailants (i.e., “white supremacists,” but really the Nigerian brothers) called him out for being gay and for trespassing in “MAGA country,” when he was in one of the most upscale Chicago neighborhoods at 2 a.m. Cognitive dissonance anyone?
Vice President Kamala Harris—sorry for beating an already dead horse—immediately tweeted we had “an attempted modern-day lynching” on our hands and “no one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin.”
She who must be obeyed (by all House Democrats) had this to say on Twitter: “The racist, homophobic attack on @JussieSmollett is an affront to our humanity. No one should be attacked for who they are or whom they love. I pray that Jussie has a speedy recovery & that justice is served. May we all commit to ending this hate once & for all.”
Not surprisingly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took down this politically motivated drivel sometime later, but that’s how she thinks, her automatic response.
Worse yet was Smollett’s interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth watching as one of the purest cases of “want-to-believe” extant. Both parties, subject and interviewer, smiling smugly at just how awful those racists were, seem on the edge of insane, looking at it now.
And, of course, there are many more that are similar.
“Want-to-believe” is an illness that belongs in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) of the American Psychiatric Association. Indeed, I gave something rather like it a more technical name in my 2016 book, just a few years before the Smollett affair—“moral narcissism”—though the APA will never adopt it. It would be too close to home. Too many of them are moral narcissists themselves.
I defined moral narcissism as a radical disconnect between what you pronounce to be true and good and the reality of the situation (cf. Harris and Pelosi). To the moral narcissist, the reality—the actual result of what you are saying—is completely irrelevant. The pronouncement itself is all. It is what makes you “moral,” and gets you included in the club of the important, our version of the Soviet nomenklatura, colloquially the “in crowd.”
We are infected with moral narcissism, more even than when I wrote the book. “Woke” is just an extreme version. This infection is particularly strong in our big cities like Smollett’s Chicago, where mayors and district attorneys proclaim their great progressive values as blood runs in the streets.
To have questioned Smollett would have made you part of the “out crowd.” Who wants that?
Better to blame Trump supporters for non-existent crimes while real thugs and gangsters shoot each other and civilians in numbers not seen for years.
Smollett, because he was cosseted entirely in a morally narcissistic trendy show biz world, divorced from reality, probably thought he could get away with anything as long as it disparaged Trump and his supporters.
And he was right, for a while.
ADDENDUM: I admit the second part of my headline—“Press & Politicians Should Do Serious Thinking”—is extremely wishful thinking.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.