Posted tagged ‘Hannity’

An Open Letter to Victoria Jackson

March 29, 2010

Dear Ms. Jackson,

I know you’ll forgive me when I say that, because of my age (I’ll be 112 years young next October), I wasn’t watching Saturday Night Live much when you were on it. But I did see you in a few sketches back then, and I thought you were terrific: cute, sexy, and faux-dumb in the classic Judy Holiday/Goldie Hawn mold.

So I wasn’t all that surprised when you re-emerged recently as a spokesperson (or should I say, a “mis-spokesperson”!) for the Tea Party, or Tea Bagger, or Tea Cosy, or whatever they are, Movement. You would be the one to pull off this absolutely brilliant piece of political theater.

You’ve nailed it perfectly. Your character (whom you cannily call “Victoria Jackson”) displays exactly the right combination of confusion, desperation, and outright stupidity.

Take your recent interview by that genial idiot, Steve Doocy, on Fox News. There you were, not only insisting that Barack Obama “is a communist,” but doing so in the persona of someone who obviously wouldn’t know a real communist if he came up and seized her means of production. Doocy, whose job it is to present to advantage cretins and psychos, wasted no time in correcting you like a 10th grade civics teacher (“Well, he isn’t a communist”) and waited–in vain, thanks to your sharp sense of timing–for you to say, “Oh, sorry, Steve, you’re right. He’s a socialist.”

Obama isn’t a socialist, either, but it’s all one to “Victoria Jackson,” and you played the scene perfectly. Of course, you’d had time to rehearse the character, both at other gatherings of frothing right-wing nutbars and on your must-see You Tube performance, where “Victoria Jackson” plays guitar, expresses herself, and acts for all the world like a person recovering from general anesthesia with minimal brain damage and maximal “heart.”

Like all first-rate performers (actors, musicians, athletes, etc.) you do something very difficult and make it look easy. Of course, the qualities we see on display at these Tea Bag rallies are anything but subtle. Still, you have a shrewd sense of how to reveal them in all their multiplicity. They include (as if you didn’t know) —

* Passion – These people, uh, experience strong emotions. They shout. They wave their fists. They yell. And, okay, sometimes they spit on people. (Because who doesn’t?) They have feelings about stuff, and they don’t care who knows it.

* Anger – And not just feelings. These folks are mad. At whom? You name it. Obama. Reid-Pelosi-Emanuel-Michelle-Sean Penn-Lady Gaga-Avatar. Democrats. Liberals. The administration. The media. Immigrants. Hippies. “Health care.” “The public option.” Saul Freaking Alinsky, as if any of them have the slightest idea of who he was and whose interests he defended.

* Self-righteousness – This is what they’re taught by Rush and Hannity: If something bad happens to you, or even if you just don’t like something (Obama winning the election; Democrats passing laws; etc.), then your “liberty” has been hijacked, your “freedom” has been stolen, and you have been forced to submit to “tyranny.” The merits, the facts, the actual history of the past ten (let alone hundred) years–that’s not their responsibility, which is to scream and then feel ennobled by it. Ask them one question about an issue, and they retreat into “I’m not an expert” and anti-intellectualist sneering about “elites.”

There are other qualities, of course, including ignorance (they don’t know what communism or socialism are any more than “Victoria Jackson” does), gullibility (they actually think that Sarah Palin, a woman who literally cannot answer a question without lying, is “a truth teller”), and sheer obliviousness of reality.

And all this comes wrapped in the shiny, red-white-and-blue gift paper of “patriotism.” This is the best (i.e., the worst) part. These people whom you so astutely lampoon use patriotism as pornography. The idea that, by attending a rally and waving a sign and screaming things that make absolutely no sense (e.g., “Keep your government hands off my Medicare”), you can feel like you have something in common with “our Founding Fathers”…well. It gets them hot and bothered and stimulated and aroused. Some of them even dress up in “Revolutionary attire,” which is their equivalent of leather and studs.

But look at me, telling you this while you obviously have a deeper grasp of it all than I ever could. You, after all, in a master-stroke of character development, have said more than once, “Glenn Beck has taught me well,” knowing (as anyone with half a brain knows) that claiming Glenn Beck as your teacher is about as wise as claiming Dr. Mengele as your primary care physician. Please, as a favor to a fan: keep that in the act. It’s priceless.

Then again, in the end it’s not funny. Even when their grievances are legitimate–because who isn’t worried about the future?–all they’re doing to address them is shouting, spitting, and cheering patent demagogues like Palin and Beck (who, it need hardly be added, are sympathizing with them all the way to the bank).

It’s hard to know what will satisfy these people. Certainly not a Republican victory in November or in 2012. It was Republicans who lay the groundwork for this mess that’s causing them to suffer. The Bush tax cuts, the unfunded wars, the de-regulation of Wall Street–disasters all, and the GOP would do it all again in an instant if they could. Then they, and Fox News, and Limbaugh, and Hannity would, as befits members of “the party of personal responsibility,” blame the next collapse on Obama.

Maybe all they need is some job security, health care they can afford, college tuition that doesn’t provoke an aneurysm, decent treatment by the banks that hold their mortgages, and some unpanicked expectation of the future.

That may be coming, although maybe not soon enough. So be careful, Ms. Jackson. You know and I know you’re just goofing on them, and no one could possibly really be as silly, oblivious, and ignorant as the character you’re portraying. But those around you aren’t in any mood for jokes. Angry mobs never, ever do good things. In fact they usually end up doing terrible things.

So get in, do your shtick, and get out. But keep up the great work!

Best,
E.W.

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My New Year’s Resolutions

December 30, 2008

Be It Resolved:

1. That George W. Bush experience at least five (5) seconds of true, unfiltered, undefended, unmediated insight into his own character and the consequences of his actions. And that, once that period passes, its effects remain and haunt him for the rest of his life, impervious to his escalating (and futile) pursuit of drink, drugs, and Jesus.

2. That Dick Cheney, on or before March 1, 2009, become lost on a duck hunting expedition, be last seen wandering deeper into an uncharted swamp, and never be heard from again. And that no ducks be harmed in the enactment of this resolution.

3. That David Addington and John Yoo be kidnapped and water-boarded for video distribution on You Tube, and then released unharmed. Still dripping wet.

4. That Rush Limbaugh be the featured personality of one of those hideous conservative cruises. And that the ship be blown off course, founder, and sink. And that everyone–passengers, crew, Limbaugh–be washed ashore on an uncharted island. And that, after help fails to arrive and death by hunger threatens, everyone realize that, by banding together, they can overcome and consume Limbaugh. And that, while they are doing so, Limbaugh accuse them with his dying breath of “implementing socialism.” And that this act enable them to survive until help arrives an hour later. And that all survivors, newly appreciative of the power of group co-operation, return to the U.S. and become the kernel of a new American Social Democratic Party.

5. That Alan Colmes run into Sean Hannity at a party. And that Hannity utter provocative and disrespectful things to Colmes. And that Colmes, possibly but not necessarily drunk, pop Hannity in the kisser, precipitating a fistfight in which Colmes mops the floor with Hannity to the amusement and applause of all present. And that Hannity spend the rest of his life trying to convince others, and himself, that the results were otherwise, that he “took a dive,” that he “felt sorry for Alan,” etc., even as everyone–interlocutors, family members, the crew of his television show, and so on–laugh openly.

6. That Glenn Beck, Hugh Hewitt, and Dennis Prager be abducted by aliens, examined (non-invasively) on the alien mother ship, be deemed (to echoing rounds of the alien equivalent of derisive laughter) undesirable as specimens, and returned to Earth. And that they each spend the rest of their (vastly abbreviated) careers proclaiming to all who will listen that “this really happened.”

7. That Karl Rove be indicted on some pretext, and assured of a token sentence in a minimum-security facility in exchange for his plea of “guilty.” That he so plead. And then that there occur “some foul-up” resulting in his incarceration among the general population of a state prison, for years, while continually being reassured that it will all be straightened out any day now, which it never be.

8. That Rachel Maddow decide that she might be bi-sexual after all, and come live with me and my wife.

9. That everyone–Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Greens, non-voters, children, and household pets–get what they deserve.

10. That, failing all the above, you and yours and me and mine have a Happy damn New Year, at least. NB: I have never known whether “Happy New Year” means that the entire year be happy, or just the arrival of January 1st be a happy occasion. You decide.