Monday, April 30, 2018

The Heartbreak of Neoliberal Brand Damage

MSNBC pundit Joy Reid said on Saturday that it was "heartbreaking" for her to discover that she used to be such a blatant homophobe and that she "didn't do better back then," in the Dark Ages of the Early 21st Century. But to prove to her corporate sponsors that even damaged brands like hers can be rehabilitated with just the right public relations product, she used her Saturday "AM Joy" show to scrub herself clean with a whole panel full of LGBTQ human brillo pads. She sudsed and she buffed and she polished, she apologized and she pleaded, in a valiant 30-minute infomercial attempt to transform her tarnished image to brand new heights of surface brightness.

 And lo, she was verily declared to be a Profile in Courage by the members of The Club. Both the Queen of Russiagate herself, Rachel Maddow, and drone assassination legal eagle Eric Holder tweeted out their awe and admiration. And thus the defense contractors and the Big Pharma pill-pushers who keep Joy Reid on the air have given her a reprieve. Since not one single sponsor is fleeing in protest, Reid will keep her job as the go-to scold for the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party will continue to pretend that Joy Reid is a "public intellectual" for the accomplishment of once having written a fawning book about Barack Obama, and for continuing to support Hillary Clinton while putting Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump into the same deplorable basket. Reid will keep the centrist identity politics dream alive in the interests of capitalism and citizen-consumership.

So what if she's bashed gays and Muslims in even some of her relatively recent tweets?  So what if she initially tried to weasel her way out of her dilemma by lying and claiming that her old blog had been "hacked?" All is forgiven if one is a member of The Club.

Members of The Club just can't seem to get enough of showing their true right-wing liberal colors these days. After circling the wagons around Joy Reid, they're circling the wagons around their beloved faux-nemesis, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. In case you hadn't heard, Sarah came in for a scathing put-down by comic Michelle Wolf at Saturday's annual Correspondents' Dinner. Here's a clip of the performance, which still has The Club mavens clutching their pearls in dismay:

In the interests of the free corporate press and the selective interpretation of the First Amendment, the president of the White House Correspondents' Association issued a lengthy apology for Wolf's performance, apparently having assumed that Wolf would act like Joy Reid and restrict her hilarious wrath to Trump, the Whole Trump and Nothing But the Trump. So when Wolf also eviscerated the corporate media, it was simply too much to bear. It does not advance "the interests of journalism" to have the interests of journalism critiqued at an event whose sole incestuous purpose has always been mutual masturbation among close relatives in the Media-Political Complex. (The one previous exception to this rule was when Stephen Colbert blasted the press for literally going along with Bush's invasion of Iraq. That was before Colbert achieved membership, and thus redemption, in The Club himself and his faux pas is now as newly old as Joy Reid's homophobic blog posts.)

Anyway, Michelle Wolf should probably be worried, because some of the quips from journalists are even funnier than her own routine. Peter Baker of the New York Times sniped that "I don't think we advanced the cause of journalism tonight."  What an understatement. What modesty.

Andrea Mitchell of NBC said Wolf's routine was even worse than that time Don Imus ridiculed Bill Clinton for his philandering. Maggie Haberman of the Times praised Sarah Huckabee Sanders for "impressively" not walking out when she found herself on the receiving end of the taunts for a change.

But the best defense of The Club of all comes from Mika "Morning Joe" Brzezinski:

Apparently, Mika would be more amenable to watching a childless single woman get humiliated on national TV, or watching a less-important woman get humiliated in a Walmart parking lot. It's not the humiliation that irks Mika - it's the fact of Mika watching it happen. She broadcasts her own sexism by defining the status of women based not upon their brains or accomplishments or ethics, but upon their marital and procreative status. Women have to support a lying liar like Huckabee simply because she virtuously possesses a husband and kids. Mika also broadcasts her classism when she asserts that all women have a duty to unite whenever female Club attack animals are attacked in public. I'm sure, though, that if her bigotry and hypocrisy were ever pointed out to her, Mika would be every bit as heartbroken as her NBC colleague, Joy Reid.

What I found way more offensive than Michelle Wolf (and I didn't find her offensive at all) were the incest-fests where Barack Obama joked in 2010 about killing the Jonas Brothers with drones and where George W. Bush pretended in 2004 to be looking for those non-existent WMDs under his Oval Office desk. No discomfort or heartbreak was displayed by the corporate press back then, in the Dark Ages of the Early 21st Century. On the contrary. The Club roared and howled and guffawed in appreciative laughter at each of those performances, because they were absolutely complicit in them.

No apologies were issued by The Club, and no big public relations efforts at damage control ensued. Nobody suggested cancelling future White House Correspondents' dinners, because nobody with coveted membership credentials was even close to feeling disgusted.

 War and war marketing pay a lot of their bills, and the obscene profits and destruction and jingoism help to keep them in the careerist lifestyles and mindsets to which they all have become so grotesquely accustomed.

Only in Dark Ages America could a comic's cracks about a White House propagandist's eye-shadow be deemed more offensive than millions of people getting killed and maimed in the US Imperium's endless crusades of state-sponsored terrorism.

As Michelle Wolf noted at the end of her routine: "And Flint still has no water."


voice-in-wilderness said...

I only occasionally see "Morning Joe," in 5-10 minute increments, and I'm always puzzled by Mika's role. She seems to sit there like furniture while the others talk around her. I found a report that her salary is about $2 million, so she is well compensated for whatever it is that she does!

voice-in-wilderness said...

Given the reality that three presidents have now supported official torture by the U.S. government, I decided to engage in a fantasy. I imagined myself a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, asking Gina Haspel if she would submit to waterboarding as a way for the Committee to be sure that she was answering truthfully and fully. The only uncertainty is just how she would say "no"!