comScore
The Mary Sue

Samantha Bee, and the Rest of Us, Don’t Have the Luxury of a Normal Comedic Response to Politics (Anymore)

"A spoonful of hooker urine helps the treason claims go down," but it shouldn't have to.

Generally, I love Samantha Bee and her take on all things political on Full Frontal, and yes, I fully understand that she’s a comedian. Yet, despite her eventual discussion of the more important implications of the unverified memos speaking to President-elect Trump’s ties to Russia (memos that have actually been in the news since last year!), she focused a little too hard on the release of the memos being “comedy Christmas.” So has most of America.

When I woke up on Tuesday morning, and I did my usual early-morning social media scan, almost everyone in my feeds was talking about Trump and urine, specifically in relation to the “golden showers” kink in which people enjoy either getting urinated on, or watching people urinate. Before I had the chance to look up what everyone was talking about — because, of course, no one posts links or anything verifiable, they just post shared status updates as facts — I thought that Donald Trump was involved in a “sex scandal,” i.e., he has kinks that have come to light, and everyone was making fun of him for it, either thinking his assumed proclivities disgusting, or feeling huge amounts of schadenfreude that the Republican President-elect now had something “dirty” he needed to explain to his conservative base.

Now, I hate that kind of thing. I hate that all it takes, apparently, to discredit someone in the press is to shame them for their sexual escapades — as if affairs they’ve had should concern anyone other than their partners; as if what they enjoy doing sexually has anything to do with the public when the only reason it affects the public is because it’s continually reported to and for the public.

I think our preoccupation for shaming others for their sex lives points to the hugely unhealthy relationship that our society has with sex. Sex sells, and we totally love hearing about and ogling it, but we definitely don’t like talking about it, certainly not openly and honestly, and God forbid we enjoy it “too much,” or “the wrong way.” When talking about actions engaged in by consenting adults, slut-shaming and kink-shaming = bad. Clear? Good.

However, once I had time to look up the actual story, including the Buzzfeed article in which they published the unverified “intelligence” memos (we’ll save discussion of journalistic integrity for another day), I was surprised to discover two very important things:

  1. The takeaway from these memos should not be “Trump likes golden showers.” They should be HOLY SHIT, OUR PRESIDENT-ELECT HAS A HISTORY OF BEING MANIPULATED BY RUSSIA.
  2. The part about the urination isn’t even about kink (though the author of the memo felt plenty free to use judgy language by inserting “sexual perversion” and “perverted” at every opportunity)! It’s about the fact that, if this is true, the Russians knew that Trump is so vindictive against “his enemies” that he would order someone to pee on a bed they’d slept in. (And then what? Send them a video? Take a photo for posterity? What would the end-game even be there?)

This isn’t about “kink-shaming” or “golden showers.” This is about reports of a President-elect who said that he had a “much better temperament” than Hillary Clinton (despite unchecked Twitter rants and throwing tantrums when members of the press ask difficult questions) confirming the opposite by engaging in a petty, if elaborate, act.  This is about someone whom we already know has the opposite of a Presidential “temperament,” allegedly doing more to prove that, while ALSO BEING MANIPULATED BY ANOTHER COUNTRY’S GOVERNMENT.

And while everyone is sitting around making pee jokes, the Republican-led Senate is taking its first step toward dismantling the Affordable Care Act even while being admittedly in the dark about a replacement.

We’ve talked a lot about media “not normalizing” Trump, but I think that applies to ordinary citizens, too. I know that humor is something many of us use to cope with devastating things, myself included, but things like pee jokes are for normal candidates we disagree with who aren’t actually dangerous. Humor is for your run-of-the-mill political environment. We don’t live in one of those anymore, and we haven’t, really, since the beginning of this most recent Presidential election. But as far too many people get their news from their social media feeds as opposed to going to actual news sources directly, the jokes tend to obfuscate important facts. Making jokes about things that don’t matter normalizes Trump.

I’m not saying that we have to be dour, and eliminate humor entirely. But I am saying that rather than going for the easy pee jokes, we at the very least focus on the details that actually matter to our lives and start there. We don’t have the luxury for the easy jokes anymore.

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Follow The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google+.

© 2017 The Mary Sue, LLC | About Us | Advertise | Subscription FAQ | Privacy | User Agreement | Disclaimer | Contact | RSS RSS
Dan Abrams, Founder

  1. Mediaite
  2. The Mary Sue
  3. RunwayRiot
  4. LawNewz
  5. Gossip Cop