Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A seemingly tireless instinct for indulgent selfishness

""The Bidens": Is The First Family Corrupt, Or Merely Crazy?" (Taibbi) ("people in Hunter Biden’s orbit end up arrested by federal agents with such uncanny predictability that his arrival in anyone’s life must be treated as divine warning"):

". . . he opens with a scene that’s bananas even by the outré standards of first son Hunter Biden’s “tumultuous” life. Hunter in October of 2018 had gotten in an argument with his then-girlfriend, Hallie, who according to the funhouse physics of the first family was of course the widow of his late brother Beau. In the course of that dispute, Hallie had taken his .38 revolver and thrown it out of Hunter’s pickup truck (a pickup truck?) into a trash can outside “Janssen’s, a high-end grocery store near Wilmington the family had long frequented.”

When Hunter found out the gun was gone, he chivalrously sent Hallie back into the trash to get it. This turns out to be the first of many moments in The Bidens where despite a seemingly tireless instinct for indulgent selfishness, and a maximally unattractive profile as the coddled scion of political privilege, one somehow feels bad for Hunter Biden. He’s not just a wreck, but a wreck with spectacularly bad luck. In this case, not only has his dead brother’s widow taken advantage of his trusting nature and thrown away his pistol (the one a person with his recreational leanings probably shouldn’t have anyway, but does, and moreover has left unattended), she picked the one bin that’s both across the street from a high school and in a spot where an old man hunting for recyclables somehow finds it.

Now the thing is missing and poor Hunter, who if nothing else has a keen sense of his own potential for disaster, must be imagining the worst, which in his family is likely a headline: Boy, 13, Uses Gun Registered to Dickhead Senator’s Son to Kill Parents, Neighbor, Dog, Self. The Delaware State Police are called, the FBI for some instantly suspicious reason also shows up, the Secret Service also reportedly appears at the store where Hunter bought the gun (I say reportedly because the Secret Service denies this, the first of many details in The Bidens that ends up receding in a fog of conflicting accounts), and the ATF even makes an appearance.

The gun was eventually found after a few days, when the old man turned it in. By that point Hunter had already skipped town and begun setting in motion a preposterous chain of events that have ramifications in national politics to the present day. Again as would be expected in the hallucinogenic tabloid logic that seems to govern all events in the Biden family, Hunter follows up the gun mess by going up to Newburyport, Massachusetts to clean himself up in the care of Keith Ablow, a Fox News personality who is “recognizable by his clean-shaven head” and had once accused Joe Biden of being drunk during a vice presidential debate with Paul Ryan.

This turns out to be a home rehab job with all the respectability of the Dr. Sonderborg’s Bay City dopehouse in Farewell My Lovely. Hunter goes skiing at Wachusett Mountain, practices yoga, gets IV vitamin infusions, and, no joke at all, goes to see a play called Crippled Inside about a middle-aged man who reflects on teenage years when his father, a powerful Justice Department official, “bailed him out of scrapes while playing politics in Washington.” Moved, Hunter ends up deciding to try to pull his life back together, resolving to spend more time at his daughter’s lacrosse games, get Lasik surgery, and get his finances under control (Schreckinger doesn’t specify the order of these resolutions). However, there’s a problem:

He had something on the order of twenty bank accounts, but his life was in such disarray that he did not have the log-in credentials to access many of them…

Hunter Biden’s life is one long accident, and he’s constantly leaving the scene of it. In one episode recounted later on, he follows up a crack rampage in L.A. by falling asleep at the wheel while driving east on I-10, leading him to jump a median strip at 80 m.p.h. and come to a halt facing oncoming traffic from the other direction. A tow truck leads him to a rental car, which he drives straight to Prescott, Arizona, leaving behind in the other vehicle a “crack pipe, a Delaware attorney general’s badge, and a Secret Service calling card.”". 
And so on . . .
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