Over at The Onion, they’re probably banging their heads against the wall. It is axiomatic that truth is stranger than fiction because fiction is expected to make sense. Of course, I doubt Twain ever conceived of “The Celebrated Muff-Diving Panda of Washington County”.
Oh, right. Truth. Stranger than fiction.
If the idea of Dick Armey staging an armed coup at the Tea Party PAC’s headquarters seemed strange enough, it pales by comparison to the latest details about the astroturf giant’s troubles. David Corn’s headline for Mother Jones makes it obvious that what follows is, well, unsettling to say the least:
And the detail:
An internal investigation of FreedomWorks—the prominent conservative advocacy group and super-PAC—has focused on president Matt Kibbe’s management of the organization, his use of its resources, and a controversial book deal he signed, according to former FreedomWorks officials who have met with the private lawyers conducting the probe. One potential topic for the inquiry is a promotional video produced last year under the supervision of Adam Brandon, executive vice president of the group and a Kibbe loyalist. The video included a scene in which a female intern wearing a panda suit simulates performing oral sex on Hillary Clinton.
Had enough, yet?
Apparently, the film included a scene based on The Shining:
Some FreedomWorks staffers worried last year about a promotional video created ahead of FreePAC, a FreedomWorks conference held on July 26, 2012, where thousands of conservative grassroots activists nearly filled the American Airlines Center in Dallas to hear from tea party favorites, including Glenn Beck and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). The short film hailing FreedomWorks was intended to play on the large video screens inside the arena.
In one segment of the film, according to a former official who saw it, Brandon is seen waking from a nap at his desk. In what appears to be a dream or a nightmare, he wanders down a hallway and spots a giant panda on its knees with its head in the lap of a seated Hillary Clinton and apparently performing oral sex on the then-secretary of state. Two female interns at FreedomWorks were recruited to play the panda and Clinton. One intern wore a Hillary Clinton mask. The other wore a giant panda suit that FreedomWorks had used at protests to denounce progressives as panderers .... Placing the panda in the video, a former FreedomWorks staffer says, was “an inside joke.”
Another FreedomWorks staffer who worked there at the time confirms that “Yes, this video was created.”
Days before the FreePAC event, the video was screened for staff. “My mouth was wide open,” a former official recalls. “‘What the hell is this?'” Several FreedomWorks staffers were outraged and stunned that Brandon, the group’s second-in-command after Kibbe, had overseen the video’s production, appeared in it, and intended to show this film at the conference, which would be attended by many social-conservative activists. They raised objections to the film.
“How was that not some form of sexual harassment?” a former FreedomWorks official asks, noting that two female interns had been requested to act out a pretend sex scene. “And there were going to be thousands of Christian conservatives at this thing. This was a terrible lack of judgment.”
Brandon, a former FreedomWorks official says, defended the film, insisting it was creative and funny. But eventually a decision was made not to show the video at FreePAC.
Creative and funny? I’m not sure about creative, but it’s funny in the way a stoner bet can be funny:
“Dude, we should do that bit from The Shining, but have a chick in a panda suit box-lunching a chick wearing a Hillary Clinton mask.”
—Dude, that’ll never fly.
“Dude! It’d be hilarious!”
“Oh, come on, dude.”
—Okay, dude. If you really think it’ll work.
“Betcha twenty bucks, dude.”
—A’ight, dude, you’re on.
Even I can’t get that high. In the end, like the vast majority of schlock humor, what is funny about the idea is that someone actually put the time and effort into doing it. It’s like a South Park joke gone awry; in the end, the absurdity is what makes us laugh.
The Tea Party movement is the sort of place where all manner of strangeness occurs. Like going to a rally and finding one guy denouncing President Obama as Hitler while another denounces Democrats as Jewsα. While the unnamed FreedomWorks official has a point about “a terrible lack of judgment”, it seems that much of the Tea Party movement suffers, generally, from a terrible lack of judgment.
That is to say, yeah, we knew these people were nuts long before the astroturf leadership decided to make a lesbian furry propaganda film.
α Setting aside the question about why Judaism is inherently badβ, do I really need to explain the contradiction, or can you figure it out for yourselves?
β Allow me, please, to clarify, because someone will eventually ask: No, I don’t get why some people think “Judaism = Evil”. Or, rather, I suppose I do because the trope is common enough, but stopping to consider that particular stupidity distracts from the inherent paradox of Obama as Hitler and Democrats as Jews. Ja dig?
Corn, David. “FreedomWorks Made Video of Fake Giant Panda Having Sex With Fake Hillary Clinton”. Mother Jones. 14 February 2016.
Sanders, Eli. “Is That a Yarmulke on Sen. Patty Murray? And Did That Guy Really Just Say That About Hitler? Yes, Yes, and More from Yesterday’s Tea Party Rally in Yakima.”. Slog. 11 April 2016.