Well, it looks like what we’ve long suspected is true – the President’s sympathies lay with the Bloods. What else is a responsible journalist to conclude after Donald Trump took time from the ostensibly busy job of running the country to respond to an appearance by Snoop Dogg in a music video?
The song is a remix of BADBADNOTGOOD’s song “Lavender, ” and while the lyrical content has drawn no ire, the video prompted backlash from the President and other prominent Republicans. Their point of contention: a moment in the footage where Snoop levels a toy gun at President “Ronald Klump” and pulls the trigger, followed by a “BANG” flag erupting from the barrel.
Apparently, this crossed a line.
The President responded via Tweet, “Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!” He was not alone in his condemnation; Senator Marco Rubio told TMZ, “Snoop shouldn’t have done that, we’ve had presidents assassinated before in this country, so anything like that is something people should be really careful about.” He added that if the “wrong person sees that and gets the wrong idea, you could have a real problem.”
Could this be more idiotic if all parties involved were trying to make it so?
Have either Trump or Rubio even watched the video? I seriously doubt it. If they had, they might have noticed that it deals with a bureaucracy and police force of clowns, lead by head clown ‘Ronald Klump’ who wants to ‘deport all doggs,' thus persecuting Snoop and his crew. When Snoop deals with this persecution by firing the gun (which, I must reiterate, shot a flag, not a bullet) the orange-faced clown President does not die, he is shown in the next frame wrapped in chains while a reformed ‘Clown’ and Snoop pass a joint back and forth without including him. The whole video ends with a cartoon of a dog gunning down clowns, later revealed to be an advertisement for “Snoop Loops.”This is satire, Mr. President and Mr. Senator. If you saw this and thought it was serious, I question your relationship to reality. Although I hate defaulting to dictionary definitions, one seems appropriate here.
Satire: n.: the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. (via Oxford)
When things are satirical, Misters Trump and Rubio, they are not the sorts of things that people see and get the wrong idea. Satire’s purpose is to expose a greater stupidity in the view of the artist, in this case the President’s persecution of minorities. Agree or disagree with Snoop’s assessment, that’s fine – just don’t call it serious.
Are we clear on this? The first Amendment grants every American the freedom to ridicule people in the highest office whenever and however they so choose unless they make direct and serious threats on the life of the President. According to the United States Code, Title 18, Section 871, the following constitutes a serious threat to the President,
Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
See the part there about the willful threat to take the life of the President? That usually means that the accused has to make a clear and definitive statement of their intention to kill the President, or at least it had done in all prior convictions under this section. In particular the landmark Watts v. United States ruling, which established the need for clear and present danger to constitute a credible threat against the President. Though it doesn’t cover what happens if you metaphorically kill a clown representing the President in a music video, I think it is safe to assume that does not constitute a clear and present danger.
Another thing about the Trump tweet that irks me is the notion that if it has been an Obama clown in the video, then Snoop would be in jail. In 2010, a Pennsylvania-based amusement company came under fire for producing a game which allowed participants to shoot an air rifle at then-President Obama’s face. While it was argued that the game was in bad taste, it was perfectly legal under the constitution. I very much doubt the Doggfather would suffer a different fate.
And must the President always throw in the little parenthetical, that most childish addition to all tweets where he says the person criticizing him is failing? Last year Snoop personally earned $12.5 million, had an estimated net-worth of over $130 million, starred in a hit TV show with Martha Stewart, organized a music festival, launched a successful line of marijuana products, produced two web series and funded a children’s soccer league. If the President is going to criticize him in a tweet, he could at least make fun of how high or how old he is – something, anything relevant - do we need to hire the Don Rickles to do this for him?
Which brings me to what is probably the saddest statement in all of this. The President is taking time out from running the country to respond to a grown man named Snoop who is primarily famous for dirty rhymes and getting higher than most humans can handle. Is there no bottom, no depth to which Trump will not stoop to get in the last pathetic word?
I guess when he starts tweeting at me for writing stuff like this we can hope we’re approaching it.