Resign with Honesty – Please

kammen

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer endured unrelenting opprobrium and ridicule during his short stint in the job – much of it coming from his malignant boss Trump. Day after day, week after week the man could do no right. Yes, he self-immolated regularly, but he also was dealt one after another shit hand. Trump would make some lofty pronouncement that Sean was forced to defend, only to learn that Mr. Unpredictable had renounced it contemporaneously.

So when Spicer finally concluded resignation was the only path forward, he explained that it was in response to Trump’s decision to bring in a new Communications Director – the vile Anthony Scaramucci. Everyone knew Spicer had 1,001 real reasons to leave, but he chose to shamelessly blame it on the Mooch.

A few days ago, top American CEOs warming the bench on a couple of Trump’s fig-leaf business advisory boards resigned en masse. IBM’s Ginni Rometty lead the exodus and explained it this way:

The despicable conduct of hate groups in Charlottesville last weekend, and the violence and death that resulted from it, shows yet again that our nation needs to focus on unity, inclusion, and tolerance. For more than a century and in more than 170 countries, IBM has been committed to these values. … We have always believed that dialogue is critical to progress; that is why I joined the President’s Forum earlier this year. But this group can no longer serve the purpose for which it was formed.

Again, the resignation was blamed on some bad alt-right behavior in Virginia instead of the real reason which is Trump ‘s instability and racism. And when it comes to issues facing the economic health of the nation, Trump is a buzzkill. To wit: his desire to simply walk away from NAFTA with no plan for the fallout, his willingness to shut down the government unless his asinine wall gets funded, his suggestion that it’s OK for the government can default on its debts, his maniacal focus on resurrecting 19th century industries while ignoring those of the future. Despite his so-called CEO bona-fides, the man is a menace to big business.

But Rometty and gang could not bring themselves to cite their real reasons for disbanding the economic forum. Hell, they didn’t even lay blame for Charlottesville even tangentially on Trump’s ante-bellum rhetoric.

Now we learn that Dan Kammen resigned his position as Science Envoy for the State Department because … Trump screwed up on Charlottesville. Really? That’s why Kammen is bagging his 20 year career in government?

Kammen has been a scientist in the employ of the Department of Energy, the EPA and the State Department – and he also holds a directorship at UC Berkeley. Why couldn’t he just cite the real reason for his resignation: that Trump and his addled deputies are the most anti-science Luddites to run a government since Pope Urban VIII and his Vatican vagabonds castigated Galileo for daring to suggest the earth revolves around the sun. (How do you say “fake news” in Latin?)

Otherwise you’d have to believe that eminent scientist Dan Kammen was willing to accept Trump’s ignorant war on science forever as long as he kept his rancid racism in check.

C’mon all future resigners: have the guts to say it loud and proud exactly why you’re leaving the stink factory. Because it stinks.

The Day the Clown Died

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The death of comedian, actor, writer, director and TV huckster Jerry Lewis revived discussion of his never-screened, rarely-seen debacle of a movie titled “The Day the Clown Cried.” The Lewis production – which deals with imprisoned children, Nazi gas chambers…and a clown – is legendary for being perhaps the worst movie of all time. And we’re not talking bad in a good way like the films of Ed Wood and John Waters. Or even low budget stinkers like “Squirm” and “Porky’s 23.”

If you believe those who were involved in its production, or the handful of people close to Jerry who got to scope some dailies, “The Day the Clown Cried” is an inadvertently tasteless clump of poor acting, bad cinematography and nauseating storyline.

Jerry plays over-the-hill circus clown Helmut Dorque (pronounced Doork according to the script) who is arrested by the Gestapo after a couple of their agents spotted him drunkly insulting a framed photo of Adolf Hitler. Deep into the story Dorque suffers the wrath of fellow inmates who challenge him to perform his supposedly world-class clown act, only to watch him fail miserably. (Sidebar: The movie may have done better as a half hour “Twilight Zone” episode – but reading the script it’s clear Jerry tried to stretch a thin tale into a full-length epic.) Could there be anything more pathetic than watching a clown be unfunny? Here is some of the treacly dialog:

PRISONER: If he’s Germany’s greatest clown, God help the Fatherland. Doork, the Great! You got paid for that? To go without food is bad enough, but to have to watch that!
2ND NEW PRISONER (accusingly): You’re not the clown I saw. You lied. You’re big all right. A big liar.
4TH NEW PRISONER (contemptuously): And I was going to tell my kids!
UHLMANN: He’s no clown. Not even a bad one.
HELMUT: I am. I am a clown! Give me a chance. I just got started.
But the men continue to walk away. Helmut tries to do a hand stand, but his hands slip in the mud, and he lands ignominiously on all fours. When he looks up, only Adolf, Galt and Uhlmann remain.
ADOLF (sadly): That’s what we’ve been eating our hearts out to see! You stink. You really stink.
HELMUT: I… I slipped. I can do it.

Someone kicks mud into Dorque’s face and soon the clown sn on his knees in complete humiliation. Suddenly a small child approaches and, naturally, finds Dorque’s antics hilarious.

Soon enough the Nazis discover that Dorque’s abilities to charm young children with his goofy antics can be useful in keeping them calm before their ultimate demise in the gas chambers. Yikes! What a concept – and probably the main reason Lewis decided after the movie was in the can to keep it there.

In the end, Dorque – like the Pied Piper of Hamlin – escorts his young fans into the chamber and goes down along with them.

Someday, maybe soon, now that Jerry is gone, this artifact will play somewhere for cinephiles to ogle and debate. Will the audience sentiment be that “The Day the Clown Cried” was far ahead of its time – or will they exclaim “I’ve seen better film on teeth”?

End Note

eclipse

Trump tweeted out this meme the other day. Clearly it’s another in a long swipe by Trump to boast of his (white?) superiority over Obama. But another interpretation is that Trump is a mere moon in a solar system centered around the brilliant Obama.

Also, even though Trump looked directly at the obscured sun, is he that ignorant not know that eclipses last only a few minutes? Where’s the rest of the meme where Trump’s smug face slides off to the right never to be seen again in our lifetimes?

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