August 26, 2017

Sheetcaking Explained (Using Game of Thrones)

Look, I get it. You wanted Tina Fey to be your political tastemaker. She swooped down in 2008, slaying anyone who was considering voting for John McCain by holding a mirror up to his running mate. Even those in support of Sarah Palin were unable to tell the difference between the real and the reflection, making the appearance that rare intersection of art and politics: the perfect comment at the perfect time.

Even she was shocked it went down like that.
But, she’s not perfect. She’s a writer, comedian, and BAMF in many respects, but she’s not your president or your senator. In fact, she’s no more responsible for creating legislation or enforcing human rights interests as you are (assuming you both vote). Incredible as she is, the thought of Tina Fey throwing a perfect satire thunderbolt with every appearance—one that provokes exactly the correct reaction in every audience member—is both awesome and completely ridiculous. 

Ahem.
One reason why the backlash at Fey isn’t entirely fair is that, well, the game isn’t quite the same these days. The face of conservatives used to be this one:

Only motivated by self-interest, willing to do literally anything to stay on top, and would betray any one person of swathes of people if necessary. They may temporarily have interests that align with yours, but are never your true ally, and certainly not your friend. Now, the GOP is still very much Littlefinger at heart, but the face is one of open hatred and disgust rather than unctuous servility. The world is topsy-turvy, and our highest office is held by a sentient megaphone of cruelty who doesn’t even have the finesse to lie to those whose support he needs but whose lives mean less than nothing. (Donald Trump wishes he were Littlefinger, but will discover too late that he is Robin Arryn).

Lest you forget there was a scion worse than Rickon.
I know people are upset that Fey didn’t do more. I’m upset that nobody seems to be doing anything to stop this toboggan from careening into a seemingly-endless series of flaming turdpiles. But that isn’t on Fey, so why are we giving her the full brunt of our ire?

Because, while there are a number of things the Trump administration has been not-brilliant at (from drawing crowds to passing legislation to denouncing fascism), it has truly excelled in one area: the ability to identify and divide subgroups who otherwise have a lot in common. If we allow ourselves to see only our own worldview, to assume that people who don’t agree with us 100% are against us, we’re going to end up here:


There are many different ways to divide and parse a person’s actions, but it vital that those actions do not divide us. We must speak honestly—have real, intersectional discussions about how we experience the world—with the understanding that our perceptions can never be exactly the same. Above all, we need to agree that while the ideals of white supremacy will forever be a part of America’s history, the subjugation of any group of people is abhorrent to America’s future. If any person cannot get on board with at least this, he is not only unfit to lead, he is unfit to call himself a citizen of the nation he presumes to preside over. People who make sacrifices because they believe in the one true bloodline are equal parts vile and so, so boring.
My daughter? Well, omelets and eggs, I guess. -Stannis Boratheon
One final word: while a tone-deaf response can be greatly unsatisfying, it’s always better than no response at all. We need criticism, and we need criticism of the criticism. That is how we grow—how we decide who we are as a person, people, and nation. If we say nothing about human rights violations because there are problems “on all sides,” agree to disagree just to make peace with family members at Christmas, then we’re no better than this guy:


Thanks to Game_of_Thrones_Wiki for the images.



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