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Sean Spicer at the Emmys no laughing matter

By Leonard Pitts Jr., Tribune Content Agency on

In a way, it makes sense that Spicer sought redemption in a room full of actors. An actor, after all, must dedicate himself to a fiction, make himself believe the lie in order that he might sell it to you.

But an actor is only trying to convince you he's a superhero or starship captain. Spicer was trying to convince America that the most prodigious liar in presidential history was some oracle of consistent truth. The press secretary was selling bovine excreta, knew he was selling bovine excreta, yet acted like you were the fool if you did not acknowledge it as gold.

And now he walks out onstage, does this comedic bit, and we're supposed to treat it all as some harmless, meta joke? That feels cynical and slimy. It feels bereft of principle. And it suggests we have crossed the line between laughing at a joke and being one.

I mean, who's laughing at whom here? Are we laughing with him about the fact that you can no longer trust a word the White House says -- or is he laughing at us for how little that apparently means? Maybe we're all the butt of this joke. Maybe truth is the butt of this joke.

I'm disappointed in the Television Academy. I'm also embarrassed that I laughed. Sean Spicer is one of the reasons we live in a nation filled with millions of angry, frightened, and deeply misinformed people. And yes, funny does, cover a multitude of sins.

That's not one of them.

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(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via e-mail at lpitts@miamiherald.com.)

 

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