Monday, September 18, 2017

Spicey Meatball

Melissa McCarthy, via Death and Taxes.
You know what I'd like Sean Spicer to do? I'd like him to show up on national television to tell everybody in the world that taxpayers were paying him substantial sums of money to tell the American people lies so incredible he could hardly keep a straight face, and that rather than being ashamed of this abuse of the public trust he actually thought it was kind of funny.

Oh wait, that's what he did.

The narrative of what a terrible thing Colbert and the Emmy producers did in having Spicey on the show, participating in the mockery of his character, is being led by folks like Chris Cillizza

and Frank Bruni

Sean Spicer took a page from the president and then a bow on the Emmys stage.
Not exactly a bow, and there are Emmys production folks and television industry figures who are telling themselves that during his fleeting appearance at the ceremony, Spicer was being slyly demeaned, not sanitized.
What bunk. The message of his presence was not only that we can all laugh at his service and sycophancy in the Trump administration, but that he’s welcome to laugh with us.
All I can say is when there's that much pearl-clutching going on you might want to resist aligning yourself with it.

Last time there was a presidential press secretary telling lies on an unprecedented scale his name was Ari Fleischer, doing his bit in the Bush-Cheney effort to set the Middle East on fire, and when he crashed and burned himself, two and a half years into his tenure, he didn't go on television to make a laughingstock of himself. He wrote a self-serving memoir refusing to acknowledge he'd ever done anything wrong, went into the business of advising sports figures, and re-emerged during the Obama administration as some kind of reputable, solemn figure, regarded as within the pale by people like Cillizza and Bruni, sharing his views on weighty matters with the rest of the world, now with a regular gig on Fox News.

That's something you might consider flying into a rage over. That's something you might think of as having "validated—and celebrated—lying".

But Spicey? Spicey confessed. And he's never going to have a chance to act serious again. He will always be Melissa McCarthy riding the lectern like Ben Hur on a chariot. He's an assclown, and an acknowledged one. And the whole edifice is collapsing as we speak (just heard about the coming indictment of Paul Manafort as I was working on this).

That is in itself, I believe, what the reputable and solemn figures, the Cillizzas and Brunis object to. Spicey unmasks the idiocy of the press establishment trying to pretend that there are serious things going on in the world of punditry, where they weigh and compare the utterances coming out of the Trump briefing room, just as they did in Obama's, without even varying their approach. Their willingness to go along with the pretense that Donald Trump, or Sarah Palin, or Spicey himself is a serious person, their assiduous participation in the bothsider game of what they aspirationally call "objectivity", is a big part of what gave us this farcical, but terrifying calamity of a Trump presidency. Spicey on the Emmys stage exposes them for the hacks they are: how could they not have recognized that he was talking nonsense the whole time? How could they not have shouted it everywhere? It wasn't Spicer who was being "slyly demeaned", it was the Washington press corps.

Colbert (I don't know, but I want him to have the writing credit) deserves our unending gratitude, once again, for this piece of Brechtian Lehrtheater showing what assclowns they all are in the DC political press and how little reason we have to take any of them seriously, except as thoughtless, airheaded villains of this appalling story. And I don't see why Spicer shouldn't cash in on it.

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