How Michelle Wolf blasted open the fictions of journalism in the age of Trump


Originally published at:


And Dave Chappelle thought it was beautiful.

“Wolf exposed the obscenity of the fictions—and the fundamental unfunniness of it all.” -NewYorker.

Notice Dave is not laughing.




I keep a pointer to this now-12-year-old essay by TNH, Why I Blog on my desktop. Moments like this demand a re-read.

The whole idea of “citizen journalists” has had its ups and downs lately, and the relative credibility of mainstream media vs outsiders has gone back and forth. It’s disappointing that at this moment in history, the mainstream press is pretending that it needs to keep up some kind of veneer of gentility even in the face of the Trumpocalypse.


Apparently Power doesn’t like it when you speak Truth to it. Who knew?


For me it’s less about the veneer of gentility than it is the fiction that all sides have equal weight. Truth has more substance than fiction but the press these days presents fiction as if it was equally valid as the truth.


Unnecessary comma in html.

For the confused:


link has a comma at the end of it.


updated my post once I saw that


While I wouldn’t necessarily go so far as to say that there was a lot of misogyny in the response to Ms. Wolf’s act, I would strongly suggest that the response reveals a dangerously sycophantic attitude towards authority.

Donald Trump can publicly, scatalogically insult, condemn, and threaten anyone he likes, and his supporters not only accept it but actually praise him for his strength and daring in doing so. However, when an entertainer such as Michelle Wolf says similar things framed as comedy, these same Trump supporters react with horror.

The interesting question here is whether Trump’s sycophants are bothered more that someone would dare poke fun at their orange idol, or whether they’re outraged that someone they consider a lesser being would dare to act like someone they consider of high status.


Guess I am going to have to see it. Humor is subjective, but you have to laugh at yourself, some times.


Thanks for the correction.


It’s worth seeing just because it’s quickly become a cultural touchstone. And lightning rod.

Plus, IMHO, it’s a brilliant and brave performance.

Oh, and often funny too!


CHILD IN AUDIENCE: But the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes!

IMPERIAL PRESS CORPS: The commentary offered by a child attending the Palace Correspondent’s Dinner earlier this evening was a crude and uncalled for breach of decorum and does not represent the journalistic values we cherish. We are currently reevaluating the format for this annual event to ensure this kind of disgraceful conduct does not happen again.


I do wonder if these people saying it was inappropriate realize they are knuckling under to fascism.


The White House press corps still doesn’t get what everyone else is saying about the regime: this is not normal.


I mean Trump was literally holding a rally where he called the free press an enemy of the people at the very moment Wolf was doing her monologue… it’s incredible that so many members of the press still just don’t want to rock the boat.


Maybe if they just give Trump Czechoslovakia he’ll be satisfied and stop all of this nonsense.


There are also excellent pieces in the NY Times and Rolling Stone.

NY Times rips into members of the organization who are now running for cover:

But to hire a comic, then renounce her for doing what she does, is weak. Any reporter knows that if you don’t do your homework, the consequences are on you. And to cave under pressure undermines reporters’ work by suggesting, rightly or not, that the Washington press corps can be cowed by the play-for-keeps tactics of this administration.


Clearly she needs to stand for office for her humour to be taken seriously.