Donald Trump

Gigi Hadid, Melania Trump, the American Music Awards, and the Promise of a Humor-Free America

When a supermodel makes fun of FLOTUS-Elect (?) at a useless awards show, Twitter loses its shit.

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Wikimedia, The Door

One of the dumbest things of all time (all time, I tells you!) was the post-9/11 pronunciamento by Vanity Fair jefe Graydon Carter, "I think it's the end of the age of irony." Carter, a former co-creator of Spy (arguably the house organ of the era he pronounced dead), was of course mistaken. Irony—defined most banally as reflexive glibness—has certainly survived and probably flourished ever since (certainly, celebrity-obsessed Vanity Fair soldiers on as the gargoyle version of Spy).

And can anyone seriously argue that we haven't entered an even weirder, darker era of at least one version of irony: a state in which we can no longer fully decide between competing interpretations of basic reality? Are we real or are we elaborate simulations (yes, I watch Westworld on HBO and still have no clear sense of last night's episode)? It's not as if there weren't signs that we're living in a Philip K. Dick novel before the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked. But when you look at something like the recent Saturday Night Live performance of "Hillary Clinton" singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," you've got to ask: Could it really be as godawful and serious as it appears to be? Or is it some sort of mega-deep ironic Andy Kaufman-style parody of an actress on a tuckered-out, hyper-politically correct "cutting-edge" show? For the sake of all that's good and decent in the world, I know I want to believe the latter, even as I know I'm wrong.

Before I lose the inspiration of this post completely, let me direct readers to the latest flap emanating from a generally unheralded and unwatched awards program. Last night's American Music Awards was the 44th in the show's history (!) but if you're like the overwhelming majority of Americans (the very people announced in the show's title!), you had and have no idea that they were happening. Supermodel (aren't they all?) Gigi Hadid was a presenter and did a short and uninspired impersonation of First Lady to-be Melania Trump, which immediately created a "Twitter storm" the likes of which hasn't been seen since Rand Paul stood up to protest the Obama administration's nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA and the president's policy on drone attacks back in 2013.

The offending-to-some impersonation is clipped below. Check out the AMA tweets here.

My point is simply that if we haven't entered a post-ironic age in America, we have most decidedly entered a post-humor era in which all utterances and attempts at comedy or even just plain speech are pretexts for being pissed off about the unfairness of it all. As Robby Soave noted earlier today, you can see that already with the whole Mike-Pence-at-Hamilton show flap and quite possibly the worst of many bad things to come over the next four years is the endless posturing on all sides of constant outrage and umbrage at every real and imagined slight, failed joke, and off-the-cuff remark.

We have just ended an election in which the two least-approved candidates of all time failed to win over the American people in a decisive manner. Record and near-record lows of us identify as Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. There will clowns to the left of us and jokers to the right who will insist on injecting politics into everything and there will be equal and opposite responses that will be long on theatrical outrage and short of substance. Lord knows that Donald Trump is beyond thin-skinned but all those crying-on-the-outside clowns aren't helping things either.

It will be a damned dirty shame if we allow the next four years to be as tedious and humor-starved as they are already shaping up to be. I'm not against political humor and art—indeed, I believe all creative expression is inherently political—but there's a huge difference between social commentary and art that's serious the points it's trying to make and injecting stupid, tired ideological calls-and-responses into every goddamn thing we do. "The politicization of everything" is already one reason why so many of us hate politics. I can remember interviewing Bill Maher for Reason way back in the late 1990s, when he was still doing Politically Incorrect. Brian Doherty and I asked what made a guest terrible. "Anybody who gets upset all the time and says, 'That's not funny. That's serious'" (I'm paraphrasing). If that same sensibility plays out everywhere else over the next four years—and after years of trigger warnings, micro-aggressions, and the changing fortunes of liberals and conservatives—strap yourselves in for a very tedious time.

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  1. It will be a damned dirty shame if we allow the next four years to be as tedious and humor-starved as they are already shaping up to be.

    Humorless bitchy babies are the future.

    1. You cannot silence us! That would violate our First Amendment rights!

      1. We refuse to use that amendment which gives people guns !!!!

    2. What I am wondering is whether this is some kind of natural evolution catalyzed by the Internet, which reveals some deep law of sociology, or whether this is just the result of all the particular idiosynchracies of the present-day America.

    3. Unlike the last 8?

  2. I must of missed the “tweet storm”. Maybe Nick should’ve provided a link.

    1. Check out the AMA tweets here.

      4th paragraph.

      1. The link doesn’t support any “tweet storm” of outrage. Nick’s falling for fake news, again.

        1. You’d make a great guest, guy.

    2. “I must of missed.”

      Wow.

      1. Editors cost money.

  3. I don’t recall the Country Music Awards or whatever ‘conservative culture’ constantly politicizing everything under the previous administration.

    I appreciate you trying to be even handed and declaring a pox on both their houses, but this is really a one way street.

    Do you honestly think that we would have seen mass protests and constant virtue signaling from the Right, had Clinton won?

    This article is incredibly tone deaf

    1. Yeah, I’m not sure Twitter trolls are a great measure of the breadth and depth of conservative culture.

      On the left, controlling appearances through bullying seems to be an all pervasive directive from all points.

      On the left, what you say is more important than what you do.

      Who cares if Barack Obama has killed hundreds of innocent children with drone strikes–Trump said he would bomb ISIS even if there were civilian casualties!

      Who cares if Obama deports 400,000 illegal immigrants a year–Trump said he’ll deport illegal immigrants!

      It isn’t the same on the right. They’ll call the left out on their hypocrisy, but I don’t think there’s an anti-PC orthodoxy the same way. You can’t be a heretic to anti-PC by being PC like you’re labeled a heretic to PC by being anti-PC.

      1. Conservative culture is all about proper values, hard work and drip coffee.

    2. Do you honestly think that we would have seen mass protests and constant virtue signaling from the Right, had Clinton won?

      Maybe not protests of the type we’ve been seeing. But hell, yeah, there would be plenty of virtue signalling.

      1. Is “virtue signaling” anything like a dog whistle. Or speaking in first word letters like the “N” word or the “c” word. Words are like magic in that if you say them “things” happen. Spirits of the past materialize. Actually speak the N word and you lose your job or are pursued by flash mobs. except of course if you are an actual “N” person they you get a record contract. Very odd world where Alice in Wonderland would be confused. Progressive world was invented by George Orwell and perfected by today’s liberal ideologues. Up is down and right is not tolerated since it MIGHT be a political position.

      2. #BlackFridayMatters

    3. Apparently you missed all the outrage against “The Dixie Chicks” after disparaging “W”. Although I do not watch any awards shows or follow country music, this past CMA’s was the first I had heard of the Chicks since that flap, and believe their were many people upset about that performance (but maybe that was because they performed with Queen B).

      1. This reply is almost as bad as that of the people who say it’s ok that Moslems behead people and drive cars or place bombs in parades full of children from Nice to Boston, because Jews once stoned people and Christians once burned them at the stake.

  4. The left will now get the social media backlash that the right received for near eight years of insufficient deference to our glorious leaders? These pendulum swings get more interesting as our methods of efficiently communicating outrage mature.

  5. #whatever

  6. “As Robby Soave noted earlier today, you can see that already with the whole Mike-Pence-at-Hamilton show flap and quite possibly the worst of many bad things to come over the next four years is the endless posturing on all sides of constant outrage and umbrage at every real and imagined slight, failed joke, and off-the-cuff remark.”

    OMG, Gillespie found the baby in all that bathwater!

    When Robby writes that program, it take days hours to compile, and when that’s done, no one knows what it’s supposed to do.

    Gillespie gets the job done in one line of code, and everyone understands it immediately.

    1. But which one is hotter?

      It may be a matter of taste.

  7. I did not survive the first paragraph. what was this about?

    1. Gillespie spent the weekend re-reading old issues of Spy, apparently.

      1. He needs more fiber in his diet.

    2. ’bout that chill time he hung out with Bill Maher.

    3. Talentless progressives making fun of talentless politician, which appears fine to nick, cause cocktail parties and getting into hot progressive elites pants doesn’t just happen.

      1. Nick isn’t gay.

        Name three hot progressive women?

        Gigi Hadid….

        I mean I guess Debra Messing was hot kind of. Who else on the list? Streisand? Beyonce?

        Maybe lukewarm.

    4. Breakdancin’ Grampa nearly broke a hip trying to fix Robby Horse’s Performance Woke.

      1. This is a short explanation i actually understand

        tho – i think the phrase ENB coined was “Performative Wokeness

        1. Yes, I am becoming fluent in GILMORE(tm) jargon. And yes, that is what she coined, but I decided it was pretentious and unnecessarily cumbersome.

          So, Performance Woke, it is. And its cousins, Ambiguously Woke, and Equivocally Woke.

          1. Really, most sincerely woke. /mayor of Trumpkinland.

  8. Record and near-record lows of us identify as Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives.

    While stated partisanship is down, is it true that fewer people are identifying as “liberals and conservatives” ?

    IN fact has there not been an increase in the number of people identifying as liberal? with a commensurate decrease of moderates?

  9. I see it now.

    For eight years mainstream entertainers have avoided targeting Obama. No “mean-spirited” paradies. SNL’s impersonations were pretty low-key. Fresh off eight years when leftists wrote plays about assassinating Bush and dissent was the highest form of patriotism, all of the sudden any criticism of Obama was crypto-racism.

    But, now, it will be an endless supply of insulting Trump, Pence and Melania impersonations and we’ll be told, also endlessly, “Hey, man, relax, it’s just comedy. Can’t you take a joke?”

    Best day in my childhood was the day I stopped falling for that double-standard crap from bullies — both physical and verbal — and started giving it back to them just as hard.

    1. Fresh off eight years when leftists wrote plays about assassinating Bush

      Was it a play before it was a movie?

      The film is presented as a future history docudrama and uses actors, archival video footage as well as computer-generated special effects to present the hypothetical aftermath the event had on civil liberties, racial profiling, journalistic sensationalism and foreign policy.

      Has anyone actually seen this thing? I wonder how well its held up.

  10. Was Nazi Germany funny? Laughing is normalization is complicity.

    ***channeling my inner prog.

    1. Hogan’s Heroes was pretty damn funny.

    2. “The Producers” is pretty funny.

  11. “Humor-Free”

    Fine by me. I’ve decided to give us sarcasm as a kind of New Years’ resolution. Here goes…

    THESE RIGHT-WING KOOKS, ASSHOLES, INCOMP?TENTS, RACISTS, IDIOTS AND WARMONGERS WOULDN’T BE ANYWHERE CLOSE TO THE WH IF WE ELECTED BERNIE SANDERS

    Did I do ok in this post humor world?

    1. THESE RIGHT-WING KOOKS, ASSHOLES, INCOMP?TENTS, RACISTS, IDIOTS AND WARMONGERS WOULDN’T BE ANYWHERE CLOSE TO THE WH IF WE ELECTED BERNIE SANDERS

      Because they would be in bread lines?

      1. That or gulags.

    2. You somehow managed to be less entertaining than your normal tiresome spontaneous dumbassery, which is actually pretty impressive in its own sad way.

      2/10

    3. Now that they are there let the games begin. First the crying game by liberals. Then the outrage game by the same team. Nest the call to “organize” gam. When will the leave the country game begin. Probably NEVER since these fat butted do nothings would have to work for a living.

      The other side will play the “get ahead” game. The actually create something game does not allow progressives to play. Finally in 2020 it will be the reelection game which will be the end of the match for the exhausted liberals who will be buried in non P.C. talk and activities. Better get ready for the Trump games.

    4. You call them warmongers, I call them cool-ongers.

  12. Are we having a “national conversation” yet?

  13. I don’t understand, was she mocking Melania, Michelle, or both?

    1. It was all mocking Melania. The stuff where she talks about the Obamas was a reference to Melania’s speech at the Republican National Convention, when Melania Trump plagiarized some of Michelle Obama’s signature rhetoric, like ‘work hard and follow your dreams’ or ‘your word is your bond’.

      Funny how nobody was as outraged when Michelle Obama plagiarized every high school commencement speech in the history of the United States.

      1. Topical! Boy, Nickleback sure sucks, am I right? Remember, Judge Ito? What was his deal?!

        I am 100% in favor of making fun of our First Lady to Be, but let’s try harder, people. Be funny.

  14. Yes, all the pants shitting coming from the right. ~rolls eyes.

  15. The cult of Hillary is now attempting to destroy a possible competitor for the Queen’s throne. This little insignificant nothing of a “super model” has so little stage presence that her attempt at just what I don’t know was totally lost on most watchers.
    All noise and no brains fits the stereotype of a model since time began. Sorry but his imbecile does not break the mold but continues to denigrate the entire industry. Trash in a presentable package does not make it any less disgusting.

  16. Do we get to call her a racist for mocking an immigrant, or does she get a pass because she’s Palestinian and therefore punching up?

    1. Melania is white. Therefore, racism unpossible!

  17. When a supermodel makes fun of FLOTUS-Elect (?) at a useless awards show, Twitter loses its shit.

    The proper term is probably FLOTUS-Designate. That’s how nominees (being non-elected) are referenced before taking office, so presumably the POTUS-Elect’s spouse would get the same terminology short of a divorce-during-transition.

    1. Wait? She’s transitioning? The GOP hardliners are NOT going to like this.

  18. Hand to God, until this very moment I’d never even heard of this Gigi kid. And this is as a guy who hires models from time to time for my studio work, and has to listen to some of them prattle on about the fashion world.

    It never ceases to amaze me what I learn here at H ‘n R.

    1. Then I’d say you’re pretty uninformed for someone in your line of work. Gigi Hadid has been on the covers of roughly a dozen different Vogue publications (including US, French, British, and Italian) in the last two years: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigi_Hadid

  19. I am as irreverent as anybody, and am sick of this humorless, too careful, too correct society, BUT, come on you knew there would be a but… The “skit” failed because it just wasn’t funny– like the HRC at the piano. They both sucked. What was funny was a model making fun of a model for being stupid. They took it in the wrong direction to make a political point rather than to entertain, and bad entertainment? There is no excuse for that!

  20. BS Nick…pathetic BS.

    The impersonation was not a joke….it was crude and disrespectful mockery. There was no caricature, no humor in that. It simply mocked Melania as being dumb as a brick. Hadid should be ashamed….but that is apparently impossible for the left right now.

    Can you imagine the outrage if someone mocked Michelle Obama like that at the AMA? And it would be justified.

  21. Might now be the time whereby those horrible acronyms POTUS and FLOTUS be retired?

    Precious few Republicans want to live inside a “West Wing” episode (all insidery DC-speak) and Democrats will not grant Trump the moniker.

    And Mrs Trump will NEVER be FLOTUS in their eyes.

  22. I hope people never stop making fun of politicians – I just wish that when they did it, it was actually, you know… funny.

  23. i, for one, am willing to give supermodels a pass for just about anything. they allow us to look at them and stuff, so we’re cool.

  24. So totally would.

  25. Well, that was 40 seconds of my life that was mostly wasted (not entirely, she’s still hot). I thought models were supposed to have charisma. I guess hot is good enough.

  26. “I believe all creative expression is inherently political”
    Ugh, fuck you Nick, fuck you straight to hell. You read to much John Ruskin in college. Try Walter Pater for a change, learn to appreciate beauty for beauty’s sake.

  27. Some people need to learn the aphorism that “It is better to be thought a fool, than to opine and remove all doubt.”
    Sometimes, you just need to keep your opinions to yourself; particularly if you would be offended if the same comment was made about someone close to you.

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