Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Kellyanne Jazz

Also an extraordinary actor, as in this face, where she manages to convey with that lift of the head and the ghost of her murdered smile that she's deeply pained by Bill Maher's discourtesy, but too brave to let it show, even as she's in fact letting it show. Screenshot via.
Kellyanne Conway, then:
he says he's for the little guy, but he's actually built a lot of his businesses on the backs of the little guy and he's—a lot of little guys through eminent domain, or through not paying contractors after you’ve built something. The little guys have suffered.
That's of course when she was working for a Cruz superPAC. Now she's working for the president-elect. Not worried whether she'll get paid or not. I guess she's not one of the little guys.

Or in the weird little montage (you can see it here) of her bullshitting even when she's speaking the truth, with which Stephanopoulos confronted her after she switched jobs in August:
CONWAY: You said he's for the little guy but he's actually built a lot of his businesses on the backs of little guys... 
... completely transparent. Donald Trump's tax returns aren't. I'd like to see those be transparent. 
It's vulgar. 
And do I want somebody who hurls personal insults or who goes and talks about philosophical differences?
(To be fair, if you hear her voice you can tell she's making a contrast between hurling insults and discussing philosophical difference, not equating them.)

Stephanopoulos showed her the clip in an effort to trap her into some kind of acknowledgment of her dishonesty, and it's kind of breathtaking to see how she slipped out of it:
STEPHANOPOULOS: So what changed for you?
And do you stand by those comments?
CONWAY: I do. And the reason is I don't like when people hurl personal insults. That will never change. That's not my style. I'm a mother of four small children. And it would be a terrible example for me to feel otherwise --
STEPHANOPOULOS: You think Mr. Trump's going to change on that?
CONWAY: Well, but he doesn't hurl personal insults. In other words, he just this week, look what he talked about.
He's bringing the case right to communities of color in Michigan. And he's speaking to all Americans when he does that, George.
That's just spectacular, when you look at it. Kellyanne Conway might be something like the John Coltrane of bullshit, in the way an absolutely rigorous logic lies beneath the surface chaos of the words.

First, she narrows down her responsibility from those three or four interviews to just two words, "personal insults", cited from the last one, as if the rest of it simply hadn't happened, and even paring away the reference to Trump, making the question fundamentally about her: has she suddenly changed her position on personal insults and come out in favor of them? How can Stephanopoulos even suggest such a thing?!! She's a mother, for Christ's sake!

Then, when Stephanopoulos tries to yank Trump back into the discussion, like a child who's managed to climb out through the window, she's prepared to treat him as an entirely new phenomenon that she she can dismiss out of hand: Why, no, Mr. Trump doesn't do anything like that, why do you even ask?

And then riffing off that absurd lie—"in other words" as if what she's about to say is a variation of what she just said when it isn't even related—moves on to noting how some of the things he says are not personal insults: he said something that wasn't a personal insult just this week! (I have a photograph of a white swan right here, how can you insist that black swans exist)?

And not only was it not a personal insult, it was addressed to people of color! (Indeed, it was a series of collective insults, in that Lansing speech, "You're living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed—what the hell do you have to lose?") When he's not personally insulting people he's specifically not insulting African Americans! With the implication that Stephanopoulos is insulting African Americans himself, in insinuating whatever he's trying to insinuate with his leading questions about "what changed" or might be "going to change".

And moreover when he's speaking to people of color he's not speaking to people of color (which was true; he was addressing a largely black audience, but the people he wanted to be heard by were white voters looking for reassurance that their vote for Trump wouldn't be a racist vote), but to all Americans, including you, George—how dare you respond in this malicious way to the generosity of Mr. Trump in including you in the general warmth of his not-insulting embrace?

So that the real insulter, in this almost miraculous sequence of changes, repeatedly turns out to be poor Stephanopoulos, in every chorus as it were, though that makes no sense whatever. It doesn't need to make sense, it works.

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