Ever since that White House Correspondents dinner Saturday night, I have not trusted my negative reactions.
I wanted to make sure I did not have a male-double-standard reaction to a female comedian who talked dirty about the disturbed man in the White House.
She, after all, did not say anything that my wife and I have not shouted at the tube in the last two years.
But there is a huge difference between insults hurled in a darkened tv den….or incessant breaking-news yammering on cable news….or kvetching on my own little therapy web site…or even actual news reported by my friend Michael S. Schmidt and other stars at the New York Times and Washington Post….and a raunchy televised monologue in a huge room filled with DC types.
So despite judgments by my wife….and Masha Gessen in The New Yorker….that the speech was righteous and prophetic, I am reminded why the Times, my former employer, does not participate in the annual dinner.
The Times also does not let its staff vote for awards – sports, entertainment, anything – because, as I understand it, the Times’ job is to report news rather than make news with a quirky vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame or something else trivial.
The Times has been way ahead of the curve on ducking the dinner, which may have been a grand old Washington custom when (male) swamp-dwellers smoked cigars and chuckled at musty jokes about Franklin Pierce’s golf game, or whatever.
I know scholarships and awards are involved, but the dinner (without the pulchritude of the Oscar show) was mean. Then again, I didn’t think Steven Colbert’s 2006 riff on President George W. Bush was funny. (I don’t think Colbert is funny, or Bill Maher, and I thought Louis C.K. was rancid when I caught him on tv once or twice. I love Letterman and Chris Rock and Wanda Sykes and Tina Fey but there are too many comedians. I know this sounds stuffy.)
The point is, there is a disturbed man in the White House, courtesy of angry people with racial bias and rich guys and evangelicals and frauds like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. This is serious business. Hiring a comedian for shock value does not help.
You should hear the stuff my wife and I shout at Sarah Huckabee Sanders in our den, as she pours self-righteous contempt on journalism, and facts, and reality. She was sent by the chicken-heart President to take the insults Saturday, and she reacted with stoic dignity, for once.
If you ask me, we need to listen to dead-serious people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, neither of whom has ever been described as a comedian.
The country needs Robert Mueller to do his job, and federal prosecutors, and lawyers, and journalists, and refreshing younger candidates, and journalists.
The dinner needs to evolve if not expire. No more comedians. No more yuks. This is serious business.
The correspondents should say: We are better than that.
5/1/2018 02:05:44 pm
I find Sanders' way of doing her job as appalling as anyone. She fits perfectly into the Trump White House Circus. But attacking her for her physical appearance and humiliating her in public like that was cruel and ought to have been out of bounds. She lies and obfuscates, but she didn't kill anybody. The comedian-and I've never heard of her before this-went too far.
5/1/2018 02:06:45 pm
And the people said, amen.
5/1/2018 02:47:30 pm
By the way George, I pretty much share your take on contemporary comedians with the exception that I can tolerate Colbert in limited doses but I can't stand Letterman who I think is fundamentally mean. And how Louis CK ever got anywhere is a huge mystery to me. In any case, this as all too important to be turned into a joke. Maybe doing so gives us some comic relief, but I too am hoping that Robert Mueller is able to do his job without interference so we can have some clarity.
5/1/2018 06:15:10 pm
You got a lot wrong, George, with respect. The "Rich Guys" are on the side of the comedian. They put her there. And, Americans who put their hopes in Trump aren't racists. They put HIM there. The poor may always be with us, but it is wrong for this country to have so many so very quickly. You should read some more to regain your proper bearings and understand why we are where we are in this country. Your former employer, and my own decades long resource for news, is not part of the solution.
5/1/2018 09:17:37 pm
5/1/2018 09:25:13 pm
'here is a disturbed man in the White House, courtesy of angry people with racial bias and rich guys and evangelicals and frauds"
5/1/2018 09:44:03 pm
5/2/2018 09:30:23 am
Alas, George, I think what you've called your "therapy blog" needs some therapy. I share your views about our intemperate president and administration, but that seems to be an increasingly difficult thing to talk about here as is the case everywhere, as the WHCA dinner demonstrates. .
5/2/2018 10:13:30 am
Hi, kids, nice day today where I live. Thanks for the comments.
5/2/2018 10:53:25 am
George, I totally disagree that we have too many comedians. Laughter is good for the soul; but a lot of what is passed off as "comedy" today is just as you depicted: mean-spirited, vulgar and just not funny. I did not watch the dinner but saw a bit of the clip of it and could not stand to watch much of her act, though I am unapologetically liberal. I did later read a few of her one-liners which I thought were hilarious, but in its entirety, I find it diffficult to defend
5/3/2018 10:24:32 pm
George, there is no quality reporting threshold for what is published in our major media, including the NYT, if it is anti Trump. Fake news is an precisely accurate term. Every day. Today, it's false wiretapping allegations concerning Trump's attorney. CBS. NBC et al,. CNN, etc. All wrong. What will we see tomorrow? What is going on? It is not rational. It is not accurate. If you want the explanation, I've given it.
5/4/2018 05:51:33 pm
Well, George, today's news includes this: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/judge-manafort-case-dont-unfettered-power/story?id=54936735
5/3/2018 10:48:27 pm
5/4/2018 05:58:04 pm
Bruce, I want to know who you are. I authorize George to give you my personal information and I want yours.
5/4/2018 12:06:56 am
Even Sarah Sanders must have some moral limit and friends who will tell her when she’s wrong. And at what point will even Fox News have to distance itself and stop being a partner? Surely there must be some people at that enterprise with integrity. And instincts of self-preservation have to kick in at some point. “Hillary’s e-mail server” and “fake news” can’t be the responses to every criticism of Mr. Trump. The willing suspension of disbelief can be a wonderful thing when enjoying a work of fiction like a film or a novel. In everyday life, not so much. Sooner or later, reality bites.
5/4/2018 12:16:30 am
5/5/2018 01:17:39 pm
Comments are closed.
“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.