It’s fitting that one of this summer’s breakout hits was George Miller’s new Mad Max epic. Though Fury Road featured a nearly mute Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa stole the show, a one-armed terror rescuing her fellow women from concubine status and ultimately prying it away from the desiccated hands of Immortan Joe and his lackeys. Indeed, though the Mad Max series has had its share of female protagonists—I mean, Tina Turner in Beyond Thunderdome was epic—Furiosa’s vision, grit and bravery routed more than a few men along the way.
What does this have to do with the first GOP debate last night? Well, besides a cast of characters as bizarre as Fury Road, including Chris Christie’s neo-Road Warrior haircut, everyone in Quicken Loans Arena (aka “Predatory Loans Coliseum,” to paraphrase one writer) was THIRSTY. And I mean like Big Sean thirsty.
Filling in for Theron was Megyn Kelly, whose early dust-up with the Donald set the tone (the New York Times confusingly declared him the star of the debate in one article while downplaying his achievements during the show in another). Afterwards, nearly every Fox commentator felt obligated to defend Kelly; Brit Hume’s blow-dried carcass called Donald’s behavior “ungentlemanly,” then proceeded to fix himself a mint julep and prepared to go sit out on the veranda. Somehow, I think Kelly, like Furiosa, really didn’t need the help all that much. Every time the camera focused in on the Manhattan billionaire, it felt like a poorly planned, underfunded SNL skit: I kept waiting for a Kristen Wiig Carla Fiorina cameo. Jay Pharaoh, bust out your best Ben Carson!
Speaking of Carson, why was he invisible for the first like 20 minutes of the debate? Personally, I dug his attempt at speaking in the third person and bringing tithing back into national economics. Tithing: the flip-phone of taxation. “I think God’s a good guy”—sure, if God’s a guy Carson.
Anyway, Donald’s orange skinned tinge reminded me to cut down on the beta carotene plus. I like his idea for “a big beautiful door” on the mythical border wall, but only if we’re going craftsman style. Nice. Clean. Classy. When he talked about buying candidates, did it sound like Kasich was offering a sexual favor for a donation? My Ohio roots and my uncle’s predilection for Cleveland handies tells me YES.
The topics? Well, what won’t ten candidates, each somewhat indistinguishable from the next talk about? They all care about drug treatment instead of incarceration since oxycontin worked its way into the bloodstream of small town America, creating a wave of white addicts. Fifteen years ago they would have said all these listless, drugged-out minorities could only get cleaned up in jail, but now, hell’s bells, we need compassion!
Maybe the highlight was the war of ambivalence fought between Chris Christie and Rand Paul. Every time I see Christie I see this image:
Um, one could label this unflattering if being generous or a giant camel toe if being cruel. Between the two, Paul’s “pubes on a stick” hairdo out played Christie’s receding hairline, George Miller-inspired faux hawk. This was like when two no-name rappers feud, though even less exciting. I look forward to Paul’s “beef rap”: how does one rhyme libertarian with anything?
When one candidate mocked the “Alinsky model” of planning, I wondered wait what kind of communist are you? Plus, why did you just completely befuddle this audience, like anyone outside of graduate school knows who Saul Alinsky was. Why not throw in some Tony Gramsci while you’re at it and go on about “war of maneuvers” and how “hegemony takes work.”
Jeb’s declaration of “I created a culture of life in our state” sounded odd since Florida is the grab-ass capital of the nation. Two teenagers look at each other down there and a child is conceived. Didn’t you people watch 1998’s Wild Things? Jeb came off like the smarter, less charismatic, and more desperate older brother that he is. And while the real winner of the debate wasn’t even from Florida, Long Island is close enough, right?
Clement Lime is ToM’s social media strategist, quadrennial election commentator, and a former vice-chairperson of the Socialist Party of Cincinnati, unfortunately.