Open thread for night owls: In ‘The Thick of It’—Anticipating government as PR crisis

Ned Resnikoff at The Baffler writes—We’re Living in The Thick of It:

WASHINGTON POLITICS HAS DEVOLVED INTO A BLACK COMEDY, but it’s difficult to say which black comedy. The truth is, much of contemporary American political satire is ill-equipped to reckon with the Trump era. It’s too gentle, too warm, too self-satisfied. More often than not, it’s unwilling to pay more than lip service to the possibility of despair. It’s a source of comfort when there is little real comfort to be had.

Whatever the considerable merits of Saturday Night Live’s vaudeville shtick or John Oliver’s righteous exasperation, neither is capable of reflecting the absurdity and horror of the past six months. Even HBO’s Veep, with its refreshingly jaundiced portrayal of Beltway culture, is brighter and cozier than the world it purports to skewer.

But that doesn’t mean satire has nothing to say about Donald Trump’s Washington. Comedians have, occasionally, produced works that are cold and bleak enough to resonate with the present moment—we just didn’t believe they could come true. The New Republic’s Jeet Heer has nominated Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers’ underrated 2008 anti-thriller, as the defining movie of our age, and that’s a fine, appropriately misanthropic choice. But for the defining television show of the age, we need to look beyond New York and Hollywood.

The Thick of It, a BBC sitcom that ran four seasons and two specials between 2005 and 2012, is the only political sitcom biting enough to draw blood in 2017 America. As the older, more depressed step-sibling of Veep—both were created by Scottish satirist Armando Iannucci—it shares a similar choppy aesthetic and taste for baroque insult comedy. But where Veep has long ago ditched any pretense to verisimilitude, The Thick of It always scrupulously mirrored—and sometimes anticipated—developments in U.K. government, from the waning days of the Tony Blair era to the height of the News of the World hacking scandal.

It might seem odd that a show that began its life as a satire of Blairism could say much about the politics of the Trump years; after all, Tony Blair’s smooth, post-ideological technocracy, we are led to believe, could not be further from Donald Trump’s hormonal right-wing populism. But The Thick of It remains relevant because it focused in on a social pathology that haunts us now more than ever: the capture of government by public relations. […]

An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events
Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups

TOP COMMENTSHIGH IMPACT STORIES

QUOTATION

“Vietnam was the first war ever fought without any censorship. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind.”
                   ~Gen. William Westmoreland, Time magazine, April 5, 1982

TWEET OF THE DAY

BLAST FROM THE PAST

At Daily Kos on this date in 2010—Meet the new victims: 
 

Have you heard the good news? Now that Barack Obama has been elected president, racism in America has ended. And we must turn our attention to the new racism—against whites. At least, that’s what Republicans would have us believe.

This isn’t exactly a new argument. In 1990, Jesse Helms, the senator from North Carolina, won his re-election with the infamous “Hands” commercial:

You needed that job and you were the best qualified. But they had to give it to a minority, because of a racial quota. Is that really fair?

That was the argument 20 years ago—that undeserving minorities were benefiting from an unjust system that discriminated against whites.

And things really haven’t changed much. In fact, they’ve gotten worse.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Goodnight, Mooch. Trumpworld punked in (gasp!) private emails! Dad dictated Jr.’s collusion meeting statement and his lawyers lied about it. Dog eats sanctions bill. Fake news, meet fake legislation. Lindsey Graham wants to moderately nuke North Korea.

x
Embedded Content

YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash

Read more

Joanna Krupa Lawsuit Settled; Brandi Glanville Issues Apology And Joins Celebrity Big Brother In the UK

Brandi Glanville enters the Celebrity Big Brother house at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Herfordshire. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)

Can we get a hallelujah? After years of back and forth drama, Joanna Krupa‘s lawsuit against Brandi Glanville has FINALLY been settled and dismissed! It’s hard to believe that this whole thing started back in November of 2013 when Brandi was a guest on Watch What Happens Live, revealing that she was told Mohamed Hadid […]

The post Joanna Krupa Lawsuit Settled; Brandi Glanville Issues Apology And Joins Celebrity Big Brother In the UK appeared first on Reality Tea.

Read more

Colin Kaepernick has some of the NFL’s best-selling merchandise even though teams don’t want him

Kaepernick is the only player in the top 50 for merchandise sales who isn’t on a roster.

There are 1,696 players on active NFL rosters each season. The way things are going, Colin Kaepernick may not be one of them this year, but that hasn’t stopped people from buying his merchandise. Kaepernick is ranked No. 39 on the NFLPA’s official NFL merchandise Top 50 list, according to Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager.

The most common working theory for Kaepernick’s continued unemployment is that he’s being blackballed by owners who fear a negative fan response to his national anthem protests. Giants owner John Mara, who was slow to cut kicker Josh Brown despite a known history of domestic violence, claimed there was an outpouring of fan anger about last year’s national anthem protests like he had never seen.

“All my years being in the league, I never received more emotional mail from people than I did about that issue,” Mara said, via the MMQB. “If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game. It wasn’t one or two letters. It was a lot.”

But there are reasons to believe that the owners’ fear of a negative fan response is irrational, starting with Kaepernick’s merchandise sales.

There’s also the J.D. Power 2017 Fan Experience Survey, which comes out later this month. Of 9,200 people who participated in the survey, only 3 percent said national anthem protests were a reason they watched fewer NFL games last season. Other reasons included (ahem, John Mara) the league’s poor handling of domestic violence issues, game delays, and election coverage.

There are plenty of other theories on why Kaepernick isn’t on a roster right now. Some people think it’s his vegan diet, or maybe his work in the community keeps him from being focused on football. Michael Vick said Kaepernick’s hair may be holding him back.

But we all know the reason. Kaepernick chose to use his platform to protest the oppression of minorities in America. He did it in a peaceful way, and he backed up his protest by dedicating tireless work and hundreds of thousands of dollars so far to various community initiatives.

Kaepernick has said that he won’t continue his national anthem protest this year. And he’s working with a trainer to make sure he’s in game shape. He has more experience and has achieved more in this league than quarterbacks like Josh McCown, Brian Hoyer, and Nick Foles, who are all on rosters right now.

The fear of fan backlash is a flimsy excuse. Kaepernick’s officially licensed merchandise sales demonstrate that he has plenty of fan support.

Read more