“There are few things I enjoy more than, on weekends, cooking breakfast with the family,” Ted Cruz says at the outset of this video in which his family will not appear. “Of course, in Texas, we cook bacon a little differently than most people.” Then he wraps bacon around the barrel of a machine gun and fires it until the bacon cooks, sort of. Then, I presume, he rides a stallion through the window of the Oval Office and knocks Barack Obama out of his chair. We haven’t gotten to that part yet. But surely this guns-and-bacon viral video will clinch the presidency for Cruz, and eventually the Chinese will be our masters. Breakdown after the jump.
In case you’re not comfortable watching videos with machine gun fire in your office or the bathroom at Denny’s or wherever, here’s how it goes:
:01-:12: Ted Cruz explains that people do things differently in Texas. For example, they make breakfast by wrapping food around the barrel of a gun. They open a carton of milk by shooting a hole in the top. They sow the fields by shooting them with guns and dropping seeds into the holes. They stick their contact lenses to the ends of guns and gently press them against their eyes. They read by pointing a gun at the TV. Fortunately, no one in Texas has ever conducted a bris.
:13-:16: Cruz buys bacon. He already has a machine gun.
:14-:20: The image of Cruz wrapping bacon around the barrel of a gun briefly makes the music sound pornographic.
:33-:43: Cruz shoots a gun. Presumably he is just drilling hell out of his human-silhouette target, but we don’t get to see it afterward, because that’s not the point. Remember, guns don’t kill people. Guns cook bacon.
:50-Fin: Cruz eats bacon with a fork and makes the sound humans call laughter.
It’s a little soon to tell, but I’m going to say it goes Lincoln’s second inaugural, this video, FDR’s “fear itself” speech. It’s got everything today’s voters love: bacon, guns, and the presumption that they are stupid. “Making Machine-Gun Bacon”1 is a production of Independent Journal Review, a website that bills itself as “a news, politics & culture forum for everyday Americans who need to know what is fun and important now.” What is fun or important? I don’t know. I am ready to vote for Ted Cruz.
The independent journalists at IJ Review also produced “How To Destroy Your Cell Phone With Lindsay Graham,” a video that does not, I report with mixed emotions, depict a giant smashing his phone over and over with the lifeless body of Lindsay Graham. That video, which increasingly looks like the major event of Graham’s campaign, was a response to Donald Trump publicly revealing the senator’s phone number. IJ Review appears to occupy a niche, and that niche is responses to Trump’s bad behavior that are just as undignified but not as effective.
In the unlikely event that Cruz becomes president, European late-night television is going to show that bacon video again and again. Any other year, it would instantly make him the most risible candidate in the field. It does not suggest that Cruz is an idiot who loves guns, exactly, but it strongly implies that the people who might vote for him are.
Unlike Trump’s un-presidential remarks, however, it does not deliver a frisson of transgression. Bacon and, weirdly, assault weapons are two very safe things for Cruz to be audacious with. Cooking bacon by shooting a gun may express his conservative bona fides, but it does not meet the Trump test of watching a candidate for president do the things we wish we could, e.g. slander Mexicans.
The crowded field of increasingly desperate Republican candidates have seen exactly one strategy work in the last six weeks, and that strategy is acting crazy. Granted, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are holding steady in second and third place, and they haven’t done anything crazy at all. But they are playing a longer game than Cruz or Graham, whose best hopes for the 2016 campaign do not realistically extend into 2016. The single-digit candidates need to impress voters and Fox News programming executives this fall, and that apparently means demanding attention with crazy behavior.
The problem with this video and Graham’s cell phone snuff film is that they show how a sane person acts crazy—whimsically, perhaps even humorously, but not with that sublimated, ineffable logic that makes Trump fascinating. I don’t think Cruz has ever cooked bacon with a machine gun before, whereas if I saw Trump shoot the top off a beer at one of his golf courses, I might believe he did it every weekend.
Trump has seized on the one quality that separates him from the other 15 GOP candidates—the fact that he has incredibly poor judgment and no political experience—and leveraged it. Weirdly, Cruz and Graham have opted to engage him on that field. It’s like a shark heaved itself onto the beach to bite their ankles, so they tackled it back into the ocean. Now the frenzy begins.