Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: #MoscowMitch

Image: www.senate.gov

In these terrible times we must cling to things that restore joy to our world-weary souls…visiting a waterfall, picking daisies in a meadow with a giggling grandchild, sharing a banana split with a sweetheart, watching Mitch McConnell’s jaw clench til his molars turn to sand when protesters call him “Moscow Mitch.”

Yes, it’s the little things.

I’ve decided Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Neptune), is the root of all evil. Not Trump, because he’s just a bloated puppet who says stupid stuff all the time. I swear when Trump said he could end the war in Afghanistan by killing them all (boom!) but didn’t want to hurt all those people and then looked around like, “What? Where’s my Nobel?” I realized he truly is an imbecile. That was no earthquake in Cali that week, that was a tremor generated by heads hitting desktops as a thousand highly respected military strategists marveled at such an exquisite example of dunderheaded-ness.

You look in the dictionary under dunderhead-ness and, well, you won’t find it because, obviously, it’s not a real word but if it were, it would look a lot like Trump.

But Moscow Mitch? Yeah, he’s the real deal.

The swamp has been drained, says Trump, so how is it that the swamp’s biggest, scaliest, most malevolent creature is left behind? Having Moscow Mitch in charge of monitoring decency and democracy makes as much sense as letting R. Kelly own a chain of after school daycares. (She said she was 12; she looked like she was 14…)

While you could argue calling someone such a slanderous name amounts to bullying (somebody wake up Melania!) I think it’s OK, when it’s this treasonous pile of Kentucky horse poo.

The moniker “Moscow Mitch” is trending like #metoo, #goals and #trumpsadunderhead (OK, I made that one up) after a boost from an increasingly agitated Joe Scarborough of “Morning Joe” fame. And it’s driving McConnell nuts. After all he’s done for us, this is the thanks he gets?

That’s a legitimate question. Let’s take a gander at some of Mitch’s accomplishments.

For starters he has blocked legislation to help prevent Russia from interfering in the 2020 elections.

He’s greased the wheels for a high-ranked Putin friend to do unprecedented levels of business in the United States, that same oligarch pouring millions into a Kentucky company that used the services of former members of Moscow Mitch’s staff. Yeah, that sounds totally above board.

AND, he has fought every piece of gun control legislation—including a call for universal background checks that has wide bipartisan support. Moscow Mitch has refused to bring that bill to the Senate floor even though it passed the House in February or, as I like to call it, exactly FOURTEEN mass shootings in the United States ago.

The Senate is taking a wholly undeserved vacay this month plus Moscow Mitch broke his shell, er, shoulder in a fall over some patio furniture so I guess that means further inaction will just have to wait.

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

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Politics is life, dammit!

My friend shook her head slowly when I asked if she had noticed – then again, how could she not? – Chris Matthews seems to have a stubborn chest cold because he has been coughing a lot more on TV than usual, which, as I reminded her, was already plenty annoying. I mean, if you’re going to be on national TV, you shouldn’t sound like you’re coughing up a hairball the size of an Iowa caucus every night, amiright?

Clearly he needs to stock up on Airborne.

She put her hand up, as if to say “Stop.” Why was she doing that?

“Look,” she said. “I like you. Well, for the most part. But, lately, all you want to talk about is politics. I am soooooo tired of politics. I can’t take it anymore. Everywhere I go, it’s all I hear. The election is over a year away and I don’t think I’m going to make it.”

I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, she is so self-centered!” You read my mind.

I responded with respect.

“Are you crazy? We need every single vote. You HAVE to (sarcastic air quotes) make it.”

“Listen at yourself. I mean, you turn everything into an anti-Trump tirade. Oh, and this just in? I don’t give a happy damn about Chris Matthews’ cough.”

“That’s because you have reliable health care. You know who else has terrific health insurance? Mitch McConnell who—let’s be clear—stole Merrick Garland’s seat on the Supreme Court and gave it to the drunk frat boy as long as we’re talking about it.”

“Stop it! We weren’t talking about it! You’re sucking the joy out of my life. I swear I don’t even want to go to a movie with you. You’d turn “The Lion King” into some sort of rant about Trump…”

I thoughtfully considered what she was saying and then decided she was wrong. Duh.

“Well, if you honestly can’t see that Trump IS Scar then I suppose we have nothing left to discuss…”

“Look, I’m on your team but I just can’t do it anymore. With you, it’s all politics, all the time. It’s bad enough you still don’t eat at Chick-Fil-A even after they said they were OK with the whole being gay thing.”

“Right. Like I’m going to believe that. You don’t think I miss the waffle fries? The frosty lemonade? The sandwich, salty and almost burned but not quite? Don’t you see I’ve SUFFERED?”

Ack. It’s hard to explain principles to someone who clearly lacks any. So why was she looking at me now like I was the crazy one?

“You sold your soul for a chicken sandwich,” I huffed.

“At least I’m not a sanctimonious, obsessive-compulsive, joyless blowhard!”

“I am NOT a blowhard!”

While I remain puzzled at those who don’t share my concern for the fate of the entire free world, I persist. And rise, and all that other Maya Angelou-ish stuff.

I’m guessing she won’t give me a ride to the airport now. So selfish.

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

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Eastern North Carolina’s embarrassment

There’s so much to love about my native Eastern North Carolina. Driving through the sweet “dog tongue” flower-scented countryside to Greenville recently reminded me why the area’s most famous cheerleader – internationally respected Chef Vivian Howard – calls the flat, freshly planted fields flanking two-lane roads here, “my Tuscany, my Provence.”

At first glance, that seems a bit of a reach. There’s a depressing amount of rusted-through, abandoned farm equipment in some of these fields and way too many worn-out, windowless trailer homes. But Howard’s loyalty has paid off. She is the best possible illustration of the Southern grandmother’s admonition to “bloom where you’re planted.” Raised on a farm in tiny Deep Run, N.C., Howard stayed the course until the world came to her (farm) door, hungry for food from a region best known for coaxing flavor in abundance from unpretentious greens and beans.

The people here are as solid and unvarnished as the heart-pine pews they occupy two or three times a week, depending on prayer meeting and planting times.

I love them. They are my people. They are the ones who would see I didn’t have enough money at the country store for a little Coke AND a crazy big Jack’s butter cookie and softly said “put it on my bill” with a wink to the clerk.

You never forget childhood kindnesses. You do try to pay them forward when fortune has smiled on you in the form of lawn-mowing money. “Let me get that…”

I want you to understand Eastern North Carolina is more than what you saw on the TV and have seen every day since that Trump rally in Greenville.

“SEND HER BACK!!!”

The chant, mouthed by grinning men and women and a few children who didn’t look completely sure of who “she was exactly, has been dissected by the left and the right, lampooned by the late-nights and left the land that I love in tatters.

Trump visibly preened once the chant took hold. I imagine it exceeded his hopes, this “lock her up” 2.0. The next day, there was predictable blowback (was he seriously endorsing this flat-out racist chant against a member of Congress?), he did a brief walk-back, then, the day after that, doubled-down. How many times have we seen this tired “10 on the tomatometer” movie?

This time, though, it was personal.

Trump’s rally in Greenville—home of East Carolina University, where Sandra Bullock studied acting—was an ugly affirmation that fear is in control now.

Fear of people who aren’t white, rural, Christian.

“SEND HER BACK!!!”

The chant was deafening but that’s no surprise. That’s what you do when you’re afraid—you scream.

I want you to understand a lot of us here in Eastern North Carolina are deeply ashamed of that ignorant chant and everything it means. We’re embarrassed by the endless video clips from the Greenville rally. The sheer hatefulness of it all. And we hope that, next year, this presidency, corrosive as a rusty cultivator, will be put out to pasture.

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

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: The madness of King Donald

THE WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON, D.C.—The president of the United States today told First Lady Melania Trump she should leave the United States and go back to where she came from and that she should take her parents with her.

“Turns out, Melania is from a really terrible, terrible country. It’s a place I’m sure most of you have never heard of and it’s called Slovanka. Or something very close to that. I have never been there or if I have, I don’t remember it, but a lot of people have told me it’s a really not so good country and even could be called very bad.”

Reporter: I believe your wife is from Slovenia but she is a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Trump: Look. Ok. It’s like this. A leopard can’t change its stripes or its stars which means she is going to have to go. I will miss her. But, honestly, you know what? Maybe not that much. She doesn’t smile very often, this woman. I like to look at women, I mean not all of them, but the better-looking ones and say to them: “Smile!” They seem to really enjoy that.”

Female reporter: No, I’m pretty sure they don’t. Mr. President, what about your ex-wife Ivana Trump? She also isn’t a native born American, having emigrated from Czechoslovakia. Will she also have to go?

Trump: Yeah, she’s gotta go, too. See, here’s the thing. Many people have said to me: “You know, President Trump, you’re very rich and handsome and smart but your wives are making you look bad because they’re not Americans. I can’t play favorites. If I’m going to deport four mouthy liberal women in Congress, I mean, you know, go ahead with your own life, leave me alone.”

Reporter: Were you just quoting Billy Joel?

Trump: I don’t know. Was I? I’m not sure. Maybe you could look that up and tell me because that would be the answer and we want answers because we are tired of all the questions, so many questions.

Reporter: You do know three of the female members of Congress you urged to go back to their own countries “if they’re not happy here” were born in the United States, right?

Trump: Yes, but they’re brown to I’d say brownish. The people who go to my wonderful rallies, and, believe me, they are so wonderful, don’t like them. My generals finally said: “Hey, just get rid of them.”

Reporter: Your generals? Are you sure about that?

Trump: Yes. Women should smile more, absolutely.

Reporter: President Trump, your own mother was an immigrant. Does this make you think twice about the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming out of the White House?

Celia Rivenbark

Trump: No. Because my mother knew she was going to give birth one day to the greatest president of all time. So, you know, she had to be here in America. It was her destiny. And I was her child. So, I’m, like, Destiny’s Child.

Press Corps: Thank you, Mr. President.

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

Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: American racism at its most pathetic

I don’t blame Black folk for thinking we’ve lost our minds. The recent noisy—and racist—outrage over the casting of a young African American actress as Ariel in the new live-action version of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” movie is proof positive

At times like this, all we can say is Jesus, take the wheel. And let’s make sure he’s the white Jesus we remember from the portraits hung in every children’s Sunday School room I recall while growing up white in the South. I remember his flowing light brown locks and rosy cheeks looking down on us as we colored pictures of a fair-haired David launching his slingshot at the deeply tanned Goliath. Yeah. That stuff starts early.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but Ariel is white,” wrote one anonymous whiner, taking Disney to task in an online forum.

“Now I’m super upset!” was another’s brief comment.

“I was really looking forward to this movie and now I’m bummed.”

You get the gist of it. Super upset and bummed white America can’t even right now.

Fortunately, there were a few jewels amid the goat poo, including this: “I’m so pissed they didn’t cast someone who has a natural mermaid tail.”

Right? If you’re going to lose your mind and scatter bigoted bon mots all over the Twitterverse, let’s imagine how the mermaids must feel. Except they’re mythical. So, to put this in perspective: A mythical creature (there’s no such thing as mermaids in real life; I know, I’m soooo bummed) will be played by someone with black hair instead of red hair like the CARTOON version.

Let’s focus on that word for a sec. Cartoon. Dumb white people ( I can say that because I have often been one) surely understand this is all make-believe, right?

This just in: You almost never see a tuxedo clad mouse leading an orchestra in real life. Ditto a desert creature who has clearly overdosed on Adderall and (meep meep) spends his days trying to outrun a ravenous rabbit that thinks it’s a coyote.

My daughter was besotted with Ariel when she was little, which was fine with Duh Hubby and me although, over a glass of wine enjoyed while she watched the movie for the eleventybillionth time, we’d joke the movie’s premise was a bit shaky: A very young woman runs away from home and throws herself at a handsome prince, swapping her beautiful singing voice for the ability to walk with legs so the prince wouldn’t think she was weird and maybe they could bike together and stuff.

Yeah, there’s a lot to unpack there. Ariel wasn’t what you’d call a strong role model for young women but it’s fantasy. I have almost never encountered an overprotective crab/manny with a faux British accent. The “B-b-b-b-ut Ariel’s white” foolishness is racist, plain and simple. Hard to argue “purity” of storyline when your “heroine” is a man-crazy runaway teen with wretched judgment. Ariel’s skin color should be the least of y’alls’ worries.

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