Combat! blog has returned to Missoula, where the weather is suspiciously nice and normalcy resumes. I should warn you that we will only be operational for a short time. On Friday I drive down to Jackson, Wyoming to hang out with Stubble and his girlfriend, and I won’t get back until Tuesday, so this is pretty much the only regular blog post for a week. But how fine it is! Last week, the White House redistributed a column headlined “Trump’s budget makes perfect sense and will fix America, and I will tell you why” in support of its proposed budget. The column, by Washington Post humorist Alexandra Petri, was satire. Petri suspects that they didn’t actually read it but assumed from the headline that it supported their position. In this way, the Trump administration continues to operate as your aunt’s Facebook feed come to life.
In the annals of FoxNews.com headlines, “Snoop Dogg shoots clown resembling Donald Trump in new music video” is a low-key classic. You don’t hear about a lot of clowns that resemble Mahatma Gandhi, or clowns resembling the brave men and women who died in 9/11. And “resembling” is such a pleasingly circumspect word, in contrast with the absurdity of everything else in this headline. Now is a fun time to remember that Fox News shares a parent company with The New York Post, who seem not to have reported on this event but would probably have done it differently. Anyway, I want to emphasize that Snoop Dogg shot a clown resembling Donald Trump in a music video, not in real life. That makes it a symbolic act—a message, probably. This theory is supported by S.D. Dogg’s remarks to Billboard:
I feel like it’s a lot of people making cool records, having fun, partying, but nobody’s dealing with the real issue with this fucking clown as president and the shit that we dealing with out here. So I wanted to take time out to push pause on a party record and make one of these records for the time being.
Notice how he assures us he’s working on a party record, too. Snoop has been doing this for a long time. Also, he sucks now. Or does he? This clown video is actually pretty…okay, I’m not willing to say it’s good. But I’m glad I watched it. Video after the jump.
Now that the White House has ejected the Times from its press conferences, I must turn to New York’s second best newspaper for coverage of our confident and dynamic president. What will that serial monogamer get up to next? It turns out he’s going to keep spreading factual inaccuracies on Twitter, but it all seems more fun and crazy now, because switching from the Times to the Post is like scoring a movie with the Benny Hill Theme instead of Clair de Lune. Here’s the President of the United States:
For first time the failing @nytimes will take an ad (a bad one) to help save its failing reputation. Try reporting accurately & fairly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 26, 2017
So this may shock you, but President Trump’s claim is factually inaccurate. Although the New York Times did recently release a prominent new advertisement, it’s not the first time. Anyone who watched Comedy Central in the nineties remembers this commercial:
I forgot how much I hated that guy with the suspenders, but as soon as I saw him it all came rushing back. He’s a Chris Parnell character 20 years too soon. Anyway, the Times advertises pretty often, and President Trump seems to be speaking without regard for the truth. His main point is that the Times is bad, due to a shortage of fairness and accuracy.
That is, of course, the slogan of another news organization. “Reebok sucks,” he might have tweeted. “Try just doing it!” Such command of the language might send the delicate hands of New York Times readers clutching toward their pearls, but in the Post it reads pretty sweet:
The president also singled out the the [New York Times] in a tweet about fake news on Friday, saying “FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad!,” he said.
His tweet came hours after Trump addressed a conservative conference where he wailed on the media about reporting fake news and the use of unnamed sources in stories.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the Post is the newspaper for people who hate newspapers. I, for one, am heartened to read that the president has been wailing on the media, and it gives me hope that he might bring back jobs and convince chicks to loosen up. Anyway, I gotta go. I spent all day making money instead of writing Combat! blog, which I give away for free. Reader, it is worth every penny.
Remember a few months ago when we said Combat! blog wasn’t going to be about politics anymore? That was before a cartoon character got elected president. Not the good kind of cartoon character, either—Donald Trump is like a character in one of those nineties cartoons where everyone is bored and sarcastic. He’s the guy who doesn’t move the plot forward but says what we’re all thinking, i.e. what a marketing team thinks children are thinking. In that vein, the President of the United States executed a “not” joke on Twitter yesterday:
Give the public a break – The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2017
Although he does not play the “not” joke strictly according to Hoyle, this tweet is a significant achievement. He manages to make “not!” into a Trumpian exclamation. But there’s a lot of other stuff going on, too, and that’s why this tweet is the subject of today’s Close Reading.
A fact is objective and unchanging, but what makes it meaningful? It is a true fact, for example, that Donald Trump is the first president in US history to have never before held public office or served in the military. But what does that mean? I might be saying he’s unqualified, or I might be saying that he brings to office fresh blood, untainted by the degeneracy of the political class. Facts are inert. It’s their contexts, that allow them to come to life and create meaning for us. Today is Friday, and it’s all in how you frame it. Won’t you pick out something tasteful with me?