Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Florence Foster Jenkins is Hillary Clinton

Jerry Stratton, August 30, 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins: “Florence Foster Jenkins (1868–1944), an American soprano, Bain News Service.”; Florence Foster Jenkins

Hillary Clinton addresses small circle of supporters at campaign rally in matching hair and wallpaper.

It’s a movie about a woman with a robotic and grating voice, wearing bizarre clothing, who is completely out of touch with the real world. Her sycophants encourage her delusions and do their best to hide her severe defects from the public. If I were to write a satire about the Clintons and the media, the result would look a lot like Florence Foster Jenkins.

In the movie, Jenkins is an absolutely painful singer who believes she is amazing—countering self-doubts, her entourage encourages her in this belief. Her lover, to keep anyone, especially her, from finding out just how bad she is, bribes all the reviewers he can to write that she was amazing, and hides all reviews that report how bad she really was.

The mainstream media today is acting like St. Clair Bayfield running around the neighborhood scooping up all critical reviews—such as that Hillary Clinton’s mentor was a KKK member—and burying them in the trash.

They’re even trying to hide ancillary scandals from her husband, such as, in the Washington Post Magazine, William Tucker writing that Bill Clinton “allegedly cheated on his wife…”.

Allegedly. Even though he admitted to doing it and the DNA evidence was incontrovertible. Eventually, if they think they can get away with it, they will start saying that these were just accusations from partisans, and then will say those accusations were debunked.

Imagine if Robert Byrd had been a Republican and Trump had called him a mentor. There would be no such weasel words as “alleged” or “claimed” in CNN’s reports on the matter. Of course, that’s a very unlikely scenario, since all or almost all Ku Klux Klan members were Democrats. The KKK killed Republicans.

So instead imagine if a Republican were accepting donations in the millions and even tens of millions of dollars from corporations, the wealthy, and foreign sources while running for office. Imagine that it’s been linked to all sorts of corruption in a previous office—paying for access, and paying for foreign policy. Now, imagine if they promised to shut down this foundation—but only after they were elected, thus telling all potential donors that they need to donate now if they want access.

Imagine if a Republican had done this, as Hillary Clinton recently did. While it is true that some networks have covered it, they have done so only fleetingly in the manner that Jenkins was reviewed: with euphemism and false equivalence. Imagine, again, that it had been a Republican nominee. There would be nothing else in the news for weeks, and there would be no euphemisms.

Instead, they—the media, not the campaign—have gone all over the neighborhood trying to conceal and downplay the bad news before anyone can read it.

For example, by canceling a CNN radio talk show for no apparent reason immediately after the show’s host discussed Hillary Clinton’s health. CNN claimed it was part of a general shakeup, but that general shakeup did not involve removing all of the shows from their archives. Only this particular episode.

Like Bayfield in the movie, the media will flirt with Sanders in the night, but returns to their true love by the dawn of the primaries.

Like ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Bayfield occupies an immoral space combining devotion and management. He may question her, but never forgets that he was her employee and is in her orbit.

While the writer and director take great liberties with the real story of Florence Foster Jenkins, they do so only in the service of making Jenkins more like Hillary Clinton. While Jenkins in real life took direct part in keeping her performances private, Jenkins in the movie relies on surrogates and pretends ignorance of the efforts to protect her reputation. In reality, St. Clair Bayfield was probably as much after her money as anything else, but in the film, in his role as the Democratic Media Complex, he’s a true believer.

Outrageous speculation on my part aside, this is a very funny movie.

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