We see him and raise him one: At least in principle, we tend to agree with Charlie Pierce about Tom Hanks.
Hanks recently gave a heartwarming speech about how there's nothing to look at here. "We are going to be all right," Hanks said. "America has been in worse places than we are at right now."
Pierce suggested that, while Hanks will be fine, many others may not be OK in the wake of last Tuesday's election. He was suggesting that Hanks' reassurances may have come from inside a wealthy man's uber-bubble.
At least in principle, we saw where Pierce was coming from. We'd had a similar reaction to Rachel Maddow the previous night.
More and more, Maddow strikes us as a narcissist built in the image of Trump. On the same night Hanks was giving his speech, she was exhorting us proles to snap out of the funk we'd been in since Trump's election.
She began her show with one of her worthless monologues, this time concerning the super-sexy way Chris Christie prosecuted Ivanka Trump's grimy father-in-law earlier in the "two thousandsies."
(She used that fun term the next night. Rachel is very unusual. It's one of the basic ways she sells us the car.)
Back to Maddow on Tuesday night. The first of her two "very sordid stories" involved multiple references to a "hunky secret Israeli boyfriend." This led to a second "very sordid story" in which a "zillionaire real estate mogul" made illegal campaign contributions to New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey.
Our story picks up there. Go ahead! Immerse yourselves in the sordidness of it all!
MADDOW (11/15/16): Ultimately, after the governor resigned the following year, the rich donor guy who got arrested a week before the governor's resignation, the rich donor guy was ultimately convicted of illegal campaign donations and tax evasion and witness tampering, and most of the story of that trial was about this very sordid story, this real estate mogul having this huge real estate empire, but he got into a feud with the rest of his family about the disposition of the family company.New Jersey is always worth it! No matter where you live!
His brother-in-law—his sister's husband—apparently turned the state's evidence and was cooperating with law enforcement against him. And the real estate mogul apparently retaliated against his brother-in-law by hiring a hooker to seduce the brother-in-law.
The real estate mogul then secretly taped what his sister's husband did with the hooker and then he mailed the tape to his own sister. Gah! Nice, right?
See, it's always worth it to pay close attention to New Jersey politics. Always, no matter where you live.
Our collection of very sordid stories continues from there:
MADDOW (continuing directly): In the end, this real estate mogul, this mega-zillionaire, this major donor and boyfriend-hirer to the governor of New Jersey, he did get convicted in federal court. And they didn't let him do some white collar excuse for hard time.As we've often noted, it's always a good day on Maddow's show when someone is doing hard time in an actual prison. That's especially true when super-humiliating stuff about hookers is involved.
Prosecutors pretty much threw the book at him. And for good measure, they made sure to publicly air all of the super-humiliating stuff about the sister and his sister's husband and sending the hooker to seduce the sister's husband and then sending the tape of them doing it to the sister—they made sure that was all public about it. Then the guy went away to actual prison.
And then the imprisoned real estate mogul's son married Donald Trump's daughter and, as Donald Trump's son-in-law, he became one of Donald Trump's closest advisers in his presidential campaign. And now in the Trump transition into the White House.
Also, when someone sends "the tape of them doing it" to the sister! New Jersey is always worth it, you guys!
In the end, Maddow's very sordid stories come to involve Christie and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law. Needless to say, Maddow was in seventh heaven. She also was dispensing advice:
MADDOW: Chris Christie was put in charge of the Trump transition effort, put in charge of staffing up the Trump administration way back in May when, honestly, I think nobody thought there would be a Trump administration. So, working on a totally hypothetical Trump presidential transition was kind of a hilarious backwater busy-work job for something that would never come to fruition.You guys out there, snap out of it! Why should anyone be in a funk when so many fascinating, super-humiliating stories are flying around?
Once Donald Trump actually freaking won the election, did you notice how fast Chris Christie got demoted from what turns out was now actually a very important job? And now, one of the more lurid aspects of the rollicking reality show that is the Trump campaign trying to become the President Donald Trump administration, one of the astonishingly low-rent plot points in that story is basically seeing Chris Christie get his in a bad way. As the son of the man who he jailed and humiliated all those years ago, as that man's son steps up and relieves Governor Christie of his lunch money.
By Thursday, Jared Kushner gets brought to the White House. He's seen touring the grounds of the White House staff.
By Friday, Chris Christie was out as transition chief. By this morning, Chris Christie's handpicked guy to run the transition at the Department of Justice, he was out, too...The former Republican congressman who Chris Christie tapped to head up national security planning for the transition, as of the today, he's out too.
And a source close to him told NBC News today that his ouster should be seen as a part of a, quote, "Stalinesque purge of people close to Chris Christie."
Stalinesque already, Week One! You guys, pay attention! Snap out of your funk! This is getting really, really fascinating really fast.
This shit is lurid, hilarious, rollicking. Why are you moping around?
Maddow continued with more humiliating stuff. As she finished her endless opening segment, she played the Hanks card again:
MADDOW: Like I said, my friends, no time to dissolve into a funk. This is already the most cockamamie thing any of us have ever seen in federal politics. There's no way any of this stuff can stand. The presidency cannot bear it. It just can't.We should all snap out of our funks! This is so entertaining! And yes, we think that was the gist of Maddow's manic performance. This was about all the fascinating fun we could have with all this sordid stuff.
Stay with us.
As we watched this garbage unfold, we were struck by how much fun a disaster can be if you're being corporately paid however many millions of dollars per year. One day later, we saw Pierce make a related point about that reassuring speech by Hanks.
Our national systems are melting down. In many cases, they melted down long ago. On Tuesday night, a certain corporate multimillionaire seemed to be richly entertained by the hilarious backwash of the process. She seemed to think we should be entertained too! People, snap out of your funk!
Vast wealth and fame can be very destructive. More and more, Maddow strikes us as a "low-rent" version of our own Donald Trump.
She seems to be deeply narcissistic. You guys, New Jersey is always worth it! People, snap out of your funk!