Friday, May 22, 2015

Should politicians be allowed to relax?

By Richard Barry

I've been to a number of those off-the-record media roasts in which skits and songs are performed and politicians mix it up with members of the press, frequently making fun of themselves in a way that resonates with the tenor of media coverage of them.

Though I doubt any of these events are ever really off the record these days, which is too bad because a lot fun can be had if those involved feel safe for an evening.

On Wednesday, at an annual New Jersey media roast, Gov. Christie took the stage and gave what Bloomberg Politics called "an expletive-laced speech . . aimed at reporters who mocked him for the George Washington Bridge scandal, his travel, and state finances."
“We don’t give a s--- about this or any of you,” Christie, a 52-year-old Republican who is considering a run for president, said to laughter and applause from about 350 people at a Hamilton banquet hall. He told one journalist to “open your eyes” and “clean the s--- out of your ears.”

“This is a guy who says he doesn’t know what I’m doing every day,” Christie said of the New Jersey Legislative Correspondents Club president. “Then just get the f--- away from me then if you don’t know what I’m doing.”

As well, a parody of the song, “If I Were a Rich Man” from Broadway’s “Fiddler on the Roof,” was reworked: “I’m not Sheldon Adelson’s boy/I’ll tell him I’m another hopeless goy.”

In 2012, Christie and Cory Booker, the former Newark mayor who now is a Democratic U.S. senator, collaborated on a video for the show that parodied the governor’s potential as a vice president and the mayor’s heroism after saving a neighbor from a fire. Posted on Christie’s YouTube page, it’s been viewed more than 400,000 times.

I don't know what Kevin Roberts a Christie spokesman, was referring to when he said in an e-mail, “That anyone would misrepresent the traditional lighthearted nature of the event is a disservice everyone involved." I'm sure some people would love to take Christie's remarks out of context.

I'm no fan of Chris Christie, though he does seem to have a good sense of humour, and a lot of very funny people are from New Jersery. But the point is that it would be a shame if these time-honoured events didn't happen anymore because the 24-hour news cycle is so desperate for content that it will take what are obvious jokes and try to turn them into something else.

In other words, the lack of authenticity in politicians is not entirely their fault. 

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  • I don't have a problem with lack of authenticity. I've always thought that was rather overblown. Anyway, it seems to me when politicians (eg, Chris Christie) are known for being authentic, it is, if anything, an even bigger act.

    Just the same, I don't like politicians and the press getting together to hang. I want my journalists to be too angry to let their hair down. It seems to me that these events were started by politicians who wanted journalists to go easy on them, and journalists who didn't want to do their jobs in a responsible way.

    Glenn Greenwald is more or less my ideal journalist: someone without any noticeable sense of humor. I wouldn't want to hang out with him. Ever. But that doesn't matter in the least.

    As for Christie's bit, it is always difficult to get comedy in print. But it seems to me that Christie is usually an asshole turned up to 11. And in this bit, he's an asshole turned up to 11.1. That's some awfully subtle satire there.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 10:20 PM  

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