BobLee… George Washington … and The WHCD
ALERT: …My opinion on The White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD) is NOT what you might expect. Before you mutter “awwww crap” and click off… bear with me. … or not, but I hope you will.
ALERT #2: …This is kinda long… but Boy Oh Boy there is some Incredible Insightful Stuff in it. Pull over and really concentrate on this one. It WILL be on the final exam.
If you have NOT heard about Saturday night’s White House Correspondents Dinner… Congratulations! You are living a very heavily insulated life in an impenetrable info-bubble.
I want to come up with a better term for The Very Not-Civil War now being waged “from sea to shining sea… across the fruited plain”. Until I do, I guess this has to be “about Politics”.
IMO, this is more about the grim realization that War Is A Very Dirty Business.
If you find yourself in “a War” you better be prepared to do whatever it takes to win… or you and your side will lose. Losing “a War” has lots worse consequences than losing a silly ball game.
Full Disclosure: I do not hide which side I am on in America’s Very Not-Civil War. I try not to bludgeon you with that here on BobLeeSays, leaving the bludgeoning to AgentPierce and to Blondie; but you know I am very very Not-Liberal…. Very Very Very Not-Liberal.
I voted for Donald Trump as “the lesser of two evils”. 18 months later, I like him better as a POTUS than I did as a candidate. Would I vote for him again today? Absolutely… as often as I could get away with.
Can I be impartial in assessing the WHCD? Sure I can… can’t you? Don’t answer that.
The WHCD has been a tradition in Washington DC since “a very long time ago”. Before Andrea Mitchell’s first face-lift… THAT LONG! It was conceived as a good-natured “roast” of a sitting presidential administration by the members of the news media assigned to cover The White House.
“The media” and the sitting administration could dress up in fancy clothes and, good naturedly, ”poke a little fun” at one another for one night. Everyone sorta kinda shared the definition of “good naturedly” and a good time was had by all.
The line of “good taste” was obvious to all but the most sociopathically insane of the attendees. There have been “insane” among us for 1,000s of years. “Insanity” is non-partisan.
Every WH Administration and “the media” have, by design, an adversarial relationship. Any White House would prefer to go about its business without having “the media” snooping around 24/7. “The media” was supposed to be the non-partisan eyes/ears of The American Public making sure elected officials do what they were elected to do.
In theory that should be a mutually tolerable symbiotic relationship. Obviously that theory got blown to smithereens along the way. Why it became totally corrupted is, of course, the ubiquitous “their fault”… “their” being who you perceive as “the enemy” in this Not-Civil At All War.
WH Admins, long before the current one, have become more/more “not-open” as regards their daily doings… and “the media” aka The WHCs more and more overtly partisan in their reporting. Which is “the cause” which is “the effect”? Another “their fault”.
These WHCDs have become increasingly “VERY NOT-good naturedly” over time. Again… “their” fault. The “tone” of this one was not surprising to anyone attending. It was fully expected and eagerly anticipated by “one side” … dreaded by “the other side”.
The key ingredient to a “good-natured roast” is that the roasters “like” the roastee. You may recall The Friars Roasts of various Hollywood luminaries. Don Rickles, et al, would “poke fun” at Dean Martin, Johnny Carson, Milton Berle etc etc… often with “old groaner jokes” in which anyone’s name could be inserted. When the Friar Roasts were private affairs, the digs were often “risqué”. When they began to be televised, the roasters all knew to “clean up their acts”.
Everyone involved knew that it was “all in good fun” and that the roasters were actually “honoring” their friend and show biz colleague.
There is ZERO similarity between a Show Biz Friars Roast and recent WHCDs. Just as there is no similarity between stand-up comedians of the 50-60s and current “comedy club” performers. That evolution is easily documented… Red Skelton would NOT have used the “jokes” used at The WHCD.
It comes down to issues of censorship… definitions of obscenity… free speech… and, the key, WHO gets to determine what “is acceptable” and “not”. I want that gig but I can’t get a 2nd vote !!!
A comic making hurtful jokes about someone you LIKE is “offensive”.
A comic making hurtful jokes about someone you especially DON’T LIKE is “OK” even if you know it is tasteless. “They deserve it” is your “out”.
If the exact same “jokes” made Saturday night had been about POTUS Obama and his staff, the reactions of 97% of the assembled “media” would have been OUTRAGE.
Opponents of the Obama Administration might have winched and felt a bit uncomfortable … but would be repeating “the best ones” on social media.
Jokes about politicians and bureaucrats are like jokes about college sports fan bases or “polaks”. The same joke tweaked just a tad can apply to either side. A talented comedian, or his unseen writers, can find “points of attack” about anyone. … Trump’s hair… Obama’s jug ears… Hillary’s kankles… etc.
So… Saturday night the organizers of the White House Press Corps brought in a “merc”… a paid stand-up comic-mercenary – to publicly verbally assassinate Donald Trump, Mike Pence and high profile members of their staff… specifically Sarah Huckabee Sanders and KellyAnne Conway. She did; but, she did NOT violate any law or threaten national security in any way. It was perfectly legal.
“Yelling FIRE in a crowded theater” is a crime. She did not do that.
“Offending people” is NOT a crime. OK, if “people like me” do it it might be someday.
Was it “Hate Speech”? Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg would not think so. Many of you probably would say so. The Definition of Hate Speech is a VERY important decision in America’s future.
But But BobLee… what that kinky-haired potty-mouth was saying was “mean-spirited”! “Mean-Spirited”… Boo-freakin-Hoo …Give me a break!
Do you know how Navy SEALS fight? They attack in the middle of the night and stab the enemy in the back or shoot them in their sleep. Hows THAT for “mean-spirited”.
We are in a Very Not-Civil WAR folks. Whether you like it, will admit it… or not.
Neither I nor AgentPierce nor Blondie “pull our punches” in what we write on this website. We “go for the jugular”. Read Pierce’s comments about Joy Reid. We want to win this “War”. …So does our enemy.
That hired assassin will be enjoying her “15 minutes of fame” for the next several days. Taking time / headline space from Hogg-Boy and the DOJ Gang. That isn’t all bad… and segues nicely to my next incredibly insightful point.
George Washington? … No, not yet.
I have listened to “what she said”. It was standard 2018 Comedy Club material. Some of it was “boiler-plate” insults as noted about. I call such material “Cutthroat Comedy”.
I know a little bit about Cutthroat Comedy. About 10-12 years ago I considered taking my Wit & Wisdom on the “rubber chicken circuit”. Over an 18-24 month period I “did” over 50 civic clubs. Civic clubs are baby steps to one’s own Vegas showroom. I regaled mostly baby boomer guys and gals with the verbal version of what I do here.
If you do a 20-minute routine to, say, The Fayetteville Kiwanis Club, and you do 10-minutes of UNCCH jokes… and 10-minutes of NC State jokes. What will happen? You will have pissed off 100% of the room. They only remember that you “insulted” them.
My personal Road To Damascus Experience occurred in Rapid City SD in front of 500 people. I didn’t exactly “bomb” but it was unpleasant enough that I was convinced “stand-up comedy” was NOT “God’s Plan” for moi. The drunk guy who rushed the stage shouting obscenities at me, not once but twice, was God’s assigned messenger.
I did NOT know my audience. I thought I did… I was wrong. Who knew that a joke about “drunk Indians” might not work twenty miles from one of America’s largest Indian reservations? I mean Really…. If you are going to do Cutthroat Comedy you better really know your audience or be wearing Kevlar.
That hired assassin the White House Correspondents used Saturday “knew her on-site audience”. She was certain 95% of that on-site audience was going to LOVE her toxic material… and they certainly did.
Sure, 63,000,000 other Americans did NOT but only a dozen or so of “them” were in that room Saturday night.
What about George Washington? Chill… almost.
All the OUTRAGE on social media from Trump supporters is simply more positive publicity for her immediate future… working clubs and appearing on CNN, MSNBC, The View, and all the Far Left Late Night Talk Shows. Her calendar is full for the next six months… in places where a highly partisan foamin’-at-the-mouth Far Left audience is assured. BIG WIN for her.
NOTHING she said is not said repeatedly on those afore-mentioned Far Left media outlets for the past two years.
Joy Behar, Joe Scarborough, Whoopi, Kimmel, Colbert, “Joy”, et al have been using versions of her material insulting All Things Trump since the Summer of 2008. DUH!
I don’t watch those shows but my personal Twitter feed keeps me up-dated on their daily attacks on Trump World. It’s like living in London during “The Blitz”… every day here come more V-2 insult rockets.
Donald Trump is a very unusual and overtly provocative individual… unlike ANY POTUS in our history. If he were not “unusual and provocative” Hillary Clinton would be POTUS.
I did not vote for Donald Trump to be my pastor or to be my moral compass. He would not qualify for any such list. “I knew what I was getting” with my vote. He (DJT) said and did several things in the primaries and general election that I wish he had NOT said/done… attacking candidates personally.
I voted for him to CLEAN UP THE SWAMP which, like War, is a dirty business. IMO, he has “kicked major ass” in just 18 months. WhetherI you agree with that or not.
If he had taken my advice, he would NOT have defeated The Wicked Witch of Chappaqua. I’m glad he “did it his way” but “his way” came at a price.
DJT is a “big boy” quite used to “playing country hardball”. He has heard all the “hair jokes” and pretty much all the “Trump is …..” jokes about his provocative personal life.
Melania Trump is “a big girl” used to “being a high profile public figure”. For that matter so are The Obamas and The Clintons…
Sarah Sanders and KellyAnne Conway are not as “seasoned” as DJT for the very nasty fishbowl they are now swimming in. Sarah saw some of it with her father… but not to the “no-holds-barred” … “nothing sacred” level she is in now. But they seem to have been fast learners of that grim reality. Either or both could resign and fade into public obscurity… writing books or speaking to partisan-friendly groups at $10,000/speech. They are choosing not to run away.
Were the remarks at the WHCD “fair”? That’s a ridiculous question. “Fair” is not an option in War”. “Fair” has not been an option in American politics in decades. The “line you don’t cross” was rubbed out many years ago.
AgentPierce wrote several months that “There is no Geneva Convention in a Very Not-Civil War”. True that!
Was it “fair” for Japan to sneak attack Pearl Harbor? Is it “fair” for ISIS to use children as “suicide bombers”? Was it “fair” for Hitler to implement The Holocaust?
OK… NOW here’s George Washington…
George Washington was a junior officer in the British army during the French & Indian War. The French and their Indian allies were winning that war in its early years… by using combat tactics that the British refused to use.
The British dressed up in bright red uniforms and marched in straight lines out in the open… Napoleonic tactics popular in Europe for centuries.
“The Indians” taught the French to wear camouflage clothing and hide behind trees to ambush the bright red British marching in straight lines in the open.
Young George finally convinced the British generals to adopt a similar strategy… and the entire course of The French & Indian War flipped. The British won! “Winning” often means doing something you do not normally do but have to … TO WIN THE WAR!
…and, of course, a few years later George Washington “flipped” on the Brits; and ended up with “a monument” and a swamp full of quite nasty political critters named in his honor.
“War” is a very very dirty business. Both sides in a “war” take a lot of casualties but it’s best to be on the Winning side regardless. FAR better to be on The Winning Side.
The side that is willing to “do whatever it takes ever how unpleasant ‘whatever’ might be” usually always wins.
The side that says “Sure, I want to win, but not bad enough to do THAT….” Usually loses.
We ARE in a Very Un-Civil War in America. A War for the minds and hearts of America.
Not a War of guns and bombs… at least not yet anyway. A War being fought with words and pictures on a media battlefield.
There was a skirmish in this War on Saturday night at the WHCD. Was there a defined “winner” at the WHCD? Too early to tell.
Over the next two years what was said at this WHCD will be “the good old days”. There is a Big Nasty Storm brewing in America.
“Sticks and Stones may break my bones… but words will never hurt me…”. Is that still true?
Sarah Sanders and KellyAnne survived unscathed. They are “warriors”.
DJT is cool … in his world, the INCOMING never stops.
In another 36 hours you won’t remember that kinky-haired potty-mouth assassin’s name… if you ever knew it.
So… in the immortal words of Forrest Gump… “…and that is what I think about THAT.”