While major news networks have struggled to figure out the right way to cover the Trump administration, political satirists like Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers have demonstrated why comedy can be such a powerful antidote to bullshit. Follow Strikethrough on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/CarlosMazaVox/ The first few months of the Trump administration have been a goldmine for late-night comedians and political satirists. Shows like Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, Saturday Night Live, and Late Night With Seth Meyers have enjoyed ratings boosts thanks to their regular lampooning of the Trump White House. But beyond the jokes and sight gags, political satirists have done an excellent job of seriously covering the Trump administration — sometimes even better than major TV news networks. And that’s because while traditional journalists feel compelled to take President Trump’s often absurd statements and conspiracy theories seriously, political satirists have demonstrated an extremely low tolerance for bullshit.
In the latest controversy to envelop the Supreme Court nominee, criminals across the United States are demanding that their cases receive the kind of F.B.I. investigation that Brett Kavanaugh just got.
From coast to coast, perpetrators of crimes ranging from arson to bank robbery are arguing that, if the F.B.I. investigates them at all, such investigations should be extremely limited in scope.
Harland Dorrinson, a criminal lawyer in Cleveland, said that his clients have followed the Kavanaugh probe “with great interest” and see it as “tailor-made” for the crimes for which they stand accused.
“My clients are asking that the F.B.I. investigate them for no more than five days and only talk to the witnesses I designate,” Dorrinson said. “We think this could be a huge time saver for everybody.”
One of his clients, Denton Faldo, currently faces twenty criminal counts of cooking and selling meth, but wants the F.B.I. to investigate only an unrelated speeding violation.
“It’s important that the F.B.I. wrap up this investigation by Friday and release me from jail in time for the weekend,” Faldo said. “A man’s life is in tatters.”
.. The Republicans, if they stick together, have the necessary votes. A veneer of civility made it seem as if the senators were questioning Ford and Kavanaugh to get to the truth
.. But that’s not what the hearing was designed to explore
.. it should be as plain as day that what we witnessed was the patriarchy testing how far its politics of resentment can go. And there is no limit.
.. “Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” Ford had told the Washington Post when she first went public
.. With the word “annihilation” she conjured the spectre of Anita Hill
.. Ford’s experience—shaped by the optics of the #MeToo moment, by her whiteness and country-club roots—was different. The Republicans on the committee, likely coached by some consultant, did not overtly smear Ford.
Some pretended, condescendingly, to extend her empathy. Senator Orrin Hatch, who once claimed that Hill had lifted parts of her harassment allegations against Thomas from “The Exorcist,” called Ford “pleasing,” an “attractive” witness.
.. Instead of questioning her directly, the Republicans hired Rachel Mitchell,
Mitchell’s fitful, sometimes aimless questioning did the ugly work of softening the Republican assault on Ford’s testimony. Ford, in any case, was phenomenal, a “witness and expert” in one, and it seemed, for a moment following her testimony, that the nation might be unable to deny her credibility.
.. Then Kavanaugh came in, like an eclipse. He made a show of being unprepared. Echoing Clarence Thomas, he claimed that he did not watch his accuser’s hearing. (Earlier, it was reported that he did.) “I wrote this last night,” he said, of his opening statement. “No one has seen this draft.”
.. Alternating between weeping and yelling, he exemplified the conservative’s embrace of bluster and petulance as rhetorical tools.
.. spinning unbelievably chaste interpretations of what was, by all other accounts, his youthful habit of blatant debauchery
.. he was as Trumpian as Trump himself, louder than the loudest on Fox News. He evaded questions; he said that the allegations brought against him were “revenge” on behalf of the Clintons; he said, menacingly, that “what goes around comes around.” When Senator Amy Klobuchar calmly asked if he had ever gotten blackout drunk, he retorted, “Have you?” (He later apologized to her.)
.. There was, in this performance, not even a hint of the sagacity one expects from a potential Supreme Court Justice.
.. More than presenting a convincing rebuttal to Ford’s extremely credible account, Kavanaugh—and Hatch, and Lindsey Graham—seemed to be exterminating, live, for an American audience, the faint notion that a massively successful white man could have his birthright questioned or his character held to the most basic type of scrutiny.
In the course of Kavanaugh’s hearing, Mitchell basically disappeared. Republican senators apologized to the judge, incessantly, for what he had suffered. There was talk of his reputation being torpedoed and his life being destroyed. This is the nature of the conspiracy against white male power—the forces threatening it will always somehow be thwarted at the last minute.
.. The Ford-Kavanaugh hearing will be remembered for their entrenchment of the worst impulses from that earlier ordeal. What took place on Thursday confirms that male indignation will be coddled, and the gospel of male success elevated. It confirms that there is no fair arena for women’s speech. Mechanisms of accountability will be made irrelevant.
“If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried.”
— A lawyer close to the White House, speaking to Politico
.. If, apparently, a single alleged assault at a single party decades ago is to be frowned upon, then no man is safe, right?
.. What’s next? You can’t harass a colleague and serve on the Supreme Court? You can’t pick up high schoolers outside custody hearings and serve in the Senate? You can’t have a meat locker full of female femurs and expect to breeze through your confirmation as interior secretary?
.. How are we going to fill our offices if this is the new rule? I bet you will say I cannot shout at women as they pass on the street before dragging them to a concrete bunker and then still expect to become governor! What next? I’m supposed to make sure everyone I have sex with is willing?
If suddenly, as a country, we decide that violently attempting to assault someone is, like, bad, then that knocks out 98, maybe 99 percent of men, just going off the locker-room talk I’ve heard.
Look, which of us is 100 percent certain all his sexual encounters are consensual? That isn’t most people’s baseline, surely? You’re telling me I am supposed to encounter dozens, hundreds, thousands of women in my life, some drunk and some sober and some with really good legs and just … not assault any of them?
.. there ought to be some kind of punch card — say, if you treat 65 women with the respect and dignity you would accord any man, you are entitled to one freebie.
.. I mean, it’s not as though they’re people, are they? At the moment of conception, yes, but then they come out Daughters, not people! They grow into objects; some become Wives or Mothers, others Hags or Crones. Then they die! If they were people, we would not expect dominion over their bodies, surely; if they were people, we would not feel entitled to their smiles. If they were people, I could read a novel with a female protagonist and not be instantly confused and alarmed.
.. They are to be put on pedestals, as John Kelly urges, or groped, as the president urges. They are impervious to cold, capable of wearing a bikini on the most frigid day to please us; they can run great distances in heels without discomfort; they were created for us from a rib and designed as our companion. If they have wants of their own, there is really no way of knowing.
.. It would just be too terrible if they were people. Then you could not harm them with impunity. Then if you made a mistake (Boys will be boys), you would have harmed a person. Then something else would be at stake in addition to your career, and that cannot be.
.. Besides, if this is wrong, if you have to go through life inconveniently believing that the other half of the world is made of people, too, then what will boys do for innocent amusement? Who among us was not once 17 and partook in a little roughhousing? How were we to know there was — purportedly! — a person in there? Who cannot, in retrospect, be accused of something dreadful? This isn’t just me, I hope.
No, if this is the rule, no man is safe. Not the man who shouts at you as you walk down the sidewalk, or grabs you, or puts something in your drink. As all men do, I think.
.. If assault renders a man unfit to serve on the Supreme Court, then how are we to discern the Founders’ intent? I mean, Jefferson, hello? And what is going to become of the presidency? Who wants to live in that world?
Every man should be worried. If boys cannot be boys, then how can boys be men who rise to the highest offices in the land? If this stops being something you can get away with, then will anyone still be above the law?
Every man should be worried.
At least, I’m worried.
Newly discovered early glimmers of legal brilliance from “America’s lawyer.”
1951. Seven-year-old Rudy Giuliani is caught by his mother with his hand in the cookie jar and crumbs around his mouth.
MRS. GIULIANI: Rudy, I told you not to eat the cookies!
RUDY: You said, “Don’t not eat the cookies.”
MRS. GIULIANI: I didn’t say that.
RUDY: You just admitted “I didn’t not say that.”
MRS. GIULIANI: You’re adding “not” to sentences to make them mean the opposite.
RUDY: (laughs boisterously) I’ve listened to hundreds of maternal statements, and it wasn’t until the third time I replayed what you said in my mind, because there’s no way to easily record conversations in the current year — 1951 — that I heard the “not.” And even if your original statement is what you didn’t not say it wasn’t not, could you actually prove that I ate multiple cookies?
MRS. GIULIANI: No, but that’s beside the —
RUDY: Being told “don’t eat the cookies” and eating a single cookie isn’t a federal crime, correct?
MRS. GIULIANI: We’re moving the goal posts from “I didn’t eat the cookies” to “I ate a single cookie, which isn’t a federal crime”?
RUDY: Who tipped you off to the alleged cookie theft?
MRS. GIULIANI: Your cousin.
RUDY: Cousin Michael’s been a known liar and a tattler for years.
MRS. GIULIANI: Two days ago, when he swore you didn’t finish the apple pie cooling on the window sill, you said he was “an honest and honorable cousin.”
RUDY: That was before he made these ridiculous allegations. What kind of scoundrel watches his cousin eat a pie off a window sill?
MRS. GIULIANI: So you’re confessing that you did eat the pie?
RUDY: Hypothetically, when in fact I wasn’t there, and also there never was a pie. Or a window sill.