Sunday, April 30, 2006

Finally, a reason to watch C-SPAN

The White House Correspondents' Association's annual dinner is usually a hoot, but press reports make Saturday's edition sound even better than normal.

First came the dual President Bushes, with the fake one speaking perfect English and the real one lampooning his frequent malapropisms, including a promise to promote his policies "globally and around the world, as well as internationally."

Then came comedian Stephen Colbert's tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Bush administration, including advice for the Beltway press: "Let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The president makes decisions; he's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know -- fiction."

I must see this.


Anonymous Poser said...

9:04 AM  
Blogger Susan of LocalTint said...

CNN was more than happy to replay Bush and his look-alike over and over, trying to plant in the public mind the idea that he's a likeable guy who can laugh at himself. Toward the end they threw in "Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central also took to the podium for some remarks." End of story. No footage of Colbert (or of Bush "quickly turning unhappy"). Cowards.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I'm on dial-up right now, but I'll be treating myself to these videos as soon as I get home.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

Susan, you're right that the TV news has had a dearth of Colbert coverage. I think news judgment and short segment times explain a lot of it; the producers probably only allocated a minute or two at most to coverage of the correspondents' dinner and decided it was more newsworthy to report that Bush mocked himself than that someone else mocked him. The former is much more "man-bites-dog" than the latter.

Time constraints aside, though, I think a lot of the Washington reporters were uneasy about the performance, both because it pulled absolutely no punches and because so many of those punches were directed at them.

After viewing the whole thing, I came away feeling that I just witnessed the second coming of a politically charged Andy Kaufman. The people in the room weren't laughing because they weren't supposed to be in on the joke; they were the joke. Colbert's intended audience wasn't the people sitting in front of him; it was himself and, to a lesser extent, the people sitting at home watching the whole spectacle unfold on television.

I have to hand it to Justice Antonin Scalia, though: The man knows how to take a joke.

6:15 AM  
Blogger Susan of LocalTint said...

"The people in the room weren't laughing because they weren't supposed to be in on the joke; they were the joke."

Exactly. Colbert (the character) had a great explanation for the deafening crickets on his show last night--something about them being awed by the truth.

"Deckchairs on the Hindenberg." wheeeeeeeeeeee

5:08 PM  

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