In the seminal comedy film Smokey and The Bandit, there is a scene, early on, in which a pair of oddly-dressed hustlers attempt to goad the titular character into a bet. They find it a frustrating prospect, however, as Bandit continues to deflect their tricky language at every turn.
At one point, one of the illicit business partners declares Bandit a coward in an attempt to use reverse psychology on him. This is when the hero calls him out directly, noting the trickery and suggesting that, next time, he may as well just say something bad about his mother.
It’s classic cinema, but, as we know, art imitates life.
This can be experienced on MSNBC this week, as anchor Nichole Wallace suggests those with questions about the 2020 election are suffering from an emasculation issue.
Reporter Jacob Soboroff said, “Governor Newsom saying that the Republicans are trying to dismantle democracy and that he will accept the results of the election win or lose, full stop, a very different message than we heard from Larry Elder yesterday.”
And here is where things get purposefully, and shallowly, offensive.
Wallace said, “You’re right. I worked for Dan Lungren, who was behind who never questioned the election results. I came up in politics in California working for Republicans who faced long odds, and not a single one of them ever debased the state’s voters. They never debased democracy itself. They were not sore losers. They were real men.”
She added, “I wonder, Jason Johnson if you can speak to the lack of masculinity in these male Republican candidates who can’t take a punch politically. They can’t win on the merits. They’re too weak and unpopular, so they cry foul, they cry rigged. It goes counter to all the over bogus machismo coming out of the sickest, most toxic elements of the political right.”
The blatant attempt at offense was transparent enough, however, to prevent many Americans from taking Wallace seriously.