Look, we know we’re tempting Fate here, that Donald Trump’s election may be the spark that launches our planet into Your Favorite Cinematic Dystopian Hellscape, that the only acceptable attitudes among Responsible Adults are scorn and dismay…
But: We can’t help it. The merest rumor that Trump might choose Newt Gingrich for veep fills us with the kind of joy that’s only attainable by driving a convertible at full speed off a scenic cliff, and freezing the frame before the part that ruins the moment.
We can’t think of a damn thing to say about the same damn thing happening again, so let’s watch Sam Bee say something instead.
When we signed up as a Gawker commenter ten years ago, we needed a persona — a screen name and avatar. Our own name is terribly dull and terribly common, so we chose an in-joke nickname we had been using among friends. And for the avatar, we cropped a low-rez webcam photo showing us wearing old-school 3D glasses while leaning over a battery hamster. The combination pleased us.
Gawker was already on its third blogger by the time we discovered it — Elizabeth Spiers and Choire Sicha were gone, leaving Jessica Coen to toil in their wake — but what attracted us to it was the feeling of yet another attempt at reviving Spy, the satirical magazine we had called Mad for grownups. Like Spy, Gawker covered the Manhattan media scene with a jaundiced eye and healthy wit. And like Spy, Gawker would stray outside those bounds if something sufficiently amusing merited the attention.
When Spy magazine first published its fateful description of Donald Trump as a “short-fingered vulgarian” thirty years ago — thirty years ago! — Trump reacted in the most Trumpian way possible: He said he knew people who knew things, and Spy would fold within a year.
Leading Spy to respond in the most Spy way possible: A monthly sidebar quoting Trump’s prediction and counting down the days, headlined “Chronicle of Our Death Foretold”.
The year ran out, nothing happened, and Spy ran a final sidebar predicting Trump’s death. And that was that.
Only it wasn’t.
Flying Spaghetti Monster knows this moment was coming, and the Grey Lady and all other media outlets had the obit ready to go within seconds, but fuck if it still didn’t hurt.
We were actually hoping for a Bernie-Trump debate. First, it would have been fun: A Geezerpalooza for the ages. Second, it would have settled months-long chatter: Could Bernie actually stand up to The Other Great Orange Satan like we all think he could?
Serious People thought the very idea was a sham, of course. What would Trump have to lose debating the Democrat Loser? And what would Bernie have to gain, except for more opprobrium from the Demrat Establishment for disrupting Hillary’s coronation?
Actually, Trump would have had a lot to lose: Humiliation, the worst thing that could happen to a bully. A Bernie “debate win” would have shown that not only was it possible, but how to do it. Hillary could take notes from the audience.
Conversely, a Bernie Loss would have settled the otherwise unanswerable question whether the polls reflected his strength when actually tossed into the campaign fire. We’d all like to think that, but Shit Happens in the moment. Y’all will recall the Big Freakout when Obama slept through his first debate with Romney.
But it appears not to be, unless Trump delegate (and actual billionaire) Peter Thiel would care to divert $10 million from his Righteous Gawker Crusade to meet his candidate’s demands for funding the event.