Sometimes, you just have to give Republicans their due props: when it comes to getting away with literal murder (I’m thinking of our democracy here), they are stone cold geniuses at getting We The People to see them as they want us to and not at all as they are. Actors do that because it’s their job. They pretend they’re someone else. They look like em, sound like em… I’d always heard that Robert De Niro thought “holitically” about acting — that he believed he had a character nailed down when he knew what the guy had in his right front pocket… But, of course, actors like De Niro aren’t really their characters. Unless they’re Daniel Day Lewis getting into and (insisting on) staying in character for the duration of the shoot —
— or Dustin Hoffman on the set of “Marathon Man” where Laurence Olivier helpfully suggested that instead of staying up for three days to “look” exhausted, Dustin “try acting” it instead, when quittin’ time comes, the actor slips out of their character as they slip out of that character’s wardrobe.
Acting is acting is acting. And — though I’ve hired thousands of actors in my career and I really do love them — we’re hiring them to bullshit us. And the better they bullshit us, the better we like it and like them!
Republicans have taken this core tenet of acting — making believe on purpose that you’re something you’re not — to an obscene, okay, “CRIMINAL” extreme.
Like I said — I’ve hired thousands of actors. I even studied acting in College (I went to ONE audition after graduating and realized that wasn’t me). I studied all the different kinds of acting there have been throughout history. Hell, I even wrote a paper while at Vassar wherein I tried to pinpoint the very first time in Europe where an actor got paid to act (I suggested it could have been for a performance of the 15th century morality play “The Castle Of Perseverance”). As I look at Republicans performing in public, I see Kabuki. From Wikipedia (because I really couldn’t put it any better): “Kabuki theatre is known for its heavily-stylised performances, the often-glamorous costumes worn by performers, and for the elaborate kumadori make-up worn by some of its performers.” Hey, does that not sound like Republicans?
When Matt Gaetz or Jim Jones or Kevin McCarthy get up on their hind legs and bray at the press (or even at their own supporters), we are watching the picture definition of “stylized performances”. They absolutely dress for the part and what would Donald Trump be without being orange? Matt Gaetz walks in the door a convicted drunk driver and a man inches away from being indicted for statutory rape among other nastiness. Jim Jordan, while a wrestling coach at Ohio State University, looked the other way while a pal sexually molested the wrestlers under their care. Kevin McCarthy knew Donald Trump was compromised by Russia well before the Republican Party nominated Trump to be their standard-bearer n 2016 (“There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” is how he put it). There’s no way to be delicate (not that I’d try): these three men are all scumbags. But they pretend to be something OTHER than scumbags. That requires an awful lot of acting. Subtlety will not help much. They need to 1) put the idea that they’re honest into our heads however they can and 2) distract us from the truth when their guilty behavior convinces us it’s there.
And the truth? In this story? C’mon now, everyone, we know what this story’s about. Treason.
Voila the Republican Party’s reliance at all times upon “Treason Kabuki” to keep from getting held to account for their remarkable run of criminality.
Also worth noting — our news media ADORES Treason Kabuki so much that they’ve normalized it. What should be seen as, well, theater, our news media sees as genuine. Hmmmmmmmm… that can’t turn out well. Our truth-tellers (the media) don’t understand that regardless of whichever actor is now playing Batman, Spiderman or Superman, none of those actors actually is any of those super heroes. The capes and the costumes should give it away, no?
Of course, the one, true master of Treason Kabuki is Donald J. Trump.
I say let’s give the man his acting award and then stick him in the “acting venue” he most deserves to play in for the rest of his stinking life: the federal penal system.
For our next course on Republican acting styles, let’s visit “Republican Kabuki’s” evil twin: “Bullshit Kabuki”.