Lots of uproar over Sean Spicer appearing at the Emmys. I am of two minds on this: meh and duh.
Meh? Because I don't mind comedy making fun of stuff, even recent stuff. Does this normalize Spicer? Seems to me he was as much or more the butt of the joke than being in on it. If anything, it reminds us that he has been a lying sack of lies. He was asked to lie on cue, and he did. So what does that say? I do think the pics of celebrities cozying up next to him is a wee bit more problematic, but I give comedy much license. "Too soon?" is usually the question for something like this, not so much whether it is right or wrong to have a former administration official involved. I'd have to check the old SNL of the mid 70s, but I am pretty sure a Watergate figure or two made the program.
Duh? The US (and Canadian) media give heaps and heaps of airtime to people who have done reprehensible things in the past, as long as it gives them the chance to fill bandwidth and get higher ratings: Oliver North, Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney, and on and on. Being a failure or being a liar or being a criminal does not disqualify. I get frustrated by this often, but we should be used it by now.
A second duh: who has paid a price for bad behavior in past administrations? No one from the Bush Administration got punished for facilitating/ordering torture. Only lower level folks and one relatively low ranking general got punished for Abu Ghraib. Scooter Libby, who got jailed for outing Valerie Plame, had his sentence commuted. We might as well prepare for Trump pardoning his family and some of his operatives....
Finally, I tend to think the folks who are the spokespeople will get a lighter treatment than those who actually make the decisions and those who implement them. Could I imagine Jeff Sessions getting similar treatment? Probably not but maybe. While one can say that Spicer attempted to give cover to all the awful stuff that Trump did the first several months, he did it so very badly, I am not sure we can say he provided any cover at all. Again, someone like Sessions or Pruitt or DeVos would not be invited or would have gotten a different reception. Perhaps the actors recognize and empathize with another actor working from a piss poor script?
Anyhow, I was more offended last night by the playing off of Sterling Brown who was giving a kickass speech while Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon got to have as much time as they wanted. Is this about race or about movie star bias? My guess is more the latter than the former, but not a good look.
If past is prologue (Ron Ziegler), Spicy will end up on some random corporate board and be quickly forgotten. In that sense, Press Sec may be one of the dirtiest jobs in DC you can take without being at risk of amassing a criminal record.
Complicit in an act of treason, on the other hand, is a different matter...
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