Tag Archives: Trump

A Funny Thing Happened…

 

The matriarch of the Bowles family, Thelma, died shortly before Thanksgiving this year. She was 103 years old.

103. The things Thelma saw.

Charlie Chaplin made his first film in 1914. The first stone of the Lincoln Memorial was put into place. Woodrow Wilson signed a declaration commemorating Mother’s Day. Babe Ruth made his major league debut for the Boston Red Sox.

As we do so many of our kin, the Bowles honored Thelma in the little churches where she was raised. The ceremony was followed by the small, somber-but-love-filled reunions that seem to follow all hollowed departures. I used to not understand funerals. Now, it seems, I speak their language as a second tongue.

Which, before this Dinosaur Edition of Factslaps (Trump may soon be receiving a Round Earth or Sound It Out Edition soon), I’d like to make formal my funeral requests. These are my wishes, being of unsound mind and body:

  1. I want to be cremated, and have my ashes donated to science.
  2. I want multiple headstones (who says you can only have one?), dotting the nation’s unsuspecting cemeteries.
  3. I want every tombstone to read “I’m Just Resting My Eyes.”
  4. I want my funeral service to include a break dance contest.

And now, a word from our sponsors:

  • Dinosaurs lived on Earth for 150 million years. We’ve been around for just 0.1% of that time.
  • Dinosaurs are not, technically, extinct, since birds are considered by science as a type of dinosaur.
  • The longest complete dinosaur is the 27 meters (89 feet) long Diplodocus, which was discovered in Wyoming.
  • The smallest known dinosaur was about four inches (10 cm) tall and weighed less than a chihuahua.
  • Most dinosaurs are known from just a single tooth or bone.
  • The word “Dinosaur”comes from the ancient Greek and means “terrible lizard.”
  • If Earth’s history were condensed into 24 hours, life would’ve appeared at 4am, land plants at 10:24pm, dinosaur extinction at 11:41pm and human history would’ve begun at 11:58:43pm.
  • There’s a limestone cliff with more than 5,000 dinosaur footprints in Bolivia, with many dating back 68 million years.
  • The dinosaur noises in the “Jurassic Park” movie were made from recordings of tortoise sex.
  • 40% of Americans think that humansand dinosaurs lived at the same time.
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Livid, from New York, It’s Saturday Night!

 

First: How is it that Donald Trump has not responded to rapper Eminem’s scathing video beat down of the administration, in which he told his fans that if they were supporters of the Pumpkin-in-Chief, they should stop following buying his music?

It was a rare non-response (which has become as much a tea leaf into his thinking as the Tweets he does make) from a president who likes nothing more than to enter a social fray in which he can offend.

Confusion is the only scenario I can think of that led to the silence:

Flunkie: “Sir, social media is buzzing about Eminem’s video criticizing you.”

Trump: “Those sons of bitches. Was it the green one?”

The Incontinent Id did offer some interesting fantasizing last week. Namely, wondering aloud if the media’s daily excoriating of him wasn’t tantamount to unequal political coverage.

Of course, one of the greatest memories in the history of memories didn’t use the word “tantamount.” Multi-syllabic words are not his friend (except bigly, which actually is a word, coined in the 1400’s). Instead, he mused aloud whether he should yank NBC’s broadcasting license.

Gen. John Kelly couldn’t get to him in time to tell Trump he doesn’t have the legal authority to do that. Or perhaps Sarah Huckabee Sanders scolded Kelly that it’s disrespectful for a Gold Star family member to differ with a president. Regardless, the Tweet went out like a silent fart at church.

Still, under the broken-clock theory of logic, Trump occasionally (if unintentionally) strikes on a salient point. What if he could revoke FCC licenses? The question is less one of power than programming. Trump has floated the idea of equal air time before. But what would Republicans put in its stead? The GOP is terrific at bellyaching (Hannity, O’Reilly, Limbaugh), less so at belly laughs. 

Consider: Name one politically satirical TV show that is conservative. There was once Dennis Miller of Saturday Night Live fame, but his humor became so obscure even he didn’t get his jokes. Other right-tilting comedians include Tim Allen, Jeff Foxworthy, Adam Sandler and Larry the Cable Guy. But they joke about politics about as often as they do pedophilia.

Now consider the other side of the ledger. There are no fewer than seven big-budget comedy shows making Koch-like money skewering President Carrot Top: The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyer and The Opposition with Jordan Klepper. And that doesn’t include Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, The Trump Show on Comedy Central, or the increasingly leftward leanings of mainstream comedians Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon. All but Klepper were born during Democratic presidencies.

What gives? The most common answer I get is “Republicans aren’t funny.” But we know simply from the success of Republicans’ non-political entertainment that this isn’t the case. Sandler’s movies clear $83 million a flick. Allen’s Home Improvement ran for nine years and took more than a dozen Emmy Awards.

The issue, then, must be the material more than the emcees. And here’s where you find the comedic difficulty of conservatism.

Like journalism, comedy requires editorial freedom to work. It also requires watch dogging, critiquing and whistle blowing when the system goes off the rails — hardly a skill set sought in quarters that seek order or discipline, like the military, government or church.

Picture a Republican TV show that excoriates Trump for a boneheaded comment. Or teases the religious right. They’d be shut down in a week — by Republicans. When you take god or the president off the comedy menu, you’re left with a plateful of limp-noodle punchlines. And little to aim at besides people telling the jokes.

Which as been the sole stratagem left standing for the alt-right. A day after the Vegas shooting, Sean Hannity went on the air to play a montage of comedy shows that took a moment to recognize the massacre — and make a call for a change to gun laws.

Hannity vomited some nonsense about the left’s unquenchable desire to politicize American sadness.

But the shows were right, if only on a visceral scale. We are sad. And mad. And goofy and dumb and eager to address issues of the day, bigly (it means “to handle with great force, often emotionally”). So loosen up, Foxtards. There are literally millions to be made with just a dash of humor.

But here’s a tip. When you go looking for the show’s band leader, don’t bother Eminem. I don’t think he likes you.

 

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For Sale: One Bridge, Slightly Used

(photo by The Washington Examiner)

bait-and-switch
noun
  1. the action (generally illegal) of advertising goods that are an apparent bargain, with the intention of substituting inferior or more expensive goods.
    “a bait-and-switch scheme”

The term was first used in 1962, to describe an ascending advertising strategy. Ad folks also coined the term “Mad Men,” one of the most brilliantly self-aggrandizing terms in the history of language (and not a bad TV show).

Since then, of course, it’s become so familiar as to be idiomatic.

So why are we so duped by Trump’s ultimate (and ceaseless) sales strategy? Against his own party and voters,  no less?

Consider the last two months alone. The Trump administration has suffered profound political losses, from health care to DACA to being out-Tweeted by Kim Jong Un (who probably loves the nickname Rocket Man, by the way. Take it from Scotty Potty: Teases never work with cool nicknames. Ever hear a bully say,  “You throw like a girl, Diesel!”)?

Yet if you watched his weekend “rally” in Alabama, you’d think those inbreeders were welcoming  MacArthur from the Pacific Theater. Watch in news replays, and you’ll see Trump, perhaps the glummest politician in American history, beam a true smile. He’s in his element.

Which just happens to be a used car lot.

In the rally, you can see him  actually dropping the bait. First he made a brief pit stop at John McCain’s front door to drop a flaming bag of dog shit, presumably because McCain (who is about to enter the myth-o-sphere) is stealing the president’s headlines and may be the only Republican not left wearing spray-on tan backwash.

After calling the Senator names from afar, he then race-baited the huckleberries with a favorite alt-right ember: minorities who challenge American institutions. The NFL, Trump brayed, are filled with America-haters who should be automatically dismissed for not standing for the national anthem.

Teams, as expected, responded en masse today, kneeling to tell the president where to stick the rocket’s red glare. Also as expected, CNN and MSNBC went apoplectic with rage, as Fox, the state news service, defended President Pumpkinhead for telling it like it is.

So dropped was the bait. The switch, however, was made long prior. When he met with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to raise the debt ceiling to cover hurricane relief, a seismic and public victory for Democrats.

If anything, Democrats may be the biggest winners of a Trump presidency, which has been underscored by a singular strategy: Cave when it comes to negotiation, but throw out an impotent-yet-incendiary quote to appease the base.

He did it with Charlottesville. He did it with Joe Arpaio. He’s doing it now. Trump knows that coffee is for closers, and you do anything — anything — to take the sit, make the pitch, and get them to sign on the line that is dotted, as David Mamet once said.

And the media has no choice but to cover the misdirection. What is CNN going to do? Not cover the things he says? Somehow, that would be even less responsible than covering the bullshit.

Perhaps what’s needed is a mandatory warning, like with pharmaceutical commercials. Except instead of a post-commercial disclaimer, this could be superimposed under all stories: Warning: The following is misdirection. Too much attention may result in severe retardation and reverse mortgages.

And I know, Mr. Schumer,  you were caught in a hot mic moment saying that, deep down, Trump “likes us. He likes me, anyway.”

Still, Senator, I wouldn’t expect a call in the morning.

 

 

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