An historic night it was.
A pleasure to have a private dinner with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, his royal family and distinguished cadre.
A fun night and great to hear his deep rooted, yet modern views on the world and certainly the positive growth of his country.
Thank you my friend Rupert Murdoch for being such a great host, as well Bob Iger – my mentor who still wakes up 15mins before I do every morning at 4:15am. I’m still slacking.
— Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Instagram feed (pre-editing), April 5, 2018
At least Oprah had the good sense not to allow any photographs of her meeting with MBS to get out.
On Sunday evening, a spokesman for Mr. Dimon said the chief executive, who was scheduled to be one of the headline speakers at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, would no longer attend. He did not explain Mr. Dimon’s reasoning.
— “JPMorgan’s Dimon Backs Out of Saudi Conference Amid Khashoggi Furor“, New York Times, October 14, 2018
Once again, and just like with Harvey Weinstein, we are seeing widespread private information turned into common knowledge, a transformation that changes everything about behaviors.
With Weinstein, the ubiquitous private information was that Weinstein is a serial rapist. Everyone in Hollywood knew it, but no one acted AS IF they knew it until a Missionary event – in this case Rose McGowan’s and others’ very public denunciations – turned that information into common knowledge, something that everyone knows that everyone knows. It’s the celebrity of the Missionary that drives this transformation, because if the Missionary is famous enough, then everyone must believe that everyone else has heard the news.
And once that common knowledge was created, once all the private holders of all of Weinstein’s dirty secrets believed that everyone else believed that he is a serial rapist, then everyone’s behavior changed on a dime. His publicists and lawyers and partners and colleagues and board of directors and wife were shocked … shocked! … to hear of his behavior, and certainly would no longer be representing him or working with him or associating with him ever again, even though NOTHING had changed in the information they already possessed.
With Saudi Arabia, the ubiquitous private information was that Saudi Arabia is a thug state and their Crown Prince MBS is a wannabe Bond villain. But no one acted AS IF they knew this until a Missionary event – in this case Turkey’s very public denunciations of the Saudi government’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi – turned that private information into common knowledge, something that now everyone knows that everyone knows.
And once that common knowledge was created, once all the private holders of Saudi Arabia’s dirty secrets believed that everyone else believed that this is one of the most brutal regimes on Earth, then everyone’s behavior changed on a dime. All of these CEOs and Senators and Prime Ministers and movie stars are shocked … shocked! … to hear of this atrocious behavior, and certainly will no longer be attending this gala conference scheduled for next week, even though NOTHING had changed in the information they already possessed.
It’s all a little much, frankly, and it reminds me of how … disappointing … human beings are, particularly in group dynamics. But I get it. The proper forms must be followed. Outrage must be displayed, no matter how inauthentic its “discovery”, once everyone knows that everyone knows that outrages have occurred.
Rusty thinks that this all blows over quickly, that the complicity with the Saudi regime is so widespread and so deep among Politicians and Oligarchs that there’s a brief boycott of a stupid conference, some degree of tsk-tsk’ing from Team Elite Missionaries, some effort to bring those darn rogue killers to justice, and then everything returns to “normal”. He’s probably right.
But I’ll say this. Once common knowledge has been created, it’s impossible to uncreate. It’s impossible to go back to the plausible deniability and bribes and renditions of the ubiquitous private knowledge world. MBS will never again have a “reformer” cartoon. He is now a Bond villain. That’s the common knowledge, and behaviors will change as a result. No more nights on the town with The Rock. No more warm meetings with Oprah. No more vacations with Jared. No more softball interviews with Tom.
Is that a lot? No. But it’s something. It’s a start.