Thursday, May 31, 2018


Here's a quote from Jonathan Swan's latest Axios piece, which tells us that President Trump repeatedly pressured Jeff Sessions to reverse his recusal in the Russia investigation, and also pressed him to investigate Hillary Clinton:
“It’s not just payback; it’s punishment. It’s never enough to win. There’s never too much blood. There’s never too many guts on the floor. That’s his mentality. If you give him a paper cut he'll never forget that paper cut.”

— Source who talks frequently to Trump
Swan also writes:
Much of [Trump's] desire for investigating Clinton and Barack Obama comes from a desire for retribution, sources who have discussed the matter with Trump told me.
It's not just Trump -- the entire conservative movement feels exactly the same way. That's why Trump is the most beloved figure on the right since Reagan -- because he wants to cause liberals intense pain, just like conservative voters (and their heroes in the media).

Which brings me to Samantha Bee. If you didn't watch the sketch from last night's show in which she attacked the administration's immigration policies, it's a shame -- it was a solid, smart piece of work. And then we came to the end:
“Ivanka Trump, who works at the White House, chose to post the second most oblivious tweet we’ve seen this week,” Bee said. “You know, Ivanka, that’s a beautiful photo of you and your child, but let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad’s immigration practices, you feckless c*nt!”

“He listens to you,” she added. “Put on something tight and low-cut and tell your father to fucking stop it. Tell him it was an Obama thing and see how it goes, okay?”
You're all going to slam me for saying this, but Jeet Heer has a point:
Samantha Bee picked the worst moment to insult Ivanka Trump....

Bee’s comments would be provocative at the best of times, but were especially incendiary given that actress Roseanne Barr recently lost her sitcom after sending out a racist tweet....

By insulting Ivanka Trump at a moment when the political right was looking for tit-for-tat retaliation, regardless of whether the joke would have been productive or appropriate under any circumstances, Bee made the wrong joke at the wrong time.
What Barr tweeted was incontrovertibly racist, and it was appropriate that she was fired. By contrast, "cunt" in the context of Bee's monologue was just a vulgarism, from one woman to another. It's a vulgarism that appears on numerous Trump-related items. It's a word Trump White House guest Ted Nugent used years ago in reference to Hillary Clinton. It's a word that, in acronym form, was the name of an anti-Clinton organization formed by Trump pal Roger Stone during the 2008 campaign. It's a word Trump himself used in reference to former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, according to Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury.

And yet it was clear that this was coming, because within hours of the cancellation of Roseanne Barr's show, the right was looking for a non-conservative scalp. Attention was first focused on Bill Maher, who once joked that Trump seemed to have descended from an orangutan. The attack on Maher didn't work -- comparing white people to non-human primates is clearly not historically linked to bigotry. But it was obvious that the right wanted blood, and would use all of its narrative-shaping resources to demonize the first left-leaning comic who walked into the ambush.

I'm not saying that progressive comics should curb their anger. I'm saying that this was a strong, intelligent seven-minute piece that nevertheless would have given the right no opening -- but then it wrapped up with the word "cunt" (and a joke about Trump's sexual interest in his daughter, which for some reason right-wingers aren't attacking -- perhaps because they know it's on point?).

It was predictable that Bee would be the target if she used this word in this way at this time, and it might have made sense fore her to weigh the value of keeping her show on the air for the foreseeable future against the possibility -- no, the likelihood -- that this one naughty-word joke could sink her entire career. Was that one joke worth the risk? And wasn't the risk foreseeable?

I'm not saying, "Liberals, censor yourselves." I'm saying, "Liberals, don't give the bastards an opening."

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