by the Pickford Word Crew. We Colluded on this one.
Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality.
Open your eyes,
Look up to the skies and see.
The Pickford Word Crew has precious little time to blog this morning, because we must go purchase a gift, and we are ridiculously excited about our purchase. The Pickford Word Crew loves gift-giving, even more than the receiving of gifts.
Normally, we would postpone our blogging, since the Pickford Crew takes pride in thoughtful longform, often the result of extensive pondering, research, and of course, editing. But that seems to be changing before our eyes, because our struggle to stay relevant becomes increasingly compressed, in and by time, due to the OOTD.
The “OOTD” is a frighteningly accurate, handy and useful acronym offered by one of the crew, standing for “OUTRAGE OF THE DAY.” It references, of course, The Trump Administration.
Time was when an author could struggle for years to complete polished commentary on earth shaking events; the world had to wait, but the payoff was that the writing just might claim significance forever and ever, particularly if it somehow managed to touch on that elusive and eternal notion, “the human condition”. Time passed, and journalists then found themselves given only a week to write good, solid, credible copy. Now, with Trump in office and that Promethean gift from the gods of the World Wide Web, that window has shrunk to a day. And it is still diminishing before our eyes: if you don’t get your analysis of some outrageous Trump Folly out within the hour, it will surely become irrelevant and uninteresting, because we are onward and downward into the next nightmare.
Only one way our crew member got it wrong. It’s not OOTD. It is OOTH.
So, back to our shopping trip for the perfect gift. We need not search too far, because we already know what we are going to buy: a Roget’s Thesaurus. Yes, that mysterious tome which, like Mickey’s Sorcerer, possesses untold magical tools--tools called “words”. And in a thesaurus, the words are not organized in that boring, arbitrary, alphabetical way, as the dictionary is….after all, who determined that the word “Maggot” (“a soft-bodied legless larva, especially that of a fly found in decaying matter”), should come before the word “Trump” (“to win or to succeed, for example in sports or business, because you have an advantage that your opponent does not have”), and in an ideal world, would that be the case? We ask you.
But a thesaurus, with its mystical yet logical hierarchy of organization, does represent a kind of ideal world. And by thesaurus, I mean the proper kind, Roget’s Thesaurus specifically--which is structured in the Table of Contents according the grand order of the cosmos--rather rather than the college variety, which is alphabetical and dildoic and should be thrown away by anybody reading this who ever wants to be take seriously as a thinker. As a communicator of ideas.
And speaking of a communicator of ideas, guess who the thesaurus is for?
It is for the United State of America’s new White House Communications Director.
Anthony Scaramucci. Or, as his friends call him, “Ant’ony.” “The Mooch.”
I see a little silhouette of a man
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?
Thunderbolt and lightning
Very very frightening me.
Why the gift of a Thesaurus, you might ask? Well, your question is painfully simple to answer, and it speaks to the anal retentive side of our crew.
Because, during a press conference that lasted a little more than half an hour, this man, who is now charged with keeping the citizens of the most powerful nation in the world apprised of urgent affairs of state, used the word “love” no less than fourteen times, the word “phenomenal” seven times, and that pathetic millennial descriptor “super” a crazy eight times.
Adjectives are not Scaramucci’s thing. Nor apparently, are answers. But more on that in a bit.
“I love him.” “They love him.” “I love them.” Super, super, super. Phenomenal, phenomenal, phenomenal.
Scaramucci’s life is so brimming with love and positive feelings that I half expected him to pull out a Pepsi and walk it over to CNN’s Sara Murray when she dared ask him about the creepy “fake news” drumbeat emanating from the White House, and he responded with a new phenom--a “gotcha answer”, while reminding the world that although he is not a journalist himself, he has actually played one on TV.
Maybe Ant’ony just doesn’t know how to deliver a punchline, but there was no indication that he meant that as a joke.
And now, we are going balls out, to parse a phrase: here is exactly what Scaramucci reminded us of, with his “loves” and “phenomenals” and “supers”, even though, given its implications, this might have been the most important press conference ever given to date, in terms of predicting the level of freedom of the press which we, as a citizenry will experience--or not--in this country: it is as though Tony Robbins, and that creepy coked up hedge fund groper in the film “Working Woman” (played brilliantly by a nascent Kevin Spacey), had nasty gay sex in the back of that same taxi, and made a baby. A Wall Street baby full of love, lust, greed, and lies. A baby that sees the world as a super and phenomenal place, assuming of course that that particular baby never actually has to leave Wall Street.
WHY, you may ask us, in all fairness, does it bother us so much, Mr. Scaramucci’s word choice, that we went to the bother to count the words?
Good question. Two part answer. No, three. (I always do that.)
FIRSTLY, because when somebody is punting, and their go-to descriptors are “super”, and “phenomenal” (and it was fascinating to observe that Scaramucci used them with increasing frequency over the span of the session, rather like labor pains, as his “all about me” monologue reverted to pointed questions which became increasingly unnerving), it means one thing, and you can take this to the bank: Scaramucci doesn’t read much. People who read all the time have a magnificent army of adjectives at their command, which come to mind spontaneously and effortlessly, and those troops are always there for them, loyal foot soldiers, should the need arise.
And make no mistake--although it is far too nuanced a discussion to be having these days, what with the circus master up there in the oval office--the difference between leaders who have read, and do read books, and leaders who never crack one open, makes all the difference in the world. And it will go on to make all the difference in the world. In fact, that is a discussion we need to have, and soon, yes soon.
But for now, mark our words. Mark our words: a person who doesn’t have a gorgeous, deep, and vast vocabulary, is a dangerous person to have in a place of power. Because a person who has few words, most probably has even fewer ideas. And that approach to governance is deadly. It can be fatal. Figuratively speaking, of course. And literally speaking, inevitably.
So yes, it is your legal and human right to sit in your La-Z-Boy all day watching Honey Boo Boo reruns and new episodes of Duck Dynasty while drinking Pabst and noticeably not reading, never reading.
But you do not want semi-literates making the decisions that run your life.
Trust us on this.
I don’t wanna die
Sometimes I wish I’d never been born at all.
The word “Super” is a kind of a catch-all adjective which means, “the meaning of the word, multiplied.” What terrified us about the number of times that Scaramucci used “Super” is that it is so reminiscent of Newspeak. As the people who will be the worst victims of Newspeak do not know, “Newspeak” originated in the famous dystopian novel 1984, by George Orwell. The book has a particularly chilling scene, haunting for those who grasped its implications vis-a-vis the real world. The protagonist of the novel, Winston, is having lunch with a friend, Syme, who is working on the eleventh and final version of the Newspeak Dictionary. Syme is tickled over his job, which requires him to slash thousands of words from the English language:
"It's a beautiful thing, the Destruction of words. Of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. It isn't only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all, what justification is there for a word, which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take ‘good,’ for instance. If you have a word like ‘good,’ what need is there for a word like ‘bad’? ‘Ungood’ will do just as well – better, because it's an exact opposite, which the other is not. Or again, if you want a stronger version of ‘good,’ what sense is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like ‘excellent’ and ‘splendid’ and all the rest of them? ‘Plusgood’ covers the meaning or ‘doubleplusgood’ if you want something stronger still. Of course we use those forms already, but in the final version of Newspeak there'll be nothing else. In the end the whole notion of goodness and badness will be covered by only six words – in reality, only one word. Don't you see the beauty of that, Winston? It was B.B.'s idea originally, of course," he added as an afterthought. (Chapter 5, 1984 by George Orwell)
Why bother even having words like “malevolent” and “horrific”, asks the logic of Newspeak, when you can simplify it by saying “Ungood.” “Doubleplus ungood.” Why have words like “profoundly”, “acutely”, “stupefyingly”, “supremely”, “unequivocally” or “sublimely”, when you can just say “doubleplusgood”. (Or, “superexcited”, “superhappy”, “superloyal”.)
And if you think we are over-reacting, ask yourself this: have you ever heard an insightful, circumspect, engaged mind--be it businessperson, politician, pundit, or otherwise wise human being--use that as an adjective, ever, at all? Pick a fiction writer: Grisham. Clavell. Michener. Clancy. King. Pick a nonfiction author: Friedman. Krugman. Pick a partisan paper: The Wall Street Journal. The New York Times. Pick a partisan pundit: O’Reilly. Cooper. Pick a President: Reagan, Kennedy.
Imagine The Times waxing on about the “super productive” talks just concluded by international leaders at the G20. Are generals at the Pentagon “super worried” about ISIS? Are the world’s best and brightest scientists “super alarmed” about the catastrophic effects of global warming? How about former President Obama saying he is “super grateful” to our Armed Forces on Memorial Day, or expressing his “super sadness” at the latest mass shooting? Are members of Congress “super bummed” about McCain’s prognosis? Does the Supreme Court uphold the death penalty for the “super guilty”?
No, they don’t, because they know that “super” is, above all else, not a super word, being as it is an ignorant, knee-jerk, one-size-fits-all Orwellian adjective expressly reserved for those who are not the least bit interested in the great ideas, or in the elegant expression of those ideas.
Trust us on this.
Any business guy, who wears hair pomade and lots of it (by his own admission), whose dad was “in construction” (a fact), and who has a personal history of publicly insulting and viciously attacking all kinds of people--and who then, in less time than it takes an elephant to gestate, turns around and tells those same people that he loves them, oh yeah, they’re just phenomenal, super--and he also loves you, me, the press, and everybody, and he keeps repeating this every couple of minutes, and a bunch of more times, and then talks more about how much he loves everybody some more…..?
That guy will whack you in a heartbeat.
Put a gun against his head
Pulled me trigger, now he’s dead.
Mama, life’s just begun
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away.
(ASIDE: The Langford, clearly the most virulently vocal of the entire Pickford Word crew, announces frequently her abundant hatred for the human race, and yet she has never hurt another soul, at least not on purpose. Perhaps not loving everybody all the time, perhaps keeping one’s distance, perhaps a little solitude … perhaps that is one of the keys to lasting peace.)
So, is our gift for Mr. Scaramucci, the thesaurus, the grandest book of synonyms ever created--the purchase of which excites us greatly--is that gift beginning to make more sense?
I’m just a poor boy, from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
The only human commentary left to be made regarding this bizarre changing of the guard concerns--who’d you think we’d mention?--poor Sean Spicer. His fall from whatever is the exact opposite of grace (doubleplusungrace?) represents, in a weird way, all that is Great about America. (And not “again.” It was always this way.) We Americans love to pick at the high and mighty: it is what keeps power hungry creeps from being re-elected to office, and this includes everything from Comptroller for your tiny town to Commander in Chief of your country. It is what keeps people elected to offices (be those offices with or without term limits) from actually becoming dictators. Keep the high and mighty in their place, so to speak. But once the high and mighty become low and powerless, suddenly we are all, like, feeling sorry for them. This cycle keeps human beings who live in democracies and republics from becoming the victims of tyranny. But it also keeps them from becoming bullies themselves.
So naturally we feel sorry for Spicey. Particularly because, as of our writing this, we have only a few more hours to see what SNL has up its sleeve for this last skewering. And wethinks it won’t be pretty. (That said, don’t we have to all admit that the last go ‘round, with Spicey/McCarthy riding his/her podium down the streets of Manhattan, did more to make Trump look evil than Spicey look bad?)
NOTE: We have just been reminded that SNL is off the air right now, vis-a-vis “School’s out for the summer!!!!” Nobody on the Pickford Word Crew has any kind of cable connection, so we totally did not know that.
I’m just a poor boy,
I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go
Little high, little low
Any way the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me. To me…...
For us--and we talked about this--here is how it always seemed. Pickford Studios is based in the Blue Ridge, so dead deer who have been hit by cars, their carcasses lying by the side of the road, are an expected sight. And a wounded deer is also a sad reality. Worse for everybody, especially when there are kids in the car. Usually, the animal is put out of its misery. (Oddly amusing is the decapitated corpse of a buck; no doubt the person who took the head will concoct some grand story about a great hunt.) That image, for us--it’s Spicey. Seriously. Ever since the first very bizarre, disastrous, unprecedented, bad acid trip press conference, the day after inauguration, where we learned how much “size matters” for our new president. One of us recalls living in a dense urban environment, and seeing a cat that been very badly mangled by a car lying, flailing in agony in the middle of the road. The driver of the car that our crewperson was with had every intention of turning around and finishing the job, although this particular driver was not the person who had initially hit the cat. But if you had seen the cat, its pinkish red intestines spreading out a foot in front of it, its body nearly bifurcated, you would have done the same. As it happened, somebody got there before our vehicle, and finished the job.
And, morbid as it seems, as Grand Guignol as our metaphor may be, that is our thought, when we think of Sean Spicer. Oh, will someone just please put him out of his misery.
And so someone did.
Spicer took himself out of the game. But not by eating a bullet, or lying down in front of a truck.
Just by getting the hell away from Trump, and starting over again. Well done, Sean (How cool would it be to get him on SNL?)
Mama, oo-oo-oo-ooh (any way the wind blows)
Didn’t mean to make you cry
If I’m not back this time time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters.
Too late, my time has come
Send shivers down my spine
Body aching all the time
Goodbye everybody, I’ve got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth.
But back to Anthony Scaramucci. Our takeaways from the conference. Granted, it was a kind of “get-to-know-me” press conference, so one might have expected as much fluff as substance.
Still, it was weird. Or maybe we should say, it was weird because of that. What the Mooch shared and how he shared was weird. Apart from all the love he expressed, and his super phenomenal attitude, there was weirdness.
We learned that he has lots of experience being in high profile jobs that involved communicating with the public, but that he does not know how to turn on the mic. We learned that one of the greatest regrets of his life was not serving in the military, as many members of his family have done. Odd. There is a way to do that, actually. It’s called enlisting. We have learned that he has Hyuge respect for Steve Bannon. We learned that Anthony is going to take it upon himself to make the White House a fun place to work. We learned that he read a scary book once about people wearing body cameras. We found that he has written a bestseller and made it a best seller buy buying up stacks and stacks of copies which he keeps in his basement, and we have no evidence that he was kidding. He probably was, but Scaramucci is about as good at eliciting laughs (several jokes bombed), as O.J. is at eliciting sympathy (several of his parole hearing jokes bombed too).
We have learned that Scaramucci doesn’t mean to name drop but Harvard Harvard Harvard phenomenal Harvard, is where he got his J.D., but apparently forgot to sign up for ADJECTIVES 101.
Here is how smart Harvard made Anthony Scaramucci: a reporter asked Mr. Scaramucci how, in the event that the communications director has taken the trouble to create an articulate and impactful announcement and deliver it to the White House Press Corps and the listening world, and President Trump then undoes all that in the middle of the night with a contradictory and unintelligible treat--how--how, then would Scaramucci handle such a situation? At that point in his first press conference, Scaramucci pivoted, saying that he would not answer the question, because it was “hypothetical.”
NOTE TO ANT’ONY: There is nothing on this earth, nothing in this solar system that is LESS hypothetical than the daily reality of Trump undoing your hard work with one tweet.
Ant’ony. You are a pussy.
We learned that he believes the President of the United States has great karma. We learned that Anthony Scaramucci has no idea what the word “karma” means. And he gave us some great “dining out” Michelin Guide style dining tips, wherein he explained to us how to eat an elephant. And though we suspect he was struggling to make some kind of metaphorical point of wisdom, we need only look around at Trump, Bannon, and Huckabee Sanders to wonder if they got the metaphor. Why do we suspect that now, even as we write this, Pachyderm patties are being served for the whole gang in the White House back yard--and I mean the rare, endangered kind, like Sumatrans or whatever? (And hey, if the barbecue doesn’t kill the elephant, climate change, fostered by the denial policy of our president, will. So the demise of Dumbo is inevitable either way. Trust us on this.)
Easy come, easy go, will you let me go.
Bismillah! No, we will not let you go. (Let him go!)
Bismillah! We will not let you go. (Let him go!)
Bismillah! We will not let you go. (Let him go!)
We will not let you go (Let him go!)
Never, never let you go
Never let me go, oh
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Oh, ma mia, mama mia (mama mia let me go)
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me!
And lastly, regarding that poorly delivered hair-and-makeup joke thingy referenced above.
Here is the deal: A reporter asked a question. The question regarded whether or not the White House Press would return to regular press conferences:
JON KARL: I see the cameras are back, will you commit now to holding regular on-camera briefings?
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: If [Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders] provides hair and makeup, I will consider it. But I need a lot of hair and makeup, Jon, OK? […] I am up here today only because I think it's the first day; we made a mutual decision that would make sense for me to come up here and try to answer as many questions as possible. But -- and the answer is we may. I have to talk to the president about that. I like consulting with the president before I make decisions like that.
Every American citizen has a right to know what the President is doing. For weeks now, the Trump White House has been the very opposite of transparent. For the first time since the advent of the television, a sitting president is doing everything he can to shut down news coverage. This is not a joke. This is terrifying. But Scaramucci made a joke.
And because of that--Scaramucci is a joke.
“I enjoy talking to you. Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own, except that you happen to be insane.” - O’Brien, 1984
And now, we are off to buy our thesaurus. Because we really are mailing him this gift. Ant’ony deserves a special gift.
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me
So you think you can stomp me and spit in my eye?
So you think you can love me and leave me to die?
Oh baby, can’t do this to me baby
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here
Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters
Not really matters to me.
Any way the wind blows...