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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Tom DeLay on ‘Dancing With the Stars’: WTF?

I feel like I’m living in a fucking Terry Gilliam movie or something. Former Texas congressman Tom DeLay — whom Houston IndyMedia called, in 2003, a “warmonger, liar, scam artist, religious and racial bigot, socipathic bully, corporate whore….and the most powerful man on Capitol Hill,” and offered a long list of his crimes to back up that characterization — will be appearing on Dancing With the Stars next month. Hoorah!

The tenor of most of the news articles I glanced at seems to be “good for him,” “isn’t that wonderful,” and “here’s his chance for a comeback.” At worst, any criticism of the choice of DeLay — who is currently under indictment for money laundering — revolves around wondering if DeLay will be entertaining enough. There’s no suggestion at all that there might be other reasons he’s a poor choice for a light television diversion.
The whole first page of ABC’s coverage of the story is shit like this:

“I love dancing & you’ve got to love dancing if you’re from Texas,” DeLay told Chris Cuomo on “Good Morning America.” “Conservatives can have fun too. Conservatives can let their hair down& and put on some dancing shoes.”

“This is going to be so fun and so crazy,” said DeLay, later adding, “I’m in it to win it.”‘

On the second page of ABC’s coverage, it’s revealed that DeLay previously used his position as a congressman to ask his constituents to vote for a particular contestant on the show!

DeLay previously acknowledged his love for “Dancing With the Stars” when he sent out an e-mail asking people to vote for country singer Sara Evans, a previous contestant on the third season and a supporter of the Republican party. Evans, said DeLay, “represents good American values in the media.”

“We have always been able to count on Sara for her support of the things we all believe in. Let’s show Sara that same support by watching and voting for her each week to help her win this competition,” DeLay wrote in the e-mail.

In the ranking of the evil that DeLay has done, this is pretty low on the list, but still…

ABC, which is also the network home of Dancing With the Stars, buries the lede in the middle of the second page:

After being elected to 10 consecutive terms in the House of Representatives, DeLay left Congress in 2006 after a Texas Grand Jury indicted him on money laundering charges related to corporate campaign contributions.

DeLay’s case has been slowed down by procedural delays and has never gone to trial.

And the only criticism of DeLay ABC could manage to find was a bit of snark:

“It would be interesting to see if Mr. DeLay can do the Perp Walk, does he know that step,” Andrew Wheat, research director of Texans for Public Justice, told ABC News’ Brian Ross.

It’s all just “politics,” anyway:

“My political opponents have had their day,” DeLay said on “GMA,” addressing the indictment. “They don’t want to go to trial because they know they abused the grand jury system.”

“I’m moving on,” he added. “I’m not going to let modern-day politics hold me back.”

See, you can’t keep a lying, warmongering, bigoted, sociopathic, bullying, corporate whore down! That’s how The Man sticks it to The Man!

Eventually, on the third page of its story, ABC offers us the logline for The Tom DeLay Story, the heartwarming tale of a misunderstood rich white man who shows the world just who he really is, coming this Fall to ABC:

And DeLay said he planned to use his skills honed in Washington to his advantage.

“Some people said I was the best whip that ever served,” he said. “I’d be a fool not to use that skill in this. I’m going to go after the American people, show them that I can dance.”

*sniff*

Does the phrase public disgrace hold no meaning anymore? Tom DeLay on Dancing With the Stars: WTF?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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  • MBI

    From most powerful man on Capitol Hill to reality show contestant? Sounds like a fitting punishment to me.

  • Jason

    I won’t be watching that show anymore. I am from Texas and Delay is a liar, thief and disgrace.

  • JoshB

    MaryAnn, do you realize that one of the banner ads on your site is for “Ann Coulter – Free”?

    As for DeLay, I say if he can mash potato and do the twist then good for him.

  • Althea

    I agree with what you say, MaryAnn. Public disgrace. Yeah, you’re right. It has no meaning. If George W. Bush has still got defenders, even admirers, after all he’s done, there’s nothing anybody could do in this country to shame himself. Even serial murders have apologists.

  • Phillip Fisher

    With Tom Delay on Dancing with the Stars-“That’s the end for me-no way will I watch this “Crook” perade around a Dance Floor”.

  • LaSargenta

    I feel like I’m living in a fucking Terry Gilliam movie or something.

    Maybe, but crossed with Cristi Puiu’s “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu”.

    How about for his next addition to his resume, he make a DeLay Gone Wild video?

  • Actually, this doesn’t surprise me. The show that spawned this originated in Australia and they had one of their highest rates years (2004) with a politician named Pauline Hanson a racist, hate-mongering, right-winger who dodged charges of fraud.

    Apparently she was also a good dancer.

  • Kathryn

    Actually, Dancing With the Stars is based on Strictly Come Dancing, made by the BBC. Though because it’s the BBC the original could never include anyone on the show who had been indicted for money laundering – the biggest scandals we get are when there’s issues with the judges’ decisions and the phone voting. Most recently when John Seargeant decided to leave after being voted back in every week by the public despite being the worst dancer on the series, and quite possibly the show, ever. Oh, and one of the older judges was sacked and a younger celebrity who has been on the show and has limited dancing experience is replacing her – big sexism/ageism hooha over that.

    I’m glad that the US imitation has now put those rows into perspective for me.

  • Althea

    I was also just reminded of reading on some TV website that Marion Jones, the newly-confessed drug-using track star, was being considered as well. Dear, dear, dear…

  • bats :[

    I think they’ve run out of “stars” (or wasn’t that three seasons ago?).

  • Lisa

    also in the English one it’s a bit of a joke that they fired the only woman on the judging team, the oldest female dancer and the guy who presents it can barely kept it together he’s so decreipt that’s why I can’t watch the show live anymore it’s cruel to the guy it really is.

  • DANCIN REPUBLICAN FOOL
    (Dancin Fool, Frank Zappa)
    WilliamBanzai7

    Sing along link: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x738f_frank-zappa-dancing-fool_extreme

    Don’t know much about ethics
    That’s why I’m dancin to this stupid song
    You know my brain is smaller than all others
    n both my feet’s too long
    course now right along with em
    I got no natural rhythm
    But I go dancin’ every night
    Hopin’ one day I might win a TV prize
    I’m a dancin’ Republican fool, I’m a
    Dancin’ Republican fool
    When I heard the ethical committee beat; I jumped outa my Congressional seat,
    Now I can’t compete, cause I’m a
    Dancin’ Republican fool, I’m a
    Dancin’ Republican fool

    The GOP folks all dressed up
    Like they’s fit to steal
    I walk on in n see ’em there
    Gonna give them lobbiest folks a campaign finance thrill
    When they see me comin’
    They all steps aside
    They has a fit while I commit
    My political suicide, I’m a
    Dancin Republican fool, I’m a
    Dancin Republican fool

    The Political beat goes on
    And I’m long gone
    The Political beat goes on
    And I’m long gone
    The beat goes on n I’m so gone
    The beat goes on n I’m so gone
    The beat goes on n I’m so gone
    I may be totally wrong, but I’m a
    Dancin’ Republican fool, I’m a
    Dancin’ Republican fool

  • Brian

    MaryAnn, do you realize that one of the banner ads on your site is for “Ann Coulter – Free”?

    At least the price is right.

    This story has me flashing back to Nixon’s appearance on Laugh-In. (Well, not really flashing back, since I wasn’t alive, then, but, y’know, I’ve seen it.) Of course, that was years before Watergate. I don’t think he did a whole lot of prime time TV after his resignation. Crook or no, the man did have some sense of dignity.

  • MaryAnn

    MaryAnn, do you realize that one of the banner ads on your site is for “Ann Coulter – Free”?

    I’ve never seen that ad pop up on my end, but I don’t mind. If her people want to throw some money my way, fine.

  • Nathan

    I’ve been boycotting Dancing With The Stars all this time just in case something like this happened.

  • joe

    Brian:

    “I don’t think he did a whole lot of prime time TV after his resignation.”

    .

    …except, you know, the Frost interviews. You might remember there was a movie about them? But that was different, it was at least pretending to be news programming.

    What’s weird is that the courts are even letting him do this, given that Rod Blagojavich wasn’t allowed to do a reality show.

  • Brian

    …except, you know, the Frost interviews. You might remember there was a movie about them? But that was different, it was at least pretending to be news programming.

    Touche. My mind was on “entertainment” programming . . . I don’t think even “Tricky Dick” would have been caught dead doing a literal soft-shoe on national television, though.

  • Kate

    They picked him over Jeremy Roenick???

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