Tale as Old as Time

The supposed finale episode of the Jan. 6th hearings happened this week and they happened to coincide with the death of theatre-film-TV icon Angela Lansbury.

Timing aside, you may be asking:

Chair, how do these two events have anything in common?

Because as far as we can tell, death is final and a TV series, even a real-life, limited one, never truly ends.

Well, let me explain.

Go on…

It is true that no TV show, be it a limited series, news program or super indie non-network offering that was once viewed somewhere via some barely gettable online platform, is EVER safe from resurrection, rebooting or, well, theft.

And that not even Elon Musk, the richest human on the planet, (Note: Okay, the italicized may be questionable), who was last heard to be confabbing with Russian President and fellow Bond villain Vladimir Putin, has figured out a way to truly cheat death.

Despite all evidences to the contrary.

Central casting couldn’t have done this good #idiot

Yet each – the TV show finale and the Death – reminded me of what we now refer to as 21st century tribalism, AKA a term that most appropriately describes the world as we now experience it, at its best AND its worst.

Definition, please —-

   Tribalism is the state of being organized by, or advocating for, tribes or tribal lifestyles. Human evolution has primarily occurred in small hunter-gatherer groups, as opposed to larger and more recently settled civilizations.  So in a political context, tribalism can mean discriminatory behavior or attitudes towards out-groups, based on in-group loyalty.

Let’s start with Angela Lansbury, since speaking of her is much more pleasant.

Hey girl

There are few in any group who have not been positively touched by her talents.  One of the most accomplished performers in the entertainment business over a seven-decade career, Dame Angela momentarily made many tens of millions of people better with such iconic performances as Jessica Fletcher on the long-running TV series Murder, She Wrote; Broadway’s original Mame, in the Tony-award winning self-titled lead role; and in three indelible, Oscar-nominated roles, most notably as the forever evilest mother of them all in the 1962 classic suspense drama, The Manchurian Candidate.

But the part that probably brought her the most and broadest attention, especially from young people, was her voicing (and singing) of Mrs. Potts in Disney’s perennial animated classic, Beauty and the Beast.

Who doesn’t love Mrs. Potts?

It is not an exaggeration to write, as I have before, that seeing Ms. Lansbury make her entrance down a spiral staircase as Mame on the set of her rambling Beekman Place penthouse to a roomful of Manhattan sophisticates back in the mid-sixties, is what made me first want to be in show business as a little boy.

Yes, Mame

Up until then I felt that I didn’t fit in anywhere and all the sassy retorts and sparkly glamour I was suppressing on the inside (Note: barely) were destined to eat me alive unless they and me finally got out.

But once I saw her version of Auntie Mame emerge in her glittery gold pantsuit and take her nephew (who was about my age at the time) by the hand and introduce him to her world of….brilliance… I knew I had found my tribe.

My people

I didn’t know how I could get to them or when I would but I knew it was where I belonged.  In a place where I could talk uncensored about the theatre, politics, or pretty much anything else happening in society while simultaneously being stylishly dressed and slightly (ahem) snide.

If it wasn’t always the loftiest of goals it at least gave me a framework I could modify to my personal style.  And, as the years moved on I would become, well hopefully, a bit wiser and more truly sophisticated myself.

I would learn that what I at the time mistook for being city-sophisticated meant merely being smart, educated and open to all opinions on the issues of the day without losing your sense of humor.

… and a little gay too

As for being snide and stylish — okay, that hasn’t changed, much.  Or at all.  Some things are just baked into your cake.

So yeah, Dame Angela gave this 10 year old A LOT.  So much more than a reality TV performer turned the unlikely POTUS (#45) and most powerful human on the planet, has done for his followers.

Watching the compilation of interviews and clips of January 6, 2021, how is one not grabbed by the mob mentality and violence against law enforcement and sacred government landmarks like the Capitol Building, not to mention the salivating mouths of armed followers threatening personal harm against elected representatives from all FIFTY states they were forcing to hide inside their coat closets and elsewhere for protection?

This footage especially

Generations of Americans took their kids on tours of the Capitol. What do you say about a tribe of people smearing feces on the walls of those same offices?

How do you respond to this tribe’s construction of a medieval gallows and rope from which to hang the sitting Vice President of their own political party because he would not turn his back on every citizen who voted in the 2020 presidential election and not ratify duly counted votes submitted by each of the states? 

Moreover, how can anyone respect their tribal leader, who represented everything they were standing for simply by sitting back and letting their violence and mass hysteria continue, and allowing the pleas for help from the broad swath of citizens they threatened, citizens he was elected to also represent, go unanswered, all the while watching it play out on television and by every account salivating at the pandemonium he presumed would allow him to illegally stay in office?

I’m out of breath!

How does anyone of any American tribe root for an illogical, 18th century temper tantrum as the answer to an imagined 21st century dispute fueled by 19th and 20th century resentments?

Hell, if I know. 

I want to reason with other tribes, come to some sort of consensus and build our society up as best we can.  I don’t seek their approval, merely our coexistence based on the rules and a shared, rational reality.

I wish I could say the same of them based on what I saw in the Jan 6th TV finale – and see elsewhere.

Forever true

The latter extends to the reaction of Alex Jones, the alt right shock jock and snake oil pitchman who has spent years spreading lies that the deaths of elementary school children at the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary massacre was staged by actors.  Mr. Jones was ordered to pay almost $1 billion in damages to their surviving families this week and, as the verdict was being read, was broadcasting his reactions live, laughing and mocking these parents and survivors as he solicited his listeners to buy more of his fake potions so he could continue his legal appeals.

It also extends to far right conspiracy theorist Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), as he faced his opponent for re-election, Wisconsin Lieutenant Gov. Mandela Barnes, a Black man, in a televised debate.

Asked to say something positive about his opponent, Sen. Johnson noted that he appreciates that Barnes had loving parents, a school teacher, father who worked third shift, admitting he had good upbringing.  Before pausing and quickly adding: I guess what puzzles me about that is with that upbringing, why has he turned against America?


Of course, the week prior Sen. Johnson, who is now ahead in the polls, was on tape telling a group of several thousand supporters on the campaign trail that Democrats don’t particularly like this country moments after lamenting over all the anger and division in the country.l

Talk about adding fuel to the fire.

Well, Full Confession:

I may be a snide, partisan and only sometime stylishly dressed Democrat who has spent most of his life in and around show business, but the one thing you can’t say about me is that I am not a thoughtful listener who doesn’t reason things out logically or someone who doesn’t like engaging with both sides of a debate.

But where does that get you?  

Nowhere… fast

What do you do when you are faced with tribes who operate on a set of alternate facts as they riot and lie and put their virtual hands over their ears in order to get their way at all costs?

One thing you can do is go to the head of the snake and subpoena their tribal leader to testify under oath about what is true.  Treat him no differently than any other member of any American tribe if and/or when it is proven that he or they have committed crimes, or even lied under oath to those tasked with carrying out the law.

One can dream

Sure, that’s one alternative.  And the path the bi-partisan members of the Jan. 6th committee have chosen to take.

But there is another. 

Grab some old Angela Lansbury recordings and remember that in a civilized society there are still peak moments of pleasure to be had.

Even if the majority of them seem rooted in the past. 

Angela Lansbury – “Beauty and the Beast”

The Season Finale

There are so many takeaways from Thursday’s season one finale of the Jan. 6th Trump Insurrection Hearings TV series.

But before we get into the serious stuff, let’s understand that this 8th episode was, more than anything else, great TV.  

As such it delivered not only plot, drama and prosecutorial bread crumbs, but something for EVERY type of viewer –especially us silly and superficial ones.

Say it with me now!

Yes, yes, yes, as our beloved Stefon might say if he were still here (Note: And where is he????), this episode had EVERYTHING:

1. Two plus hours of an insanely hot Clark Kent lookalike sitting directly behind live witnesses Matt Pottinger and Sarah Matthews.  He nearly broke Thirst Twitter and, quite honestly, made it difficult for the Chair to focus at times.

Look who left Metropolis!

And, for what I’m sure is only a very small handful of readers who care (Note: Ahem), his name is Alex Wollet, he’s 23 and a med student/Ohio University grad studying neuroscience, currently doing a residency at the National Institute of Health. 

That’s right – a soon to be…DOCTOR! 

Though word is that he might NOT be single (and could be the boyfriend of Ms. Matthews) I truly have no idea and would much prefer picturing him merely writing a story about all this for The Daily Planet and everything that might entail.

Please get this renewed for season 2

2. The once in a lifetime chance of hearing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) say the words delicate flower and (former attorney general) Bill Barr in the same sentence. 

Chastising critics who have publicly knocked her and the work of the committee for being biased and one-sided because there were no hand-picked Republicans chosen by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy serving among their ranks, Rep. Cheney icily turned to the camera in her final summation address and rhetorically proclaimed to all of those doubters:

Do you really think Bill Barr is such a delicate flower that he would wilt under (that) cross-examination?

Add a hair flip!!

(Note: It’s worth stating Cheney, one of two Republicans actually appointed to the committee, is about as conservative a member of Congress as you can get, voting with Trump a whopping 94% of the time)

Why can’t you let me enjoy things, Chairy??

3. The juxtaposition of fist pumping, pre-insurrection fueling Missouri Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), with mid-insurrection footage of Road Runner-like Sen. Hawley leaping through the halls of the Capitol building and then bouncing down its stairs, with folders full of god knows what, in a hurried, last ditch attempt to elude that rabid crowd of patriots he had emboldened just several hours prior.

His escapades sparked a series of soundtrack memes, my favorite being the one to the tune of Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire:

Certainly, there were scores of other revelations, eyewitness testimony, clarifications, framings and reiterations of what happened three plus hours from the time Trump encouraged what we now know were his very well-armed mob of supporters – HIS PEOPLE that we now realize, thanks to this committee, he told security NOT to disarm because he knew THEY had no intention of harming HIM. 

These were the same armed people he shouted to at his rally right before the insurrection started to FIGHT LIKE HELL if they wanted to keep their country.

Lay Translation:  Do whatever it takes to stop the certification of the results of this election.

A thrilling first season

But let’s get back to specific Thursday night revelations:

— A recounting of phone conversations between members of Mike Pence’s Secret Service/security detail on the phone with their loved ones saying goodbye in case they didn’t survive the oncoming onslaught of rioters meant to hang the former vice-president right before our eyes.

– A compelling timeline of puppet master Trump first throwing virtual gasoline onto HIS PEOPLE to spark the planned demonstrations/riots/violence and then unapologetically watching and listening to a more than 3-hour romp of desecration and death onto the Capitol building and those unlucky enough to be inside it despite pleas from TRUMP family, staff and staunch political allies for him to call it off.

Serving real Regina George energy

–  Numerous live and taped accounts of the former president seated in the head chair of his small private dining room, ALONE, hamburger(s) in hand, gleefully glued to Fox News like a demented Wimpy.  His response to those who dared to physically or virtually enter his space and ask for some action or protection or plan to protect the elected representatives in Congress from HIS PEOPLE was outright refusal or deflection.  That is unless you count numerous calls BY TRUMP to various senators and congresspersons in an eleventh hour attempt to get them to stall the ceremonial counting of the Electoral College votes that would rightfully declare Joe Biden president and confirm Trump as the official LOSER of the 2020 election.


Certainly, other high and low points exist, depending on your view of high and low, your commitment to not only truth telling but truth HEARING. 

There are also more questions to be asked, especially in light of all the mysterious missing Secret Service text messages from Jan.6th (and even 7th).

One that comes to mind is:  Wouldn’t it be interesting to see the now deleted texts between Trump’s Secret Service detail and Pence’s Secret Service detail that day considering Pence’s refusal mid-insurrection to get in the car, driven by HIS Secret Service agents, and leave the Capitol Building area?

A real headscratcher

As the Vice President, who was steadfast to record the final votes on that date no matter what, was said to have stated to one of his assigned protectors as they attempted to whisk him away and out of the vicinity of the Capitol building:

If I get in that vehicle, you guys are taking off.  I’m not getting in that car.

What exactly DID Pence fear?  Where WAS the Secret Service taking him and for how long?  And at WHOSE DIRECTION would his evacuation be done at???? 

Also, how is it that the Secret Service claims of updating their communication systems conveniently occurred on Jan. 6, which we now know was a long-planned date by team Trump for a mass rally (Note: Riot?) that the then POTUS tweeted days before would be WILD; and close Trump confidante Steve Bannon previewed would be THE DAY ALL HELL WILL BREAK LOOSE to his podcast audience?

Gotta check my notes here

Okay, admittedly that’s more than one question – among so, so many others. 

This is why rather than closing up shop like the limited series they had planned, the committee will actually have a season 2 starting not next year but in September.

Just how many episodes or for how long, depends on, as is the usual case with MUST SEE TV, public response. 

Next season produced by Ryan Murphy (get your wigs out Sarah Paulson!)

Let’s hope we, the public, nee citizens, choose wisely.   And that the programming from Cheney and company avoids that cursed sophomore slump.

Though her closing admonition re team Trump – The damn is beginning to break –does give me hope.

Josh Hawley running to Benny Hill