385. Return (V)
In the last post, I anatomised a bad lie—a lie nobody believes, but a lie that quite a few people will pretend to believe nonetheless. As with most lies, what Pistorius does is not outright deception but rather an attempt to pass off one human experience for another; we tell each other stories and, so it seems, pretty much accept the stories, even though if we think about it for a moment such stories have no relation to how humans act—even how we ourselves act.
Another useful example in this line comes from the Betty and Barney Hill UFO abduction—specifically the way Joe Rogan confused himself as to this couple. Rogan said something to the effect that: “Betty and Barney Hill were an interracial couple during the 1960s, when such relationships were less acceptable than they are now; therefore, they would not draw further attention to themselves by telling the media that they had been abducted by aliens; and so they are more reliable than other people who claim UFO abduction.”
Betty and Barney Hill were from New Hampshire, not the South; so I think what they probably faced was what interracial couples face today: people would stare at them when they walked into a shop and bitchy old women would chatter about them behind their back. For Rogan, still quite an indoctrinated person, the interracial relationship fits into today’s rather soppy “let love win” propaganda mould; fodder for a notional “important social novel”, published circa 1969, entitled Forbidden Sweetness (“A vital novel on today’s Negro question, sure to provoke.” —B. Levin, The Listener). Contrary to the girl at Starbucks who slurps her iced latte and then spurts into TikTok, “White supremacists were totally lynching literally hundreds of interracial couples in 1972,” state media already had a positive line on interracial relationships as long ago as the 1960s, if not the 1950s (see, for example, the revealing entitled BBC teleplay A Taste of Honey).
I fully accept that relationships between men and women feature a squishy element that could be called “love” that is not directly connected to sexuality; love as affection. However, this is not the primary operative part in sexual relations—looks, power relations, and status really count. Question: what type of people get into an interracial relationship at a time when such relationships attracted overt social disapproval? Not, as state media has it, Romeo and Juliet—rather, exhibitionists and narcissists; people who like to break social norms so as to be the centre of attention and like to be talked about (even if it is malicious gossip). In other words, precisely the type of people who may well invent a story that they were abducted by aliens and then go to the media about it.
Does this mean the story is untrue? Not necessarily; rather, it means that its truth probability should be downgraded and not, as Rogan has it, upgraded. He made the error partly through sentimentalism as to why people get into relationships and partly because our society holds interracial relationships—between particular races and sexes, not all—to be high status (to endorse; only the naïve or terminal true believers follow through on the virtue signal). The whole situation is not about race at all (although if this blog were popular everything I have just written would be immediately labelled “racist” by a media outlet). Incidentally, the Hills were both Unitarians; the equivalent for Anglo-Americans to being in the CPSU in the USSR—so their relationship was probably a strong signal to show loyalty to the Party line (Unitarianism long ago degenerated into secular communism).
Rogan’s strength as an interviewer is not anything he positively says: he just shuts up more often than most interviewers, so letting his subjects talk at length—and liars, when they talk at length, contradict themselves and give the game away. When Rogan puts down positive reasons for his positions, as in this case, he often strays into ideology and status signals.