How does one get a point across in a world where words are increasingly meaningless? Samantha Bee decided on Full Frontal that a mixture of experimental film symbolism and performance art might be the only remaining way.
On Wednesday night, the show’s normally colorful aesthetic was swapped out for black-and-white, and instead of Bee the audience was greeted by three people we assume have degrees from Sarah Lawrence outfitted in black turtle necks.
After a garble of words, one speaks out, “Join us in the semantic vortex where.” “A place where language is fractured and unmoored from meaning,” chimes in another. “Where words mean their opposite.” After more garbling, Bee herself pops up on screen, apparently via some sort of sci-fi transportation system. Note that for this episode the show had be renamed Fü7Z ㅋπ?[bass claff]~Ł (or at least that’s the closest way we could figure out how to type it).
Bee’s point here is of course a riff on President Donald Trump‘s often pained relationship with the English language, and his surrogate’s tendency to make up new words and phrases on the fly.
“He had the best words and he took them and hid them,” says Bee. “The first one to go…”
“Lies,” chimes in her drama student greek chorus.
“We looked everywhere but could not find the lost word,” says Bee before cutting to a montage of various Trump administration members, surrogates, and cable news figures spouting off things like “deliberate misstatement,” “misstatements of a factual nature,” and, of course, “alternative facts.”
“While our president’s struggles with monolingualism may have seemed excusable if completely mortifying, his team’s willful perversion of words and their meaning is not,” exclaims Bee.
The nearly eight-minute video goes into a pointed explanation of how words have become increasingly meaningless in the wake of Donald Trump and cable news shows that live for drama more than they do facts. There’s also some choice Handmaid’s Tale and Gossip Girl references.
The most amazing part? There’s not a single “covfefe” joke involved, because words may not matter, but Bee knows jokes about that word are done.
Of course, might this also be a lesson to anyone who held their nose up at those who decided to study things like avant grade theater, German expressionist film, abstract art or performance studies in college instead of more “useful” subjects like science, law or even a basic English degree.
In a world where things like basic scientific consensus, centuries of legal tradition and the basic meanings of words no longer seem to matter, perhaps avant grade and artistic methods may be the only way to truly communicate now.
Related: (Samantha Bee Talks Donald Trump and Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner)[https://www.wmagazine.com/story/samantha-bee-full-frontal-donald-trump-not-the-white-house-correspondents-dinner]
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