Nerd not!

April 28, 2013

stephen-colbert-white-house-correspondents-dinner-500x265What a difference 24-hours can make — or a week, or nearly seven years to the day.

Politics in the US is currently a total bitch, filled with confusion, back-stabbing and hate. Yet with all this crude, ignorant bluster, there’s very little true-truth to power  — no deep-throated, gut-induced ironic-sarcasm at the horrible shape of this country.

(Illustration found here).

Irony is a fit description.
Watching the White House Correspondents Dinner last night via C-Span, I was struck by the glamour of it all — Scarlett Johansson, whoa, dude! — and in it’s familiar-feel of a Golden Globes, all those tuxedo types seem to utterly-sparkle in that seemingly cavernous ballroom at the Washington Hilton. Feed from C-Span continued even between speeches, bullshit-talk and the like, and just panned the place several minutes at a time, sound only of  small-talk babbling from a thronged-upped, happy, shoulder/back-touching crowd.  (Apparently, ‘back-slapping‘ is out, now it’s just a touch. A gentle squeeze on the back, or at the elbow).

Even on my laptop, those inter-woven scenes appeared much-movie-like — the sound and movement fused together for effect. Concentrated chatter with an occasional word popping to the surface of the verbal noise, only to be snuffed quickly away by the undulating background buzz floating across this glittering sphere of activity — no people from steerage, though, except maybe the waiters moving silently/near-invisible through the mass, working tables, cleaning up shit (this was also supposedly a big dinner, which includes many poor peoples doing many jobs).

Life has been good for all those standing around and glamour-chatting, but that’s how absurd life has become — the rich also includes mainstream media people. And that’s the real shit. The cuddle-love of the MSM and wealth is staggering — these people within themselves are so out of touch with reality, and that’s one thing, but these self-centered assholes are the supposedly eyes and ears for a wide sheaf of Americans, way-muddling the distinction between a lie and any kind of truth.
And creates a deeper chasm in life inequality — ironic maybe that Hilton ballroom a sliver from ‘Les Misérables.’
Therefore, old hand Tom Brokaw sized up the big gala: “But I think any organization … has to have a kind of self-policing instinct and what we’re doing with that dinner, as it has been constituted for the past several years, is saying, ‘We’re Versailles. The rest of you eat cake.’”
Indeed, the whole affair is nothing but the cake — the rich getting richer with “the entire C-suite” on hand for a weekend of festivities:

“Chief executives, chief financial officers, chief operating officers, chief marketing officers,” she says.
“The seniority of corporate contacts [in attendance] has increased.
That creates an opportunity to showcase our brands . . . to build relationships and interact with some very senior clients.”
For most of the high rollers, she says, “this is less about going to a party and much more about high-level networking.”

And the highlight of last night’s episode — President Obama’s remarks, and a stand-up routine from Conan O’Brien — were mostly mundane with some funny bits scattered about the chaff.
And the polite way both made fun of everybody. There was no bite, no real meaning to the occasion other than to appear cordial to one fucked-up era. There was laughter, but was all to be friendly felt.
In the blend of Hollywood and political reporting the best of the evening was a couple of well-made videos which supposedly were to roast the event, but both revealed the wealthy/celebrity soul of modern-day journalism.
See both the videos at Firedoglake.

And as an old school journalist, I found the event interesting but despairingly sad.

So this morning, as I coffee-trained myself through my usual online news cycle, this post from Mediaite on Stephen Colbert’s whiplash turn as the correspondents’ dinner headline comedian — April 29, 2006, during the dying reign of George W. Bush — was like a slap up side the head.

Colbert tore George Jr. a new asshole.

From the outset of ‘Wow what an honor…” to a clipped ‘celebration‘ of the “truthiness” of life involved with George Jr.’s horror tale, everyone knew some shit was about to hit the fan, and in a mega-sarcastic blast tore apart the governing elites in such a way many in the audience couldn’t really comprehend what they were hearing.
Colbert cried George Jr. was a steadfast guy:

The greatest thing about this man is he’s steady.
You know where he stands.
He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday.
Events can change; this man’s beliefs never will.

And even whipped out climate change:

Jesse Jackson is here, the Reverend.
Haven’t heard from the Reverend in just a little while.
I had him on the show.
It was a very interesting interview, very challenging interview.
You can ask him anything, but he’s going to say what he wants at the pace that he wants.
It’s like boxing a glacier.
Enjoy that metaphor, by the way, because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier is.

And Colbert included an audition tape he’d made if he’d taken over as George Jr.’s press secretary — he claimed he’d been a great one: I think I would have made a fabulous press secretary. I have nothing but contempt for these people. I know how to handle these clowns.
The tape is absolutely hilarious, and well made.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen the whole Colbert presentation until this morning. Great, great stuff. Colbert is the best there is nowadays. See the whole video of his routine at the Mediaite link above.

Instead of the numerous soft-toss news reports appearing all over this morning on last night’s event, Colbert’s stint caused a fracas — shit did hit the fan.
The Bush White House was pissed:

“Colbert crossed the line,” said one top Bush aide, who rushed out of the hotel as soon as Colbert finished.
Another said that the president was visibly angered by the sharp lines that kept coming.
“I’ve been there before, and I can see that he is [angry],” said a former top aide.
“He’s got that look that he’s ready to blow.”

George Jr. always has that look of big-hat and no ranch all the time — an arrogant puss at anything detrimental.
And it wasn’t just Republicans. This from Democrat Steny Hoyer: “I thought some of it was funny, but I think it got a little rough,” Hoyer said. “He is the president of the United States, and he deserves some respect.”
A lot of coverage of the dinner didn’t include Colbert’s performance, or they downplayed it. The media was caught with its balls in a sling.
Frank Rich, then at the New York Times:

In retrospect, the defining moment of the 2006 campaign may well have been back in April, when Mr. Colbert appeared at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.
Call it a cultural primary.
His performance was judged a bomb by the Washington press corps, which yukked it up instead for a Bush impersonator who joined the president in a benign sketch commissioned by the White House.
But millions of Americans watching C-Span and the Web did get Mr. Colbert’s routine.
They recognized that the Beltway establishment sitting stone-faced in his audience was the butt of his jokes, especially the very news media that had parroted Bush administration fictions leading America into the quagmire of Iraq.
Five months later, a video of Mr. Colbert’s dinner speech is still a runaway iTunes hit and his comic contempt for Washington is more popular than ever.
It’s enough to give you hope that the voters may rally for reality on this crucial Election Day even as desperate politicians and some of their media enablers try one more time to stay their fictional course.

The US as a nation, however, heard real well: An audio version of the roast of President Bush by Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central rose to the rank of No. 1 album at Apple’s iTunes store on Saturday, three weeks to the night of the White House Correspondents Dinner. Also in the Top 10 were new releases by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam and Paul Simon.

Colbert’s real-reality “truthiness” is way-refreshing especially in the wake of last week’s total bullshit outlay at the opening of George Jr’s presidential library — ‘Wow, what an honor…

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