Michelle Wolf’s jokes assume that we are ignorant

At the White House Correspondents Dinner Michelle Wolf told us that Trump lies and that this is a newsworthy insight. She is not ignorant. Rather, she believes that we are ignorant. History shows that she is right. But we can change.

Only the truth is revolutionary
A fake quote, but true nonetheless.

Trump lies a lot. Before Trump there was Obama. Even his fans at the NYT found 18 lies during his eight-year term. Critics found other examples, including this gem.

“There is no spying on Americans. …We don’t have a domestic spying program.”
Obama on the Jay Leno program, 6 August 2013.

Before Obama was Bush Jr., who started the long war with lies.

“There is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly. …And all this will be made clear in the course of the operation”
— Ari Fleischer, press secretary to George W. Bush, 21st March 2003.

Before that there was the Bill and Hillary act, who lied casually and often. There are too many to choose from. My favorite by Hillary was her story about fabulous commodity trading profits, told with a straight face despite being beyond implausible (details here and here). Even better is that Bill and Hillary knew Monica’s allegations were true, but had their minions describe her as a crazy stalker. Only Monica’s foresight in keeping the blue dress proved her right and led to Bill’s perjury conviction and disbarment.

Before that there was Reagan. His lies and ignorance with precedent-setting at the time, although exceeded by Trump (records are made to be broken).

“We did not — repeat — did not trade weapons or anything else for hostages, nor will we.”
— Reagan in a TV speech on 13 November 1986 lying about the Iran-Contra affair.

Before that there was Nixon.

“The Nixon Administration has developed a new language – a kind of Nix-speak. Government officials are entitled to make flat statements one day, and the next day reverse field with the simple phrase, ‘I misspoke myself.’ White House Press Secretary Ronald Ziegler enlarged the vocabulary last week, declaring that all of Nixon’s previous statements on Watergate were ‘inoperative.’ Not incorrect, not misinformed, not untrue – simply inoperative, like batteries gone dead.” {TIME, 30 April 1973.}

Before that there was LBJ, whose frequent lies about Vietnam led to the “credibility gap” when the press eventually realized it (e.g., see this analysis in the NYT). These led to a collapse in LBJ’s popularity and his withdrawal from the 1968 election.

“For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales ”
— LBJ describing the Tonkin Gulf incident – the alleged attack by North Vietnam on two US destroyers (from The Best and the Brightest) that justified launching the US escalation. It was quite bogus.

Before that there was JFK. While running for President he warned Americans that Eisenhower’s imprudence had created a “missile gap”, with US forces far inferior to those of the Soviet Union. Allen Dulles, Director of Central Intelligence, briefed JFK on July 23, explaining that photos from U-2 flights showed that the US – not the USSR – has the upper hand (see Dulles’ letter to Ike). Kennedy continued to campaign about the missile gap. See JFK’s lies in this October speech.

This is just a tiny sample of lies by our leaders since 1960. See this larger – but still very partial – list. Read it, and remember it when you hear government officials earnestly tell you things, saying “trust us.”

Michelle Wolf

Back to Michelle Wolf

She is shocked – shocked – to find that lying is going on in Washington! She relies on our gullibility and amnesia, otherwise we would laugh at her as we do at Captain Renault in Casablanca.

Stand-up comedy is among the most Darwinian of professions. Nobody succeeds as she has without a double allotment of intelligence and cynicism. Wolf knows that Trump is not sui generis. She knows that for generations our government officials have lied to us casually and often, about matters great and small. They have lied about matters far more serious than anything Trump has said (so far, at least). She knows that the joke is on us, and our elites laugh at us each time we believe their lies.

So her act is weaponized humor for political gain. She sought to incite Americans’ anger at Trump, not the corrupt political system that has produced official lies for generations. She wants you to support her team of corrupt politicians. Wolf is the opposite of America’s great political comedians (e.g., Will Rogers, Dick Gregory, Lenny Bruce). She reinforces our ignorance for the gain of her faction. They used humor to liberate us from our preconceptions, helping us more clearly see the world.

Conclusions

Our gullibility is the foundation for many of the great political stories of our time. My favorite is RussiaGate, supported by so many liberals declaring their uncritical trust of US intelligence agencies. These stories show that we are a gift to our rulers. Believing what are told makes us easy to rule. We cannot hope to govern ourselves until we develop skepticism and retain a memory of our past. These are the first steps to reform of America. See more about that in these posts.

We can do better.

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about reforming America: steps to new politics, and especially these…

  1. Our leaders have made a discovery of the sort that changes the destiny of nations.
  2. Our minds are addled, the result of skillful and expensive propaganda.
  3. Why do we believe, when the government lies to us so often? When we change, the government also will change.
  4. Government officials’ lies erode the Republic’s foundation. Do we care?
  5. The Big List of Lies by our Leaders. Post it everywhere to change America.
  6. Lies about Thanksgiving have consequences. That we’re so easily fooled has even more.
  7. Psychology explains Campaign 2016: the 8 tactics of manipulation & lying that win elections.
  8. The secret source of fake news. Its discovery will change America.

12 thoughts on “Michelle Wolf’s jokes assume that we are ignorant

  1. Wolf’s routine was intended as a hit job and nothing else. A few years ago Obama thought he’d be funny and made fun of Trump and the room laughed. Who is laughing now.

    1. Gute,

      “Wolf’s routine was intended as a hit job and nothing else.”

      I think that’s what I said.

    2. “Obama thought he’d be funny and made fun of Trump and the room laughed. Who is laughing now.”

      Still the same room. Obama has left, they have not. Trump will leave, and they will not…. Even if their audience does. The only vaguely funny joke of that bit was towards the end, when she poked at the press a little bit; that’s the only moment she did her job. Proof? That was also the moment nobody in the room laughed.

    3. Tancrède,

      That’s more insightful than anything in her presentation.

  2. She was doing the same thing that the school bully does when he picks on the geeky kid. He’s an easy and unpopular target. It says more about her and her audience than it does about Trump.

    Imagine if she’d done a skit on great political lies of our time, starting with JFK and culminating in Trump. There’d have been largely stony silence.

    FWIW Churchill’s lies and omissions were important in keeping the UK going during the darkest days of WW2. Had the full truth been known I suspect there’d have been a growing push to come to terms with Germany. So sometimes they’re necessary. Like war. But, like war, they should be a last resort in difficult circumstances.

    1. Steve,

      “Churchill’s lies and omissions were important in keeping the UK”

      Ditto FDR’s. But that’s missing the point. The lies I list are made to defend the Deep State, not us.

      “Imagine if she’d done a skit on great political lies of our time, starting with JFK and culminating in Trump.”

      Now that is an interesting thought experiment!

      Another comparison: on Amazon Prime they have “dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts” – which show what the White House Correspondents Dinner was originally intended to be — fun. Now it is a platform for the Left to attack their foes. They politicize — even weaponize — everything they touch.

  3. On May 1, 1960, the Soviet Union shot down a U-2 spy plane piloted by Gary Powers. And the Eisenhower administration, presuming the pilot had died, recognized the loss of a plane and pilot, but insisted that its purpose was weather observation (yes, this was before weather satellites).

    The Soviet premier shortly paraded Powers in front of TV cameras and displayed some equipment showing that this had not been a weather mission.

    And the American people were shocked- shocked! to learn that lying was going on in Washington! And the president, too- good ol’ war-hero and “I Like Ike” President Eisenhower had lied to the American people!

    Of course, that was a long time ago. Way back ,when comedians still had to actually be funny and not just PC if they wanted their careers to thrive.

  4. “Trump lies a lot. Before Trump there was Obama. Even his fans at the NYT found 18 lies during his eight-year term.”

    I believe that. But I also believe that Trump, on days when he speaks publicly, probably averages 18 lies in one day. Now, maybe presidential lying means very little. Or that 18 lies in 8 years is no worse than 18 lies in one day. I don’t agree.

    In some cases (such as the Churchill example) lying is better than being truthful. But I think that presidential lying isn’t no different from other societal lying. When a person lies prodigiously and without any apparent contribution to public welfare, we should be critical.

    Neil Cavuto, a host on Fox news, is normally reluctant to criticize Trump. But last night, he ended his segment saying ““I guess you’re too busy draining the swamp to ever stop and smell the stink you’re creating. That’s your doing, that’s your stink. Mr. President, that’s your swamp.” He was referring to Trump’s lies.

    1. Ken,

      (1) “on days when he speaks publicly, probably averages 18 lies in one day.”

      My first sentence: “Trump lies a lot.” I think everyone except the totally blind know that.

      (2) “Now, maybe presidential lying means very little.”

      Can you find somebody who believes that? Did you notice that this post spends 996 words saying the exact opposite?

      (3) “Or that 18 lies in 8 years is no worse than 18 lies in one day.”

      That’s an odd perspective. The significance of the lies matter more than the number. 18 lies per day about trivia, or with little policy action — which describes most of Trump’s lies — can’t seriously be said to equal the lies which cause wars. Thousand, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of deaths.

      (4) “When a person lies prodigiously and without any apparent contribution to public welfare, we should be critical.”

      Do you serious believe than anyone disagrees with you? I don’t see the point of your comment. You don’t appear to have read — or if read, understood — the post. I suggest you re-read it.

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