Political satire, liberal style

You remember Robert Reich, don’t you? He was Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor, serving during the first administration. He’s now a Berkeley prof and a blogger. Turns out he’s also a playwright, and his play “Public Exposure: An Indecent Political Farce,” is being performed in Santa Rosa, about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco.

Before I describe the play, let me remind you that Reich served a liberal president who almost fell out of office because he couldn’t keep his distinguished (that is bent) organ of reproduction tightly zipped. Do you have that thought well in mind? Also, are you familiar with the psychiatric disorder called “projection”? “Projection” is defined as “A defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, in which what is emotionally unacceptable in the self is unconsciously rejected and attributed (projected) to others.” 

Okay, now that you’ve placed in the forefront of your mind both the nature of the Presidency in which Reich served and the meaning of projection, you should enjoy the plot summary our local paper gives of Reich’s play:

Dodds Delzell, an outstanding actor at the College of Marin during its Golden Era who has since performed with many Bay Area companies, is perfectly cast as Bill Humphrey, a TV talk show host whose world view is somewhere to the right of Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. The opening minutes are a minor masterpiece of timing and discipline. Hands clasped on a curved desk, an expressionless Delzell sits zombielike as he waits for the cameras to roll. The only sign he is alive is a series of carefully spaced throat clearings. Then, as the on-air light flashes, he breaks into a maniacal grin and begins to skewer his guests. Each verbal homicide is accompanied by the thumbs up gesture that symbolizes the show’s slogan, “We expose, you watch.” It’s simultaneously chilling and fascinating.

Citing his enormous popularity, Humphrey’s ex-wife, producer and associate host, Irma Sunquist (energetically interpreted by Sheri Lee Miller), proposes that he make himself available as a candidate for president. If he wins, she intends to be his administration’s Karl Rove.

“You’ll have all the attention,” she tells him, “I’ll have the power.”

At first, Humphrey resists because he has a secret. For some time he has been seeing the head of the Langwell Clinic, a practice famous for its celebrity makeovers, seeking help in correcting an embarrassing physical defect. The problem is with (here’s where the need for delicacy enters) his “member.” Specifically, it’s bent. To the left. As Irma drily observes when she learns about it: “Who would have imagined? Bill Humphrey … a lefty!”

Ray Langwell, the clinic’s head (played with droll authority by Tim Kniffen), is eager to effect a cure. His dream is to straighten the millions of other bent members in the world, using the marketing slogan, “Hang well with Langwell.” Happily for both, success finally comes, which Humphrey takes as a sign that he can win the presidential race against liberal Gov. Louise Hutton (company veteran mollie boice, who likes to keep her names lower-cased) by exposing his restored symmetry as a way of demonstrating to the voters that he has nothing to hide.

You can imagine what happens next, although Reich’s plot ultimately takes a surprising and somewhat unconvincing turn. Have no fear, however, that what you see will be particularly shocking. It’s all in the spirit of good fun, neatly timed to complement the other absurdities of this election year.

So, Reich who served a liberal President with a bent penis that he figuratively flashed throughout the entire world, has written a play in which it is a conservative talk show host who has the bent penis that he flashes to the entire world.  Projection, anyone?

Another point I feel compelled to make here is the fact that Clinton’s escapades so degraded the tone of the Presidency that nobody thinks there’s anything untoward in a former Labor Secretary of the United States of America writing what amounts to a pretty tawdry political farce.  One of the things that I’ve really appreciated about the Bush White House is the complete absence of sex scandals.  I have enough problems explaining to my elementary school children why Vanessa Hudgens is naked in pictures splashed across magazines and the internet or why Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant at 16 by a teenager to whom she’s not married.  I can’t imagine what parents of the late 1990s went through trying to explain sordid Presidential oral sex and cigars to their young ‘uns.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • jj

    A child. Reich is a child.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    The world is full of children.

  • anon

    Get a life, Bookworm

  • swampacreage

    Color me confused ! Who had the bent thingy(blush-mercury rising) Reich or Clinton or both ? ROFLAO !!!!

  • Pingback: Webloggin - Blog Archive » Political satire, liberal style()

  • swampacreage

    Can people who label others of projection be accussed of doing the same thing ? In other words are the acccusers hiding something as well or are they the all knowing clinical psychologists who know what is best for you ? Fascinating !

  • Trimegistus

    This is actually pretty common in media: the Simpsons had the famous “the dead are rising — and they’re voting Republican!” (because we all know how local political machines are all Republican controlled).

    First they deny they’ve done something wrong, then they deny it _is_ wrong, then they accuse their opponents of it.

  • Friend of USA

    As far as I know, conservatives do not write plays, books, blog posts or whatever in which a Democrat president says
    ” nukelar”.

    It would not work because conservatives are usually not dysfunctional people who suffer from severe cases of “super-projection”.

    When a liberal tells you that the Main Stream Media is controled by the right while standing before a newspaper stand where 90% of front pages of American, Canadian and European newspaper have large color photos of Obama (or Hillary), and 90% of them mention – or rather celebrate – Obama (or Hillary) ,
    while there is so little mention of the Republican candidates that one could believe there is only one party in this race ,
    you know you are dealing with someone who – among many other problems – has a serious “super-projection ” problem.

    Want to see many Canadian and a few American MSM front pages?

    It’ll take a few seconds and is worth it!

    Click on
    this link

    The link takes you to one of the best Conservative Canadian site out there.

  • Friend of USA

    Forgot to mention,

    scroll down! because not only the first post but the whole page is about that topic

  • Lulu

    Dear Friend,
    Thanks for sharing that summary of media bias.

  • Pingback: jamie pregnant | New semi news()

  • Friend of USA

    You are welcome Lulu!

    You will probably get a good laugh at this,

    I know I have way too much imagination but sometimes I am wondering if behind those names we give ourselves in comment boxes there is not a celebrity or a politician?

    I mean just like movie stars put on a baseball cap and dark glasses and can “mingle” and go to any place they want, I am often wondering if one of those people is not a curious celebrity/ politician?

    They do not have work or special events every day, they must have slow saturday evening like the rest of us where they either rent a movie or surf the net right ?

    Who knows if someone calling himslef ” Zip” ,
    ” johnnyboy” or ” EBC34 “is not Bill Clinton , David Letterman , Angelina Jolie or even some famous New York Times journalist looking for ideas or material?

    It may not very possible but it is very plausible.

    So anyway,
    I read a couple days ago the wikipedia biography of Lulu the popular signer of the sixties (mostly).

    And I was wondering if it was possible that you would be her.

    Are you rolling on the floor laughing?

    Told ya I have way too much imagination!

  • Mike Devx

    Most liberal art that attempts to be humorous or satirical is simply clunky and completely dumb. Genuine satire has a bite to it. I think of Jim Abrahams commercials on ‘The TaxMan is coming’ as a great example of artistic satire on the conservative side. Jon Stewart at times achieves notable results on the liberal side, primarily because he is an equal opportunity offender.

    You have to be able to step outside of your ideological slant – to become an observor – to achieve interesting satire. Robert Reich has shown that he doesn’t have a clue. What he’s done is so uninspiring, so clunky, that I’m surprised he didn’t throw in several fart and defecation jokes. That’s the usual way to “keep the humor rolling along” in our entertainment culture these days.