Many Republicans and Democrats were offended by comedian Michelle Wolf's performance at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner. Professional liar Sean Spicer said it was a "disgrace." New York Times writer Maggie Haberman falsely accused Wolf of "intense criticism" of Sarah Huckabee Sanders' physical appearance.
Masha Gessen of the New Yorker has a different take. "Through her obscene humor," she writes, "Wolf exposed the obscenity of the fictions—and the fundamental unfunniness of it all."
Political satire in less troubled times exaggerates existing facts, pointing out the absurdities inherent in all ideologies, or playing up smaller disagreements and failures for bigger laughs. But Trump is hard to exaggerate—it is enough, it seems, merely to mirror him. But why does faithful portrayal of fact-based reality elicit laughter in a country that has a free press and a healthy public sphere in which, it seems, reality is robustly represented? What do late-night comedians reclaim from the Times?
Wolf's performance at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner suggests an answer. She called the President a racist, a truth as self-evident as it has proved difficult for mainstream journalists to state. Her humor was obscene: she joked about the President's affair with a porn star; about his "pulling out," as promised (of the Paris agreement); and about the G.O.P.'s former deputy finance chair Elliott Broidy's $1.6 million payoff to a former mistress. She also made mincemeat of White House staff, House and Senate Republican leaders, the Democrats, and journalists on the right and left, in their presence or in that of their colleagues.
Tonight's #WHCD was a disgrace
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) April 29, 2018
Hey mags! All these jokes were about her despicable behavior. Sounds like you have some thoughts about her looks though? ? https://t.co/JRzzvhBuey
— Michelle Wolf (@michelleisawolf) April 29, 2018
Image: By Erin Nekervis – https://www.flickr.com/photos/theeerin/29813564522/, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
Here's conservative Michael Schlapp vigorously defending all the repugnant crap Trump has uttered in recent years: