Wolf’s stand-up set, which has received criticism from media elites, gave voice to people ‘who aren’t in a symbiotic relationship with Trumpian chaos.’
The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is a celebration of the role of the press in upholding American democracy. The day after the dinner, however, has evolved to be a celebration of a different sort: a circle jerk of self-serious bad comedy opinions, and an annual reminder that the political press is, collectively, a gaggle of unfunny dorks who should probably be forced to watch somebody smarter than they are make fun of them more often.
There’s been a lot of whining since Saturday. Some observers have whined that the night’s headliner, Daily Show correspondent Michelle Wolf, was “mean” to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders by saying that her makeup was made of lies, that she was like Uncle Tom (but for women who disappoint other white women), that she was softball coach-like.
Sanders earned that and every joke aimed at her last night. She’s an adult with a very important job. She can handle it. To treat her with kid gloves because she’s a wife and mother would be condescending and sexist. And all the sucking up from people who could stand to gain professionally from sucking up to her is a unique brand of Washington tiresome. (Furthermore, I’m sick of having everything that matters to me as a feminist ridiculed and discounted by centrists and conservatives who nonetheless expect people like me to defend conservative women when somebody makes a benign joke at their expense, but I digress).
No, we shouldn’t “unite” around Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ imaginary hurt feelings about her goddamn eye makeup. We should be cheering Michelle Wolf, because she perfectly eclipsed the speech Trump was giving at the same time. And unlike a Sarah Huckabee Sanders-helmed press conference, Wolf’s set at the Correspondents’ Dinner contained no lies.
I suspect that much of the umbrage over Wolf’s treatment of Sanders was actually a smokescreen for issues observers had with the uncomfortable truths Wolf said to a room full of people complicit in and profiting from the current awful state of American politics. For example, Wolf noted that Brzezinski’s relationship with her co-host Joe Scarborough was “like when a #MeToo works out.” Mean, but true.