BB #49: Political Bubbles

BrainFireI can’t believe, with so much Trump-water over the damn dam, that people still support this guy. Not since Creationism has there been such a clear and present example of how disconnected from reality is the thinking of many people. Never in my lifetime have I seen such a frightening example of all I disdain in the human race.

This is thoughtlessness and irrationality, bigotry and brutality, nationalism and populism. It’s childish, selfish, ignorant, and stupid! It boggles my mind.

It’s gotten to the point of basically stunning me into insensibility.

Between this punch-drunk feeling of having been hit too many times by political rabbit punches, the armed rebellion by my brain cells against watching so much cable news, and that there really isn’t much more to say about any of it, this is just a Friday dump of various and sundry notes and thoughts.

(To be specific, various notes and sundry thoughts.)


Nancy Reagan


Doesn’t the death of former first lady Nancy Reagan rather amazingly reflect the death of class in politics?

One may have disagreed with her politics — I certainly did, and I was there at the time — but both she and Ronald had a lot of class and grace.

Which are concepts that seem to have fled the scene lately. The opposite of them is boorish and vulgar.

As a reader exercise, rank current candidates for POTUS along the classy–vulgar spectrum.

For extra credit, discuss the importance (or lack thereof) of class in public discourse. Has something been lost? Has anything been gained?


Antonin Scalia


Speaking of signifying aspects, does the death of Supreme Court  Justice Antonin Scalia reflect the increasing dissolution of the GOP?

Justice Scalia was a major force on the Court and was instrumental in several key conservative decisions (stuck in the craw of many is the Citizens United ruling).

And, again, while one may (and very much does) disagree with many of Justice Scalia’s decisions, all must respect his character, intelligence, and class.

And, again, we can look to the field of POTUS candidates to see how they rank in terms of character, intelligence, class, and grace.

Did both of these historical individuals die of sheer embarrassment over what’s happening to their Grand Old Party?


Is Josh Earnest the most ironic name ever for a White House Press Secretary?

Josh Earnest


He certainly looks very much like his name, but White House Press Secretaries walk such a delicate line between truth, politics, and national security that who can really tell?

Watching him squirm and carefully navigate the truth in his press conferences, sometimes “earnest” is the last personal attribute that comes to mind.

Sad, too, how Candidate Obama was going to change Washington (that was our HOPE), but so much turned out to be business as usual for President Obama.

Not all his fault, of course. Politics is a very large and unwieldy ship; it takes a long time, and a lot of effort, to change its course.

And it’s worth noting that most Presidents, once in office, do find the constraints of the office, and of trying to lead the free world, daunting and difficult. More than one hopeful reformer has been dragged back to business as usual.

I miss the Bartlett administration and C. J. Cregg!


Speaking of the POTUS and the SCOTUS, there is also the FLOTUS.

If Hillary Clinton wins the Presidency (which is pretty high odds at this point), what will Bill Clinton be? Certainly not the FLOTUS (unless we want to go with the silly First Lad).

First Gentleman gives us FGOTUS, which is either unpronounceable or, if we decide there’s a silent ‘F’, not an ideal term (although, with Mr. Clinton, some might quite like the ‘goat’ reference).


Trevor Noah

…Left (and left),…

Last week was the second week running in which all four episodes of The Daily Show were major disappointments.

Some of them were so lame I either fast-forwarded through them, or turned off the show entirely.

I used to so anticipate seeing the show’s episodes each week (I’d binge watch them on the weekend). It was a high point in the week. Now I’m about to drop the show from my list.

The problem is that it’s become a typical Comedy Central show. By which I mean it’s pitched at a young, dumb audience and the level of humor and intelligence has sunk to generally infantile.

In an article for Slate (Why Are Americans Ignoring Trevor Noah?), Willa Paskin writes:

“As we head into a presidential election totally different from any election we’ve seen before, one all but tailored for The Daily Show, there is a Daily Show–shaped hole in the culture, despite a lesser version of the show airing every weeknight.”

Oh, man, that hits the nail so very squarely on the head! If you’ve been a fan of TDS, but have been feeling as if it’s deserted you, you’re not wrong, and you should read her article.


The Daily Show joins The Nightly Show in my trash heap. I had such high hopes for both.

TNS disappointed me almost from the start, and for exactly the reason mentioned above: shallow, infantile humor.

That left a The Colbert Report-shaped hole in our culture, and now we have a complete void where Comedy Central used to be. (The only thing I watch there anymore is South Park, which I quite like.)

John Oliver

…Right On!

There is John Oliver’s show on HBO (Last Week), and it’s quite good, although it shares a trait with TDS and TNS that I consider an off-putting negative:

There is a strong whiff of liberal groupthink behind all three shows.

All three tend to paint liberal-progressive ideas as Good and conservative-traditional ideas as Bad.

For example, all three shows express the belief that Guns Are Evil and wouldn’t exist in any right-thinking world.

Make no mistake; I am generally liberal-progressive (or at least libertarian), but groupthink and gnosticism (small ‘g’ — i.e. certainty about uncertain things) alarm and revolt me.

I’ve opposed them all my adult life. (As a Decisive Agnostic, I end up opposing both theists and atheists for their gnosticism.)


Samantha Bee Full Frontal

Double-plus Right On!

Which brings me to former Daily Show alum Samantha Bee’s new show, Full Frontal.

I think it just might be the new The Daily Show. Samantha Bee turns out to be awfully damn good at filling Jon Stewart’s shoes.

She’s definitely way more on his wavelength than Trevor Noah. She has the gravitas and the adult outrage that made Stewart the most trusted newsman in America.

The show is adult, intelligent, and balanced (albeit clearly liberal). I’ve enjoyed each of the five episodes I’ve seen so far very, very much.

Given that Bee (and husband Jason Jones) did some outstanding work during their time on TDS (12 years for Bee, and they didn’t offer a chance at the chair!), and given that Bee hired Jo Miller and Miles Kahn (former TDS producers) as her Executive Producers, it’s not at all surprising this is the new The Daily Show.

The only downside is that, as with Last Week with John Oliver, it only airs once a week and is only a half-hour long. We need more goodness!


In the last Brain Bubbles episode, I quipped about how feminism is the name of a (corrective) movement whereas racism is the name of a problem (in need of correction).

No one mentioned that sexism is the problem in the first case.

So what is the corrective -ism in the second case?

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

13 responses to “BB #49: Political Bubbles

  • Sirius Bizinus

    There is no corrective term for racism that I’m aware of (though one might argue Affirmative Action was one movement).

    I do have to comment about Scalia. He had intelligence and character, along with a quick wit, but he did not have class. The reason I say this is that he started a really awful trend in issuing Supreme Court majority opinions which counterargued against dissenting opinions. In the legal world, it’s the equivalent of showboating. The whole point of a majority opinion is to express the winning view of the case, not rub the dissent’s nose in it.

    That’s why he’s either loved or hated among legal professionals.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Interesting, I did not know that! I have to admit I was going mostly off what others have been saying about him.

      (What you said about majority opinions tickles a faint memory, but until you filled in the blanks just now, whatever it was I heard just went right past me. Thanks!)

    • Wyrd Smythe

      D’oh! I’ve had this nagging mind-ache that I hadn’t answered a question I’d been asked, but I couldn’t find any comment not flagged as my having responded… Was scanning through back comments for another reason and spotted this!

      “There is no corrective term for racism that I’m aware of…”

      I was thinking egalitarianism might fit the bill.

  • charmarie221

    I’m late to this. What I have “felt” is what I wondered might happen after the last 8 years and it has. Remember in 2008 when Obama was campaigning? There was a lot of talk about “hope and change” and how badly the country needed something different, how disenfranchised a lot of people were after 2 terms with Bush2. And this guy comes along–he’s new, he’s different, he’s saying all the things that a large segment of the population wanted to hear and even if it didn’t all logically pan out to make sense (free stuff? nothing is free) they were willing to suspend common sense to hitch their wagon and hope for the best. So now 8 years later a whole other segment is disenfranchised in a whole other way and they see Donald Trump as someone new and fresh, an outsider with no Beltway Ties (just his own, made fresh in Mexico, heh) and maybe he can fix what they perceive as broken.

    A pendulum swung far too wide in 2008, swinging back the other way, equally as wide in 2016.

    The difference, to me, is the level of anger that this wave holds. 2008 held a note of pining, almost whining… and this one is deeper and meaner. Why so much anger is anyone’s guess. Part of it might be racism, part of it stems from a decline in economic prosperity and jobs. It’s easier to blame people you can physically see working (sure on my roof which is not where they’d actually want to be working but that rhetoric is downplayed) than a system that no longer trickles down the way our economics books promised it would. Part of it is fear because the world is different now than it used to be and if we can just shut ourselves up in a box, the bad people and the bad things maybe can’t get in. And the more you hear your fears justified, reiterated on a 24/7 news cycle, well maybe there is some substance to it after all.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Better late than never, and I think you’re right on the money! XD

      I think there might even be two angry groups: Trump supporters and Sanders supporters. The Trump gang is that “whole other segment” with a “whole other way” of being pissed off.

      The Sanders gang, I think, is those folks from 2008 who hitched their wagon to someone new and different then. Folks like me. We’re hoping maybe this time it won’t be such a disappointment. We didn’t vote for Clinton in 2008, and we’d rather not in 2016 if there’s a better choice.

      (That said, I think she’d be night-and-day better than anyone on the GOP side. There choices here are very clear to me.)

      As for the Trump folks, I think you nailed it on why they’re pissed off. All of the above. It’s fundamentally an unwillingness or inability to keep up with social change and a desire to return to a time when things weren’t like they are now. And as you say, it’s easy to blame someone or something.

      I’ve worried for many years that social stresses would grow and eventually get out of hand. This is certainly one of the ways that happens. Germany in the late 1930s offers an obvious parallel, but there are others.

      In a world trained by omnipresent media to crave conflict and ignore facts, rationality, or nuance, this result is almost inevitable.

      • charmarie221

        I’m not sure if Sanders can get in.

        While I see a huge groundswell for him that is not being shown in the media as much as it should, considering some of the crowds he draws and the states he’s surprisingly taking, I see a bigger number of people not trusting what he is trying to accomplish. There is a bit of a “knee jerk” reaction to the word Socialist, even (and especially) amongst those who don’t really have a handle on the proper definition.

        (My fave: “You like socialism so much, go live in China!”)

        I just don’t know if his appeal will reach the independent voters who are needed to turn an election. And if he did somehow get in, I can only imagine the obstructionism he would face. The establishment who set up roadblocks for the “Community Activist” would dig in even further preventing the programs of a self proclaimed socialist. Again, it’s knee jerk, but many people don’t educate themselves on the intricacies of various political ideologies.

        Now remember I’m down here in Texas where Sanders has just about a snowball’s chance in the panhandle of winning an election. Mostly due to people convinced his mission is to give all of their hard earned money to lazy people with their hands out. Just like in China, I guess…..

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yeah, it’s a long-shot for Sanders; about all one can say is that it isn’t impossible

        Funny how such an old guy is so popular among the young. They have the same idealism! And maybe the young are less connected with things like “socialism” — less concerned about issues that don’t affect them?

        The last couple of days have been bad for Trump’s campaign. The Cory Lewindowski thing and then the statements about abortion (and nukes). Gonna be interesting to see what happens in Wisconsin next Tuesday!

  • ~ Sadie ~

    We love Full Frontal With Samantha Bee – she is awesome & SO in your face!! We also love the show “The Detour” (totally stupid, and absolutely hilarious!!), which I think SB & her husband wrote. Have you seen it?
    (Yes, WS, I’ve been blog bingging today 😉 )

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Good for you! 🙂

      The Daily Show is pretty much entirely off my watch list, and I’m still loving Sam Bee’s show. I’ve seen Jon Stewart a few times recently. He seems to be enjoying retirement. I saw him interviewed for an hour by David Axelrod in a YT video, and Axelrod kept trying to push Stewart back into being a “voice” again. Stewart clearly wasn’t even tempted. 🙂

      Good video; worth watching, especially if you miss Stewart as much as I do:

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