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Monday, April 30, 2018

A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing

Michelle Wolf at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

I can't help but LOVE that Michelle Wolf's monologue has generated so much discomfort. I only hope that she in no way waffles on ANYTHING she said and descends into some pathetic, Griffinesque contrition. But I tend to doubt that. You can see in her face that she knew exactly what she was doing and that few in that room.....on any side or in any role.....were going to escape her caustic criticism. And how many people like to be publicly rebuked over dinner? Ah well. "You reap what you sow". In fact, I heard she responded to some criticisms already with "thank you"s. ( No.....she knew what she was doing. )

The other thing that is amusing me immensely is the mischaracterization of things she said. You can hear today how she made fun of Sarah Huckabee-Sanders' appearance. Really? I watched the routine.......twice.........I heard no such insult. What I did hear was a scathing indictment of a woman who makes lying an art form. It was a brutal attack on her lack of ethics, not her face. ( Mocking appearance is Trump's routine anyway, and I'm sure Wolf wasn't looking to copy his comedic style.) Being female also gave Wolf the ability to go after the women who deserved it without the baggage that would have hindered a male comic.

You'll also hear that "she went too far". LOL. Really? "too far"? The fact that anyone could say that in April of 2018 with a straight face is amazing to me. If the past year has taught us anything it's that NOTHING is "too far" anymore. It's not distance that upsets people, it's the direction to the right or left that does. To Wolf's credit, she spared no one. At one point she said that it was hard to make fun of Democrats because they don't do anything.....and it was clear that she meant that as 'inaction' not 'innocence'.

One particular 'joke' where she talks about abortion being murder has seemed to upset just about everyone. I thought it was brilliant. It reminded me of how Oscar Wilde would often attack faux propriety by embracing the sinfulness of the thing being discussed. If a person is Pro-Choice and has to hear constantly that they are a murderer, then how perfect is it to counter such an argument by embracing the role? If you watch the entire bit, it is wonderful in how it doesn't attempt to defend the Pro-Choice position yet points out the hypocrisy of those who are "anti".....in a way that is so intentionally uncomfortable.

Wolf's delivery itself was interesting to watch. She would occasionally stumble through some aspect of her main uneasy 'joke' and then end with precise little throwaway comments.....many so subtly delivered they almost go unheard.....that were the true hay-makers. It's like the jokes....even the ones that were strong on their own......were merely set-ups for these knife-twist comments.

One of the other criticisms is that she did not "play to the room". And that is very true. She was the invited guest who insulted EVERYONE at the party, with the disdain of someone not as interested in a laugh or being invited back, but to say what they....and a lot of other people......are thinking and feeling. If you are sick of the hypocrisy and inaction in both parties in Congress ( "I have no agenda. I'm not trying to get anything accomplished. So everyone that's here from Congress, you should feel right at home."), blatant lies of people like Conway and Sanders,( "You guys gotta stop putting Kellyanne on your shows. All she does is lie. If you don't give her a platform, she has nowhere to lie. It's like that old saying: If a tree falls in the woods, how do we get Kellyanne under that tree?"), the obnoxiousness of Trump (  "Now, I know people really want me to go after Trump tonight, but I think we should give the president credit when he deserves it. Like, he pulled out the Paris agreement, and I think he should get credit for that because he said he was going to pull out and then he did. And that's a refreshing quality in a man."), and the self-inflicted weakening of the legitimacy of the free press BY the free press ("We've got our friends at CNN here. Welcome, guys, it's great to have you. You guys love breaking news, and you did it. You broke it. Good work."), then give this a watch. It's not sunny comedy.....more "Lenny Bruce" than "Cosby" but......well.....look at how that turned out.

Since as a 'regular guy', no one invited me to speak at this event, I suppose I am very grateful that Michelle Wolf was there to say some of things I would have loved to have said................only she was definitely nicer about it.



18 comments:

  1. I haven't watched her performance yet, but will do so with your comments in mind. In general, I go back and forth on whether the I should support, and even engage in, the kind of "in your face" approach she apparently took. When Trump was elected, I made a pledge to myself that I wasn't going to let the opinions of those who put him there go answered just to be polite or to avoid embarrassing an older relative at a family event. My thought process was something along the lines of, "They all love griping about "snowflakes," so let's see if they can get as good as they give." But, I do wonder sometimes whether that is the right attitude, or is it better to take the Michelle Obama, "Whey they go low, we go high" approach? The WHCD was always a place where politicians got roasted, but it wasn't a blood sport. So, now has it become just one more part of our political culture descending into viciousness and personal attacks? I totally agree that it is utter hypocrisy for anyone aligned with Trump to decry personal attacks and viciousness, but should those of us who are NOT aligned with him take it to that level? Again, I genuinely go back and forth on this one.

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  2. Her comments about Trump himself were milder by comparison and even funny for other reasons than a mere attack. The real rough stuff was directed at key female conservative appointees or journalists.

    Well, you watch it and decide for yourself.

    It's funny how you say that you are very much a believer of giving back what people give out in your work dealings......and how that has served you well. I wonder why you feel differently here? I tend to be more forgiving to those I can truly hurt substantially and more verbally venomous to those I feel I have little power over. I guess it's like: 'I know I can get you for real, so I don't need to get in your face as well' vs 'I can't do anything to you so my frustration is going to come out through what I say'.

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    1. It's probably because in my work dealings, assholes are kind of the exception and not the rule. So, if someone at work is being one, I don't feel bad about whacking them back into line. In DD in the last several years, the politics of personal destruction has become the norm, and what we are lacking is statesmen. So, in the former case I feel like by going after the outlier asshole I am protecting the better culture. In the latter, if a speaker goes on the personal attack at something like the WHCD that used to be more along the lines of good natured ribbing, that seems like contributing to and strengthening an already poisonous dynamic. Now, again, I haven't seen her actual speech and might have a different take on it after watching.

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    2. Sorry, meant in DC, not in DD. Muscle memory at work when I write anything blogger . . .

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    3. Fair enough. Though, given what you are saying, I think you'll likely find it a bit much. Me? Well, I thought it was perfect ......and far more civilized than bludgeoning her targets physically with a flanged mace......which I think I'd consider equally appropriate....though not as legal.

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    4. I watched it, and I did think some of it was a bit much. Interestingly, I liked her attacks on the left more than the right and felt they landed better. It may be that my fairly strong aversion to personal embarrassment makes me dislike roasts in general. After watching Michelle Wolf's routine I wanted Cecily Strong's. It was not really that different from Michelle's, and there were just as many jokes that just flopped or resulted in uncomfortable silences.

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    5. I agree the left attacks were delivered with either a pointed or edged blade while the attacks on the right were club-like bludgeonings.

      As for the uncomfortable silences? I kind of liked them.

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  3. I'm kind of upset that I missed it.

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    1. It's all over the internet. Just search it up and you can see it.

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    2. FINALLY saw it! She was rude, crude, and hilarious! I'm glad she's not apologizing for what she said. I mean, it's not like she didn't warn them. Probably my favorite joke was about why Trump grabs women by the pussy. I know it's not politically correct in any way, but it doesn't stop it from being funny.

      I'm pretty sure she won't be invited back.

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    3. Merry: Several comedians have come to her defense, but I think Stephen Colbert's take on it was the best. He suggested that being 'journalists', did anyone take the few seconds necessary to find her on YouTube and see what her act was like?......implying of course that today's journalists no longer research ANYTHING.

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  4. So, I think my embarrassment phobia was in play the first time. I watched it again, and with the benefit of the fair warning of what was coming, it didn't make me cringe nearly as much.

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  5. It should come as no surprise to you by now, that my response to Michelle Wolf is a hearty (and concise) FUCK YOU, BITCH! She is a cunt in both senses of the word...

    And, just as an aside (and with all due respect) my response to anyone who "loved" her routine is an equally hearty FUCK YOU TOO!

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    1. I can't imagine what could have bothered you about it.

      I mean, given your comment, it couldn't have been her vulgarity.

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  6. Crimson Kid (C.K.)May 10, 2018 at 12:18 AM

    I found Michelle Wolf's routine quite entertaining, in an extremely direct and pointed manner, especially since any right-wing Trumpist criticizing its content immediately became a total hypocrite.

    Under other circumstances, I might have considered some of her comments about the president as being 'over the top,' but Donald Trump reacts to any restraint in criticizing him as mere weakness.

    He's the primary contributor to the current toxicity in American politics, so he should "reap the whirlwind"... --C.K.

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    1. True. And oddly enough, I think she went way easier on him than she did on others. She really seemed to use her gender as a wedge to criticize other women more sharply than any male would have been able to do.

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