Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: What I don’t want for Christmas

Like any normal American woman who lives off snark and Little Debbie Raisin Cakes, I was completely mystified the first time I saw the now famous Peloton ad.

Why does that pretty lil waif look so worried when her controlling 50 shades of stupid husband gives her an overpriced exercise bike for Christmas?

But first, some background. The $2,400 exercise bike is a Peloton (from the Latin, “pelo” meaning “pretentious and extra” and “ton” meaning “yeah, I’m talking to you.”) The company has been slammed for previous ads that seemed deliberately snobby.

Part of me has a grudging respect for any company that has the stones to unapologetically wallow in its elitism. Every ad shows a super fit lil hank o’ hair peddling her fool head off, sweating like she was working down in the engine room in the Titanic. Except her sweat smells less like beer made in somebody’s boot and more like an intoxicating blend of jasmine and blood diamonds.

They stop just short of ending every commercial with: “Peloton. Because most of y’all are way too POOR to ever own one.”

So, yes, all that is part of the branding and Peloton has a kitschy sort of “brand you love to hate” image that seems to work for them.

Until…

There was just something in this hashtag MeToo world that didn’t sit right with viewers of this year’s ad. The waif’s darting, vaguely terrified eyes when she’s presented this “gift” gave me, and others, pause. I haven’t seen that kind of on-screen fear of a creepy husband since Julia Roberts hid out on an island to elude her homicidal other half in “Sleeping With the Enemy.” Terrifying.

Note to marketing team: We know your brand leans in hard when it comes to being hilariously elitist but you’re no worse than Matthew McConaughey sitting in that Lincoln like a damn fool talking to himself and admiring his own cuff links. Problem is, you can’t be that tone-deaf these days. Poor Peloton waif looks terrified she won’t live up to HIS fitness goals for her. At the end, she shows him how far she’s come via videos that proclaim her fitness levels as, like, really high. (Unlike my own, which translate as “more blue cheese dressing than blood in her veins.”)

Even the most fitness-obsessed rich person would probably resent getting the modern-day equivalent of a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. It’s just so utilitarian.

Here’s a pop quiz for loyal readers: If Duh Hubby unveils a “reconditioned” treadmill from Ollie’s (we aren’t at Peloton levels, duh) or any sort of workout equipment for me Christmas morning, I will be (A) outwardly plucky and polite but secretly disappointed and a little hurt, (B) honestly touched that he cares so much about my cardiovascular health and obviously wants to keep me around a long time, or (C) outside in the driveway tampering with his brakes and figuring I can finally eat ALL the sticky buns.

Oh.

Sometimes it scares me a little how well y’all know me.

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

Commentary

Weekend (holiday) humor from Celia Rivenbark: ‘Twas the night before impeachment

‘Twas the month before new year and all through the House
Were rumblings of impeachment: “Get rid of the louse!”
With eyes all a-buggin’, Adam Schiff grew most shrill
When war heroes were mocked up on Capitol Hill

Nunes and Jordan, Trump’s loudest defenders
Pouted when a uniform was worn, ‘stead of suit and suspenders
With military heroes dispatched out the door
Gordon Sondland, Trump’s honor, would quickly restore

But oh, how their hopes did melt like the snow
When Gordo admitted, sure, “there was Quid Pro Quo.”
Who invited him anyway? Republicans hatched a rebuttal
Holiday plans back home they would now have to scuttle

Poring over the witness list, Trumpers detected a trend
Smart women, speaking truth, Oh, please make it end!
Fiona Hill, for example, spoke calmly, just facts
Don’t tell her to “Smile!” Her stare cuts like an axe!

It’s not Ukraine, you sillies, she practically screamed
It’s Russia, led by Putin, alone that has schemed
To destroy our democracy and steal our elections
Putin tells Trump what to do and he follows directions!

In the meantime, subpoenas are ignored, which must be illegal
If it was you doing that, they’d take your house and your beagle
But if your names are Mick, Rudy, Pompeo, Bolton or Pence
You’re above the law–that should make honest folk wince

Now there’s a break in the action, my soap opera resumes
But they’ll be back in a bit, as impeachment still looms
From the House it will go to the Senate one day
Where McConnell will kill it with help from the fray

Our hopes lie not in exposing the wrongs Trumpy wrought
Our hope lies in candidates who the good fight have fought
My dear fellow Dems, let’s not mess this one up
But rather pick the right team, drink from the same cup

Is the answer rich Bloomberg? Oh, don’t make me laugh!
I’ll take Klobuchar, Lizzie Warren, Vice President Joe Gaffe
Let’s be circumspect, not turn one on the other
Or we’ll suffer term two with Trump, Pence & Mother

And speaking of Pence, so pious and preachy
Nikki Haley’s in the wings, Trump thinks she’s just peachy
Will Pence be replaced? He’s buzzkill and weird
And, to just put it out there, I think his wife is a beard

But perhaps justice will be served, and I’m a negative Nellie
Trump will be impeached, tossed out on his belly
All the way down to Florida, the lawsuits will follow
So many, so varied, it’s all hard to swallow

Rick Perry, smart glasses installed but not helpin’
Says God picked Trump so y’all quit your yelpin’.
He’s not alone; there are many who think Trump’s the Chosen
If you ask me, they’re crazy, their brains Elsa frozen

This is a great country, of that there’s no doubt
But we can be better; throw the rascals all out
Let’s start at the top and work our way down
Otherwise, you asked for it: Trump’s wearing a crown

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

Commentary

Thanksgiving holiday humor from Celia Rivenbark: OK boomer!

Some of you will read this column before Thanksgiving and, because of varying deadlines, others may read it a week or so later. A few unlucky souls won’t read it at all because they suspect I’m going to bash Dear Leader again. They’ll get their MAGA’s in an anticipatory wad and huff off to read “Snuffy Smith” or “Blondie.”

I got one thing to say to them: OK, Boomer.

Oh, that felt good. Now I know why the kids are enjoying it so. It’s such a deliciously fine-tuned put down – dismissive but not cruel.

I mention Thanksgiving because where better to witness the clashing of generations than around the family table? There’s Grandpa, all “Pass the cranberry sauce and build that wall.” There’s the adult chirren all “No politics at the table, Grandpa!” and here’s the lanky nephew, a freshly woke vegan who responds with the battle cry of his Generation Z: “OK, Boomer(s).” He will then mutter his suspicion there’s GMO’s in the green bean casserole and Grandma will say “No, honey, that’s just onion straws.”

With any luck at all, they’ll agree to disagree but, the way I see it, these days, civility is evaporating faster than alcohol on a skeeter bite.

“OK, Boomer” isn’t helping the sitch but it’s also not the worst thing in the world. That would be the maniac in the White House. Wait, sorry. I didn’t mean to say that.

The rapscallion in me would like to suggest we turn “OK, Boomer” into a drinking game during the holidays this year. For every utterance, you gotta take a shot. (Woke nephew can sub in kale juice as needed.)

I seriously love Thanksgiving but fully expect to hear “OK, Boomer” directed at me at least a half dozen times. (Where did I put that Fireball?) Guilty as charged. I’m a boomer by the calendar but, I swear, I’m a Gen X at heart and a millennial in overall maturity.

Much of the time “OK, Boomer” is deserved from what I can tell. A little background for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about because, well, Boomer. The expression went viral via TikTok (ask your grandkids; I can’t do everything for you) depicting an elderly man in a baseball cap and polo shirt whining that younger generations have Peter Pan syndrome, never wanting to grow up.

Ahem. While every generation has rebelled against their elders, this “OK, Boomer” response has galvanized teens around the world. At the heart of all the angst is Gen Z’s belief we’ve handed them a stinking pile of dying planet, no health insurance, insane rent and unaffordable college tuition.

To which unenlightened Boomers say: “Yeah, but your hair is 18 colors and just use that tattoo money for your rent, you little ….”

I’m just warning you things might be a little more tense than usual this Thanksgiving. You could get angry. Or you could smile softly and think about your 401k they’ll never have. All better?

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

 

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Trump’s taxpayer-paid televangelist

On this week’s episode of “The Righteous Trumpstones,” prosperity preachin’ proponent and Florida televangelist Paula White has been hired by the man himself to work in the White House, amen.

Trump’s spiritual advisor ever since he cannily realized he needed one to get elected (and to prevent future embarrassing “two Corinthian” slip-ups), will be taxpayer-paid to work in the totally made up sounding Office of Public Liaison charged with advising the administration’s Faith and Opportunity Initiative.

Trump, apparently frustrated by the founders’ insistence on separation of church and state really did make that one up last year. The FOI is supposed to give religious organizations more of a say in federal programs focused on religious liberty and fighting poverty, according to “The New York Times.”

Maybe. But I’m guessing if you had a pie chart of FOI’s true goals, it would feature a microscopic blue slice for fighting poverty with the rest colored a festive red and labeled “All y’all can say Merry Christmas again!”

Of course, no one ever stopped saying Merry Christmas. This is a popular Trump trope. Stirring controversy where there is none is classic Trump, much the same as his propensity to create chaos out of calm and then claim to have solved a problem of his own making. His entire foreign and domestic policy appears to be loosely based on that Lifetime movie where the firefighter turns out to be the arsonist who’s burning the town down one subdivision at a time.

It’s hard to imagine a televangelist on the staff at the White House. The very word is unsavory, conjuring up Osteenian levels of wealth and fame. The very worst practitioners soullessly peddle “anointed prayer cloths” and similar rubbish to the gullible for fun and profit.

With Trump, a branding genius I’ll grant you, putting a female TV preacher in the West Wing is a calculated, cynical way to remind the base: “Don’t forget! We won’t kill the babies.” Forget the subtleties of the “dog whistle” in politics, this is more on par with the eardrum shattering song of a million cicadas on a steamy Carolina night.

I know what you’re thinking: Osteenian is not a real word, is it? No. I meant to say you’re probably thinking a woman of the cloth—even one who preaches that God rewards-cards his “best” believers with cash and great health (Single mom with cancer? Pray harder and throw some more shekels in the collection plate, you sinner)– can’t be a bad idea if she can appeal to Trump’s better nature.

Oh, if only. Rev. White was the one who loudly prayed for Trump at a June rally, saying: “Let every demonic network that has aligned itself against the purpose, against the calling of President Trump, let it be broken, let it be torn down in the name of Jesus.”

Demonic network? Does she mean literal networks because, if she smites “CBS Sunday Morning” she’ll have gone, as many pastors before her, from preaching to meddling. Amen.

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Trump hates dogs

And then there were… I dunno, 15, 18?

Lapsed lanky frat boy Beto O’ Rourke, he of the earnest f-bombs and ubiquitous rolled-up shirt sleeves (ready to work for you!) has dropped out of the prez race.

As Trump gleefully described it, “he dropped out like a dog.”

Yes, because that’s what dogs do in Trumpland. You fetch, roll over for a vigorous tummy rub, do something unspeakable to a table leg and finally decide you don’t have enough money to run for president.

This was just the most recent in a barrage of anti-dog rhetoric employed by the president. Like “nasty” as his go-to playground insult for women he finds threatening, “like a dog” is frequently hauled out for the gents.

And so, naturally, when mega-terrorist and bonsai aficionado Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed last week, he “died like a dog,” according to Trump.

What does he mean by that? Did Baghdadi eat a bad sock? The obsession with condemning behavior as “like a dog,” goes back to the days when Trump was just a wee huckster on a reality TV show, according to “Slate.”

When a candidate for the coveted role of “The Apprentice” failed to make the grade, he or she was “fired like a dog.” Which, as “Vanity Fair” recently speculated begs the question if Trump understands what dogs actually do.

In other words, most don’t technically work, so it’s not like they can ever be “fired.” Sure, you can—and should– say “bad dog!’ or similar when bowser eats his own poo or similar but you’re not going to say, “You’re fired! Good luck living off your 401k Mr. Skittles!”

Only a few truly working dogs—vested as it were—actually go about the laudable business of leading their sight-impaired owners through city streets or their brain-impaired owners through the aisles of Home Depot, a store so relentlessly dog friendly I wouldn’t be surprised to see them set up dog-rental kiosks at the entrance right beside the shopping carts. How is the average American consumer expected to shop for solar lights and elongated toilet seats without a dog? Seriously, I want to know.

The truth is, Trump has always used dogs to illustrate the lowest of the low in behavior and performance. It’s his ultimate mic drop slam. Repeatedly, he has trotted out descriptions of so-and-so begging for money “like a dog.”

Yeah, right. I was just talking to my neighbor who has three dogs the other day and he said, “They line up every morning, paws outstretched, beggin’ for some Benjamins. What do they do with all that money? No clue.”

But the question remains, why bash dogs’ character? What did a dog ever do to Trump? Is it because they embody all the qualities he lacks? Loyalty, obedience, a glossy coat?

We’ll probably never know. I blame that old bug-a-boo “limited vocabulary and 3rd grade reading level.” To be fair, Beto’s frequent cussing inspired the same criticism.

Potty language all the time, like a dog.

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.