Monday, October 04, 2021

TV: Can we Impeach WSWS?

For years now, we've condemned The Water Cooler Set, aka paid TV critics who run in a pack and aren't capable of independent judgment or motion.  They've destroyed TV time and again, these faceless, constantly replaced. and quickly forgotten.  The constantly replaced exception would be THE WASHINGTON POST's disgusting Tom Shales who survived so long -- too long -- mainly because most people were unfamiliar with his work.  If they had been, they would have called for his head long before he was finally laid off in 2010.  Any accurate dictionary would run a photo of him next to their definition of the term sexist.


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But as bad and destructive as The Water Cooler Set is, turns out there's worse, far worse.  Patrick Martin.  WSWS' writer often covers topics of merit -- even when WSWS is sinking under its own insanity, you can usually count on Patrick Martin to turn in something worthwhile.


Not anymore.


Ryan Murphy's FX anthology series AMERICAN CRIME STORY is now in its third season with this season being entitled IMPEACHMENT.  Right there, in that previous sentence, we've provided you with more facts and more accuracy than Patrick Martin managed in a 3,456 word 'review' of IMPEACHMENT.

In fact, in his entire review, Ryan Murphy's name never appears.  Ryan's the show runner, the executive producer, the director of two of the ten episodes in the season and the reason AMERICAN CRIME STORY exists to begin with.  But somehow Patrick Martin never manages to mention Ryan Murphy.


Sarah Burgess and Flora Birnbaum's names aren't mentioned by Patrick either but WSWS usually ignores women, after all.  Who are they?  Writers who wrote or co-wrote seven of the ten episodes.  Leave it to a writer like Patrick Martin to think the actual writers aren't worth mentioning.

Patrick does manage to clutch his testes long enough to mention one writer: I-jack-off-in-Zoom-meetings Jeffrey Toobin.  In fact, Patrick name checks Toobin four times.  Toobin wrote the book that is the framework for the series.  Source material.  Yeah, those in the industry know how many awards are given for source material.  Hint: As many as they deserve -- which would be zero.  Source material is material from another medium.  They give Emmy awards for adapting source material, they don't give Emmys for source material.  

He can't acknowledge -- let alone, address -- the direction or the writing of the series but he can cite Jeffrey Toobin repeatedly.  We guess that meets the 'standards' at WSWS.

As, we assume, does this:

Sarah Paulson was previously best known for her portrayal of prosecutor Marcia Clark in the first mini-series on American Crime Story, “The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” for which she won an Emmy as best actress in 2016.


They do have editors at WSWS, don't they?  She "was previously best known for"?  Who writes like that?  Who gets paid to write like that?  You say someone is best known for something, you don't say that they were previously best known for something.  And if you're going to say that they are best known for something, then it needs to be what they're best known for.


And reality, Sarah's not best known for -- or previously best known for -- the first season of AMERICAN CRIME STORY.  


Check the ratings, she's best known for Ryan Murphy's other series AMERICAN HORROR STORY.  She's now done nine seasons of that series.  And AMERICAN HORROR STORY?  More people watched the first episode of the third season of AMERICAN HORROR STORY than watched any episode of AMERICAN CRIME STORY's THE PEOPLE VS OJ SIMPSON season.  Add in that AMERICAN HORROR STORY is a streaming hit on many platforms where it continues to be watched and viewers are pretty much done with AMERICAN CRIME STORY after an episode airs and, no, Sarah Paulson is not best known for AMERICAN CRIME STORY.  (More people also watched the first episode broadcast of season four of AMERICAN HORROR STORY than watched any episode of AMERICAN CRIME STORY's THE PEOPLE VS OJ SIMPSON.  True  of the first episode of season five . . .  We could do this all day long.) 

He also 'evaluates' other performances -- even those he really hasn't seen:

As for Owen, his Clinton has an edge, the ruthlessness required to survive and excel in the brutal arena of capitalist politics. This is apparently true of his wife as well, although Edie Falco has not yet made much more than a cameo appearance in the series.

When you have to offer the qualifier that someone's acting "is apparently" something -- because you haven't yet seen it --  maybe you'd be smarter not to offer anything?  Just saying.

As for Clive Owen?  He's awful.  He's wrong for the part and he's awful in the role.

He doesn't sound like Bill Clinton and he never seems like Bill.  He comes across as an actor struggling to nail down a role but failing.  Repeatedly.  More troubling?  His frame.

Bill Clinton didn't have a nice body.  Nor was he thin during this period.  Is vanity stopping Clive Owen from delivering a performance?  The show has no problem showing Monica Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein) and Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson) as packing pounds.  And that's accurate and how it was in real time.  They may have slapped a fake nose on Clive but his body still comes off GQ ready and we're honestly wondering about his own narcissism and failure to commit to the role.

Patrick Martin can't be bothered with that, he's too immersed in the sexism of WSWS and, possibly, in his own sexism.  Which is why he's thrilled -- gleeful -- that a scene of Bill Clinton with his attorney has Bill saying he can't apologize to Paula Jones because Hillary will never let him.

Ah, yes.  Gleeful cackles from Patrick. 

When the laughter dies down, can Patrick explain to us what was so funny or, for that matter, accurate?  If Bill Clinton required permission from Hillary to do anything, it's doubtful he would have had as many affairs as he did.  Forgive two women for sprinkling reality on your sexist hilarity, Patrick.

IMPEACHMENT works in providing sympathy for both Linda Tripp and Monica Lewinsky.  Certainly more sympathy than the media ever gave either woman.  Linda's a frustrated worker who is out for blood because no one takes her seriously and because she has an inflated sense of self.  With Monica, it shows you who she was before she became the strong woman who stood up to Kenneth Starr.  

Did we really need IMPEACHMENT?

We honestly don't think so.  It covers a period of lying -- lying by Bill,  lying by the media.   And it's still about lying.

Doubt us?  Patrick actually types the following:

Contrary to moralizing critics at the time, like the disgusting Senator Joe Lieberman, and more recent #MeToo advocates, like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the mini-series treats Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky in a mature and apparently honest way. Lewinsky was infatuated with him. Clinton, presented as lonely and isolated, was moved by her enthusiasm, and a relationship began. It was, to be blunt, a relationship between two consenting adults. It is not portrayed as exploitative or based on Clinton’s power over Lewinsky as her employer -- here Lewinsky’s role as a co-producer and contributor to Impeachment adds weight.


It's not a consenting relationship.  It's a very powerful man, the most powerful man in the world, lying to a young woman.  It's amazing what Patrick Martin's revealing about himself in the paragraph we just quoted.  He only watched the first three episodes but in those episodes you see Bill lie to Monica repeatedly.  You see him hustle her out of the White House.  You see her believe the lie that he'll bring her back.  You see her wait and wait by the phone.  You see him use her over and over.  

Patrick deems that abusive relationship to be a "consenting" one.  We're really worried -- both about his mental health and about his own personal relationships.

His outlet being WSWS, facts never matter -- which is how we get this:

In probably her last public statement that was entirely truthful, Hillary Clinton denounced the “vast right-wing conspiracy” to force her husband out of office—Toobin took the title of his book from this comment, and he clearly agrees with it.

Her statement wasn't at all truthful.  She made it on THE TODAY SHOW.  She was referring to Monica Lewinsky.  She was stating that the rumor of an affair was all "a vast right-wing conspiracy."  We know that because we try to nail down the facts and we did so, going to the original transcript of that interview, when we wrote about why we believed Juanita Broaddrick's accusation of rape against Bill Clinton.  

That was a few years back and we could provide a link but then we'd be guilty of what we find most offensive about WSWS' 'review' of IMPEACHMENT.

It's got nothing to do with IMPEACHMENT.  It's got everything to do with them linking to a bunch of articles that they wrote years ago and trying to pretend like they did something that matters.

Did something that matters?  They can't even review accurately.  And if there was a reason to do IMPEACHMENT this season, it was to take a fresh look at those late 90s events.  That Patrick saw it as an excuse to link to 14 WSWS articles from 1998 says everything you need to know about WSWS.  In 21 years, per WSWS, nothing has happened to add meaning or context, nothing has changed, nothing has evolved.  Humanity is at a fixed point and never progresses, if you believe their argument.  What's really strange is that they give lip service to Socialism, they just never manage to actually practice it at WSWS.  Maybe Ryan Murphy could make that the subject of next year's AMERICAN CRIME STORY?

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