Saturday, April 29, 2006

TRUTHINESS TO POWER I have no idea who booked Stephen Colbert for the White House Correspondents Dinner--or why the White House went along with it.

Don't they know who Colbert is? Didn't they realize that he runs one of the most subversive shows on television? And that he practices a form of politically-aggressive performance art that is unlike anything else in the mainstream media?

Maybe they thought that, with President Bush sitting only a few feet away, he would tone things down. But he didn't. And it made for some pretty surreal television.

Some excerpts:

"I believe the government that governors best is the government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."
"[Mr. President], pay no attention to the people who believe the glass is half-empty, because 32% means it's two-thirds empty. There's still some liquid in that glass is my point. But I wouldn't drink it. The last third is usually backwash."
"I stand by this man [the President] because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently-flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound with the most powerfully-staged photo ops in the world."
"The greatest thing about this man is he's steady, he knows where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday--no matter what happened Tuesday."

The C-SPAN telecast didn't run too many reaction shots of the President, but he couldn't have been too pleased. And after a few minutes, Colbert seemed to lose at least part of the crowd, which slowly came to realize that his sarcastic assault on the administration was more a vicious, no-holds-barred skewering than a good-natured roast.

UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has video.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.