Monday, February 13, 2017

February 13, 2017--Jack On "Sane Republicans"

"I read what you wrote the other day about how ridicule has the power to bring Trump down."

Once again, Jack was calling. "That could be true," he said, "It can be powerful when it gets under the skin of someone as thin-skinned as Trump."

"That's what I'm thinking," I said.

"On the other hand," Jack said, "a lot of Democrats are thinking it has to be 'sane Republicans' like John McCain and Lindsay Graham who need to step up and begin to openly take Trump on. Everyone knows they hate him, but so far they have been muted in their criticism. This makes sense to me. You can see them seething and at some point Trump'll do something so outrageous, there will be some sort of smoking gun, maybe from the Russians' secret files, and that will signal the beginning of the end."

"You're beginning to sound like one of us," I said.

"Not one of your kind, but maybe I'm one of those sane Republicans." I knew if we were seated across from each other at the Bristol Diner he'd be winking at me.

He added, "I watched Saturday Night Live on Saturday, knowing they'd be going after Trump again, to check out how potent their humor is."

"So what did you think?"

"I thought the Melissa McCarthy takedown of Sean Spicer was the best of the three political sketches. He's a very angry man and she got to the heart of that. And was savagely funny. One more week and Trump will ready to pull the plug on him. Not just to end the mocking but because he's jealous of Spicer stealing the spotlight. I read some place that his daily press briefings, which the cable news people are carrying live, are getting higher ratings than General Hospital and the other soaps. Not too mention Fox, CNN, and MSNBC. All are seeing their ratings at all time highs"

"People can't seem to get enough of Trump," I sighed. "In any form."

"But then the skit about Kellyanne Conway, where she goes after CNN's Jake Tapper the same predatory way Sharon Stone did to Michael Douglas in Basic Instinct, was so vicious that it went beyond humor and came out on the dark side. It wasn't really as funny as Steve Bannon the week before when he played the Grim Reaper. That was very dark but funny. I guess with comedy there are no limits. But if I'm thinking about political effectiveness--and I do think the SNL people are out to bring Trump down--for me that bit didn't work."

"I felt the same way," I said, "It crossed too many lines to have much impact, though I did think it was bold."

"You're getting to my main point and the reason I called."

"I was wondering about that."

"Take the last sketch where Baldwin played Trump appealing his travel ban to the courts. Not the Ninth Circuit or the Supreme Court but, of course, The People's Court. A reality show court. This should have been funny but I felt it was predictable and more manufactured than inspired. To be consistently funny you need to avoid slipping into into routines and cliches. Things have to be fresh and the Alec Baldwin version of Trump is getting to be overexposed. My sense is that after another week or two people will begin to tune out. Ditto for McCarthy's Sean Spicer. This week the innovation was to motorize the podium. Pretty thin stuff."

"I also was thinking been-there-done-that and started to nod off."

"So, from an effectiveness perspective, SNL, as fresh as it seemed three weeks ago, is feeling stale and a little boring. Boring is the opposite of funny."

"Here's one more thing," Jack said, "I'm thinking that the Trump act is also wearing thin. He too is in danger of slipping into predictability. His act is wearing thin. This could be a good thing--to rein Trump in--or a bad thing--we'll stop paying attention to what he's up to. He might be more dangerous out of the spotlight than basking in it."

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February 13, 2017  

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