The Golden Gavel

The most talked about show this week was the one where a group of adult politicians squirmed in desperation, objected in glee and eventually screamed with pride as they finally, after 15 torturous televised parliamentary procedure-moderated votes, managed to elect a new Speaker of the 2023 U.S. House of Representatives.

Well whoop de doo

And yet no single image summed up the marathon. multi-day event better than this behind-the-scenes photo snapped of Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), she of handy-dandy, I will school you, portable white board fame, as she sat patiently waiting for the just barely-in-the-majority opposing party to get it together enough to agree on some one to take possession of that much hallowed Speaker’s gavel.

We stan

When Holly, our beloved NFAC executive editor, private messaged me the photo of our beloved Katie reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck amid all the chaos on the House Floor my first thought was:

 OMG, I bet that’s exactly what she’d say after a glass a wine and exactly what she’d do, née read publicly, if she WASN’T a politician.

I also thought. What a f’n great title for a book!  Someone should write that rather than just spend time merely reproducing it for some snide meme people like me would like.

Well, never let it be said that I don’t tell tales on myself out of school and don’t appreciate former college professor Katie (Note: And current one, Holly) for both their nerve AND for schooling me once more.

As it turns out, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, written by blogger Mark Manson, is indeed a REAL BOOK.  In fact, it’s a N.Y. Times bestseller that to date has sold 20 million copies and has been translated into 65 different languages. 

And it has a sequel!

Not only that, but he’s the subject of a 2023 documentary feature now playing in movie theatres, entitled….well, figure it out.

I’m so out of it. 

But, well, at least I know it.  And clearly I DON’T give a f*ck.   Nothing subtle about that.

Cheers to you Chairy!

But let’s get back to Katie and Mark and how together they’ve captured the national zeitgeist, as far as public reaction goes, to the Speaker of the House election.

“F” bombs flew, fingers wagged, and a fistfight nearly broke out among that very special group of political, ahem, elites, by the time a razor thin majority of Republicans dragged their new leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), across the finish line. 

The final vote had McCarthy with 50.5% of the chamber, excluding six members of his own party that could only bring themselves to vote present (Note: A House version of abstaining) rather than granting their candidate a full-on endorsement.

Press it again!

This, of course, was nowhere near the spectacle of the Jan. 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol Building that ironically occurred exactly two years ago to the day in exactly the same place  and in front of many of the same people that this final vote was taking place.

Way back on Jan. 6, 2021  there was a storming of the entire Capitol Building to stop the count of a free and fair PRESIDENTIAL election.  And on that day many, many dozens of people were actually physically injured, including 140 members of law enforcement.   Windows and doors were broken, offices were defaced and feces were spread all over the walls.

Oh and also, five people died.

Never forget

A number of politicians who supported that insurrection, attempted coup or patriotic peaceful protest of the Republican base of disgruntled and suspicious voters – depending on how you want it referred to and whether you believe in fact or fiction – were, in fact, actually among those whose votes, or votes of PRESENT, granted Rep. McCarthy his….victory two years later.

People like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), the subject of an extensive federal probe of sex-trafficking/having sex with a 17-year-old girl; and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), a twice arrested gun enthusiast and anti-gay marriage crusader who believes the church is supposed to direct the (U.S.) government.

This this this

Not to mention several more we won’t name who were in on the planning of Jan. 6 2021, along with POTUS #45.

Speaking of #45, another McCarthy voter, Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA), she of the Jewish space lasers, gleefully approached one of the McCarthy PRESENT holdouts with her cell phone at the 11th hour and urged him to take the call of D.T. (aka #45), which he promptly refused.  (Note: Okay, twist my arm, it was Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-CO)).

But, as the reporting goes, #45 did manage to reach Rep. Gaetz and urged him to wrap things up and get the vote done.

Which, miraculously, he did at the eleventh and a half hour.

But not before Rep. Greene was then caught by intrepid C-SPAN cameras yucking it up with about to be newly minted, lair, liar pants on fire Congressman George Santos (R-NY).

Where’s my cringe button?

In case you don’t remember, that’s the guy who lied about everything on his resume, including his college degree, work history in finance, and mysterious million dollar plus increase in annual income in 2021 and 2022 (Note: From $50,000 the year prior), that became one of the chief funding mechanisms that enabled his campaign win.

Like Gaetz,  #45 and a bunch of other Congressional McCarthy voters, he is also currently the subject of multiple investigations.

I guess this isn’t funny.  Or maybe it is.   We’ll know in a few months. 

But how many of us will give a you know what about it, or much of anything, by then?

“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” Trailer

Who Wants to be a Billionaire?

If you’re upset you can’t afford holiday presents, or that you even have to buy holiday presents, be cheered by the confirmation once again of this salient fact –

Money does NOT buy happiness.

But you can rent it, right Chairy?

The richest man in the world was having a hissy fit this week because a bunch of reputable journalists posted stories about him and his whereabouts he didn’t like and couldn’t control.

Yes, Elon Musk is THE richest person on EARTH and a bunch of silly, bitchy and not even very revealing comments about him by reporters who work at places like CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post pissed him off.  Not to mention a college student in Florida and what he wrote on his Twitter account. 

In fact, he suspended all their Twitter accounts, then banned them altogether, then reinstated them. 

He screamed (Note: Well, posted very loudly) they were violating his privacy by revealing the comings and goings of his private jet when that information is public record.  Forget that some of those reporters never even wrote about where he was.  They were instead commenting on his latest follies on the social media platform he now owns.

See, the richest man in the world bought Twitter for $44 billion this year in order to steer public discourse to his own liking. 

Ho Ho Ho

And even if it collapses under the weight of his toddler-y tantrums as he leads a band of digital dingbats to troll the libs, he will still be a multi-billionaire.

What it won’t do, though, is fill the deep hole of distaste for that which and those whom he cannot silence, or at least control.

Us.

Or, put in the spirit of holiday movies like It’s A Wonderful Life:

Elon will forever be Mr. Potter and….

WE ARE ALL GEORGE BAILEYS.

OK but the happy one right?

He will NEVER get his hands on our buildings and loans because we don’t look at the entire world as something we could ever, in reality, fully control. 

Certainly not with the cash and clout we have available to us in Christmas, 2022.

And how lucky are we for that?

Yes, lucky. 

Because we also learned this week that, aside from money, being the MOST POWERFUL PERSON ON THE PLANET (Note:  Which these days comes accompanied by a ton of money, or at least financial “opportunities”) also can’t come close to buying happiness.  Or even contentment.

Certainly not self-respect.

Bah humbug!

Yes, of course we’re talking about Tr-mp.  That’s a given.  But only in service or making a much larger point.

I mean, what would it take for you to hire/authorize/perhaps pay (Note: Well, maybe not the latter) a digital artist to create inferior drawings of you as a cowboy, a superhero, an astronaut or even fighter pilot, with a a strange, air-brushed slapped-on replica of your face and hair where the head is supposed to be?

For your sake and mine, we’ll post this instead. #yikes

It could conceivably be a fun party favor on your 50th, 60th or even 70th birthday under a tent, given to all invited guests.  You could imagine your spouse doing that behind your back without telling you, thinking you’d be pleased.

You might even be displeased but be forced to grin and bear it while resenting it, or even pretend to like it and then have it grow on you and sort of have it win you over because, hey, why not, what do YOU have to prove at this point, anyway, being so rich and powerful?

But no, imagine you actually WANT to create these faux objects d’art voluntarily, as YOUR merchandise from YOUR virtual merch store?  And voluntarily publicize and sell them to anyone in the world who wants to buy them for $99 a piece?

Wait, this is serious!

Um… what?

In your mind you ARE a superhero.  And maybe you were indeed an astronaut, a cowboy and a war pilot.  Who is to say that you were not?   

A liberal like me can joke all that he wants but hey, the Trump digital cards sold out in a day and they made $4.3 million.

I am clearly in the wrong business

At least that’s what THEY will counter.

But, well, is that a lot of money for a self-proclaimed billionaire?  More importantly, does that raise the stock of the once most powerful man in the world?

Well, maybe there is an Iowa state fair looking for a superhero carnival barker in 2024 rather than a presidential candidate.

Been there and done that, you can hear Trump really privately thinking about running again. 

So why not do the state fair

If they pay enough and you can private jet in and out it might be good for the brand in the long run, And wouldn’t it be so great to be back up on a real stage among MY people?  

You can imagine him contemplating it, even if he doesn’t publicly admit it. 

Or perhaps it is just a simple money grift from the man born with no shame and then some.

Welcome back Potter

Already intellectuals are writing think pieces about these Trump playing cards, attempting to cast them as some post modern ironic, version of crypto art.  They are NFTs, aka non-fungible tokens, after all.  Which is nothing more than a fancy word for images each with their own digital stamp. 

Sounds like a Sam Bankman-Fried scheme to me.  But let’s not go down that road even if Larry David and Tom Brady already did.

Instead let’s stay with the idea of seriously marketing yourself as a real life cartoon character NOT in the Marvel or DC Universe when you actually once were a sort of Superman/person in real life.

It’s kind of like the end of Tar when she finds herself….

Oh, never mind. I don’t want to give it away. 

Don’t worry Cate, we’ll have a podcast all about you #AwardsSeason

Even though I thought that movie was an unbelievably bloated, pretentious, obnoxious and sad excuse for…

Hey, that’s sort of how I think about Trump and Elon!

Two pieces of faux public art drowning in their own bottomless hubris as the rest of us celebrate this holiday season in ways they can’t understand and will never be able to buy.

P.S. We love you, Cecily

“Blue Christmas” – Austin Butler with the SNL cast