The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Anonymously mass-mailed proposal for a blockbuster new book:

Dear [fill in name of editor],

As you devour the explosive details of this book manuscript, you’ll understand why I need to withhold my identity at this time.

I currently work at the highest level of government in Washington. My official job description is “press secretary,” though my real duties are much more sensitive.

My boss (let’s call him “Thump”) is an impulsive, vain, petty megalomaniac, but I accepted this job believing I could make him appear thoughtful, caring, and poised.

What the hell was I smoking? Every day there’s a new train wreck, and I’m the one lying bloody on the tracks.

In only three weeks, I’ve compiled enough shocking “insider” material for a surefire bestseller. It’s possible I won’t be employed here much longer, so I’ve been hurriedly working on this memoir in my spare time.

The first chapter kicks off with my job interview, an unforgettable morning. I was summoned to midtown Manhattan and escorted to a bright atrium, where a crew of painters perched on scaffolds was applying industrial bronzer to my future boss.

“Spicer!” he bellowed. No, wait, scratch that.

“Dicer!” he bellowed. “The position of press secretary requires one essential skill: Can you lie and keep a straight face?”

“Excuse me, sir?”

“You’ll be my front man with the scum-dog media. Some of the things I’ll order you to say will be so outlandishly false and silly that you’ll want to burst out laughing. I need somebody who can keep a straight face, no matter what.”

“I can do that, sir!”

And thus began my grim descent.

On my first day at work, “Thump” spoke at a large public event. The aerial photographs showed several hundred thousand people there — a very respectable turnout — but the boss told me to report the crowd as a whopping 1.5 million.

Which I did, loyally, without cracking a smile.

He also instructed me to bash the media for questioning the crowd size, so I bashed those suckers big-time. Seriously, I was IN THEIR FACES! It’s all laid out in Chapter Two.

Every day was a new battle, and I thought I was doing fine. Every night, standing in front of the bathroom mirror, I’d practice my disdainful stare and scolding tone. For pointers I even studied old tapes of Ron Ziegler, Richard Nixon’s press secretary, scoffing at the Watergate break-in.

What I didn’t know, until later, was that my boss — who watches like 23 hours of TV a day — was replaying each press conference, rating my performance.

The feedback was crushing. He said I wasn’t tough enough, slick enough, or dapper enough. I write about this, sadly, in Chapter Seven.

Then a certain Saturday-night comedy program featured a sketch about me totally losing my s–t at a press conference. I’d thought it was pretty funny, until Thump hauled me into his office.

“The actor who played you was really a chick!” he hollered.

“What? No way!”

He put on the video and we watched it nine times. He was right — a movie actress named Melissa had been made up to look like me.

No fan of parody, Thump was furious. He said being impersonated by a woman made me look weak, and that made him look weak for hiring me.

I innocently asked if he didn’t have more important stuff to worry about, such as Iran’s missile tests or his daughter’s troubled line of designer handbags. He responded by throwing a golf ball at my head, a scene I chillingly recreate in Chapter Eleven.

Last week was the worst. In defending Thump’s views on Muslim immigrants, I was told to mention the terrorist attacks in Boston, San Bernardino, and Atlanta.

Except it turns out that the only bomber to go after Atlanta was a Florida-born redneck who targeted the 1996 Olympics — definitely not a jihadist.

Yet, somehow I named Atlanta in three different interviews. So, when the blowback began, I got the brilliant idea to say I was actually referring to the city of Orlando.

Except it turns out the Pulse nightclub shooter isn’t an immigrant, either. He was born in New York. The media sure drilled me a new one after that, as you’ll see in Chapter Thirteen.

Still I’m hanging in there, faithfully saying whatever whacky made-up stuff the boss wants me to say, regardless of facts. I might not have a job by the time you read this book proposal, but at least I’ll go out with a straight face.

Can we work that into the title?

IMAGE: White House spokesman Sean Spicer holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

From left, Ethan Crumbley and his parents James and Jennifer Crumbley

(Reuters) -The parents of a Michigan teenager accused of murdering four fellow high school students were taken into custody on Saturday, a day after each was charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the campus mass shooting.

Authorities began searching for James and Jennifer Crumbley after Oakland County prosecutors announced the charges on Friday, saying the Crumbleys bought the gun for their son as a Christmas present and then ignored warning signs that may have presaged such a massacre.

Keep reading... Show less

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

If it seems like it was just yesterday that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene labeled the President of the United States and in fact every Democrat in the country “communists,” it was, which is why it might seem strangely hypocritical that the Republican from Georgia is labeling herself the “most attacked” freshman member of Congress in all of U.S. history.

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}