How slow a news day was it on the holiday yesterday? This was the leading story across an overwhelming number of sites I regularly visit, including DEADLINE, where Ted Johnson chose to share with the entertainment industry this:
First Lady Jill Biden had tested positive for Covid and is experiencing mild symptoms, her communications director said.
President Joe Biden tested negative on Monday evening and “will test at a regular cadence this week and monitor for symptoms,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
And in equally crucial breaking news, Doug Emhoff stubbed his toe at a Labor Day barbecue, and will likely be wearing an ace bandage when he goes to work this morning.
OK, that item isn’t necessarily true. But for anyone who is working with the reelection campaign for our 46th president wants to know why at this point he’s merely tied with the steaming hunk of Cyrus-like manhood who has both four indictments and a 59 point lead in the latest poll to reemerge as his party’s nominee to reclaim that job, they want to think about why THAT is newsworthy.
Look, I don’t wish Dr. Biden ill health by any stretch of the imagination. In that family, she’s far and away the healthiest of all the Bidens, both mentally and physically, and every time she shows up hand in hand with her hubby it’s clear he’s at least punching well above his weight in that aspect of his life.
But, sorry not sorry, to go back to THAT playbook and continue to pander to the likes of those I am seeing with greater frequency sporting not merely masks, mind you, but supersized versions of the ones they have clung to for more than three years that cover not only noses and mouths but cheeks, chins and half the orbital bone, effectively turning them into Darth Vader wanna-bes in this slow a news cycle, is not merely preaching to the choir, it’s arguably strategic malpractice.
Earlier this weekend, the champion of all things COVID, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was asked on CNN about a review from earlier this year at the Cochrane Library, which in an analysis of 78 randomized controlled trials (RCT) “did not show a clear reduction in respiratory viral infection with the use of medical/surgical masks.” In addition, “there were no clear differences between the use of medical/surgical masks compared with N95/P2 respirators in healthcare workers when used in routine care to reduce respiratory viral infection,” it said. This is indeed “science”, that infallible practice that all Darth wannabees worship at the altar of.
The interview was prompted by the headlines from earlier in the week regarding the proporionate spikes in cases of late. The actual numbers, per DEADLINE : For the week ending Aug. 19, the number of new COVID-19 hospital admissions was 15,067, which is less than half the 38,156 admissions for the week ending Aug. 20, 2022, and less than a fifth of the 84,035 admissions for the week ending Aug. 21, 2021.
In a world where I’ve written thousands of puff pieces touting similar relative numbers trying to make them sound huge–effectively the current way most studios and streamers choose to release anything resembling hard data regarding viewership—even I could smell a trap. Poor Dr. Fauci merely fumphed his way into this wistful response: “I would hope that they abide by the recommendation and take into account the risk to themselves and to their families,” he said.
Meantime, ol’ FOJ, that 6’3″ 215 pound demogauge, offered this viewpoint via video, as quoted by THE EPOCH TIMES’ Naveed Athrappully:
(“E)very COVID tyrant who wants to take away our freedom. Hear these words: We will not comply. So don’t even think about it,” he said. “We will not shut down our schools. We will not accept your lockdowns. We will not abide by your mask mandates, and we will not tolerate your vaccine mandates.”
Where was Jean-Pierre and her team when that little missive was dropped? When their one-time ally and savant needed help? Too busy at a barbecue or a rally, the way my roommate who tested positive last week, had mild symptoms, isolated for a couple of days, tested negative, and then was doing once he got the all-clear from the same CDC that Dr. Fauci was once overlord of. like the overwhelming majority of those who get COVID these days do, without making international headlines?
Last week, Republican senator Mitch McConnell, a vocal doppelganger for Foghorn Leghorn, did his best impersonation of a stroke victim for the third time during a press conference which was captured by of the same news outlets that reported Dr. Biden’s minor setback so dramatically. That might have been an opportunity for someone in the position of Jean-Pierre to offer some sort of statement, if for no other reason than to wish Foggie a speedy recovery, or at bare minimum make up for the degree of attention that has been paid to Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein’s continuing health problems. But I guess that essentially puts the battle of denegenerating Senators at a push, and it was a somewhat news-heavy week, what with all of those pleas and indictments, so I suppose one has to respect the choices of the strategic genuises at the DNC.
If there is to be any hope whatsoever in trying to find a path to victory, Democratic strategists and those that support them HAVE to find better ways to appeal to those who still are on the fence, not continue to shove down the same throats that the super-sized masks prevent access to an incresingly irrelevant narrative. Such as the ones expressed by Bill Maher, who like so many others now has to resort to podcasts to make news, as he did via that same DEADLINE site, via Denise Petski:
Rogan told Maher Saturday that he believes Biden appears frail, that he’s “skeletal thin”, to which Maher essentially agreed that Trump looks “more hearty and robust. He’s a city roach. The worse things he eats the stronger he gets. You cannot kill him,” Maher said. “He’s also the only [president] who didn’t noticeably age,” Rogan interjected.
“No, we did,” Maher responded. “But he’s a criminal and he’s crazy and he’s stupid. And crazy and stupid are two different things … Stupid is ‘Frederick Douglass is alive’ or ‘the stealth bomber is literally invisible’ or “Nobody is health care is hard to solve. Crazy is ‘it’s important that the crowd at my inauguration was the biggest ever, and I’m going to make an issue of this for the first two weeks of my presidency despite photographic evidence of the contrary.’ Or ‘I’m going to steal these documents, and I’m going put them next to the toilet at Mar-A-Lago, and I’m going to fight you to take them back.’ Or not conceding the election. Those things are crazy or thinking I can charm Kim Jong-un in Korea, although that might be stupid, sometimes it crosses the line between both, but he’s both stupid and crazy and he’s also a criminal.”
“He’s a clinical case of malignant narcissism,” Maher added. “It’s not a quirk. It’s actually in the big book of crazy. It affects everything he thinks and does. It’s why [authoritarian leaders] were able to curry favor from him — they kiss his ass and got whatever they wanted. I think [Russian President Vladimir] Putin had him as soon as he said, ‘I think Trump is a brilliant man.’ [Trump’s] a dangerous guy. Again, Biden is not my first choice — not my hundredth choice — but the other guy is a crazy stupid criminal.”
Maher may be among the last who would own up to being somone who with that sort of admission–one delivered nearly as exhaustively as Fauci’s–would potentially swing some voters toward Biden. But as my roommate continues to chide me that, right now, those are our choices, that’s a strong a reason for me to fill in the box next to (D) this fall as any I’ve heard in a while.
The more I hear from the likes of Vivek and RFK, Jr. and, Lord knows, almost every other person who took to center court in Milwaukee last month on the political equivalent to THE WEAKEST LINK, the more I truly, truly wish we had the same options once offered on a show which, considering how slow a news cycle it was this past weekend (or maybe it’s a more of a reflection of the company I keep), was just as newsworthy in the celebration of its 51st anniversary as was Dr. Biden’s little setback.
The classic game show THE JOKER’S WILD debuted on September 4, 1972, as a lead-in to THE PRICE IS RIGHT on CBS, a show very much in the news last week after the passing of its longtime emcee Bob Barker. On that show, contestants selected categories that came up on a slot machine to answer questions in the hopes of eventually playing an end game for fabulous prizes. When contestants were presented with categories they didn’t feel strongly about, they had the option to go “off the board” by playing any Jokers they would spin, for lower rewards, to be sure, but one that might give them an option they would move closer to their goals with.
If a joker like Maher is the closest thing to sanity and objectivity we can find these days to give us a reason to “save democracy”, as some of my more unhinged social media buddies scream in their own right, then perhaps it might be time for their experts to follow his lead. We’re stuck with two bad choices, but I’ll take choice number 101 versus choice number negative infinity.
That’s a playbook that might actually reach some people capable of being reached, rather than those who are already cemented in their views and frankly far too masked up to be sensitive to in the first place.
But, boy, in this case, do I wish we could go off the board, too.
Until next time…