Chelsea Handler is back, you guys. For those of you asking “Who is Chelsea Handler,” imagine Joan Rivers with half the wit but twice the talk shows. For those wondering “Where did Chelsea Handler go,” the answer, she recently tweeted, is some kind of snow-and-mediation sabbatical.
After a month of skiing and reflection, I was able to break from this toxic news cycle. I will still stay informed, and watch my favorite news shows @JoyAnnReid but I will no longer go to sleep or wake up with to the news. I want my life back.
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) January 23, 2018
After spending the last few months mocking Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ appearance, accusing Lindsay Graham of being a closeted homosexual (links withheld for decency’s sake), blaming Republicans for the church shooting in Texas, and blaming Donald Trump for the California wildfires, it’s easy to see why Handler needed a break. It’s an exhausting thing, being the self-appointed court jester of #TheResistance, even if 95 percent of late night talk show hosts have been sharing the work load.
It’s also commendable that Handler has decided to reduce her daily level of toxic media intake. (Granted, maintaining a steady diet of Joy Reid journalism in pursuit of that goal is a bit like a rehab graduate seeking to maintain his sobriety in Pablo Escobar’s basement, but to each his own.) All of us should aspire to a life less dominated by anger over lost elections and their consequences. However, if Resisters like Handler want to learn how to cope with the Trump presidency, there are more beneficial activities to undertake than to spend a month perfecting black diamonds and yodel therapy.
Here are three better ways for Resisters to spend their thirty days of personal growth.
1. Get a regular job at a place filled with normal human persons
At its core, #TheResistance is performance art, which explains why it’s so hard for Resisters to control their emotions. How can you show that you’re even more committed to the cause than Keith Olbermann, draped in an American flag and sporting that classic “I’m deeply concerned and/or constipated” face? By posing with a severed Trump head and then painting yourself as a victim of his tyranny when facing the fallout. How do you show that you’re just as outraged as Eminem after he compares President Trump to Hitler? You ask Alexa how to spell “Goebbels” and compare the rest of right-leaning America to the other Nazi you’ve heard of.
So Resisters, if you want to find both a healthier way to deal with your Trump rage and a more effective means of converting Trump supporters, you ought to spend at least a month learning to communicate from average Americans who aren’t impressed with froth-mouthed hyperbole.
Load trucks alongside people who don’t particularly care what narcissistic blather the president has tweeted this morning as long as it doesn’t stop them from taking their kids to Disney World over the summer. Sell insurance with folks who don’t spend that much time outraged at the world because they’ve surrounded themselves with people who’d rather be happy. Grade papers with high school teachers who want to preserve harmonious relationships with their students and co-workers of different political persuasions because they actually like them. Over the course of a month, you just might learn that the best way to get beyond your political disappointment is to devote yourself to things you love instead of things you hate.
Likewise, if you still want to convert people to your cause, the work place, rather than the ski lift, will teach you how to convince them. Spend time with actual human persons and you’ll learn that, if you want them to cry out for Trump’s impeachment, they’ll need a better rationale than “he makes it uncomfortable for me to visit my place in the French Riviera.” Work alongside average Americans and you’ll discover that they might show up to vote Trump out of office if you explain why his policies are harmful, but they won’t pay you much attention if you tearfully recount for them the time your seven-year-old woke you up at 3 A.M. and asked, “Mommy, is President Trump going to eradicate a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and usher in the Handmaid’s Tale?”
2. Read another book
Speaking of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and thanks to Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s classic (garbage) novel, Resistance members have spent much of Trump’s presidency clothing themselves and their speech in the book’s imagery as a way of declaring that we’re now living in an oppressive, misogynistic theocracy — as evidenced both by the president’s presumed tendency to grope women and the vice-president’s stubborn refusal to do so.
And while Resisters may enjoy the Handmaid motifs, employing them is not a terribly effective strategy for winning converts for two reasons. First, because it’s a bit tough to square “we’re living under the oppressive thumb of The Commander” with “whenever I get tired of calling The Commander a homosexual Nazi on the internet, the Commander lets me kick back at a chalet in the Swiss Alps for twice as much vacation time as you’ll ever get.” And second, because a huge percentage of the country has never read “the Handmaid’s Tale.”
Quite simply, Resisters, if you want to win people over, you’ll need to speak the language of a common book, and there’s no better book for trans-generational unification than the Bible, in particular the book of Genesis. For example, in Genesis 34, a Hivite prince named Shechem rapes Dinah, the daughter of Jacob. Afterwards, he sends his father to get her hand in marriage from her brothers Simeon and Levi, who grin maliciously and say, “Sure thing, the only condition is that all y’all have to be circumcised like we are.”
Shechem, a moron, doesn’t think that something might be up when the brothers of the girl he just defiled ask that he and all his men undergo a procedure that will render them unable to, say, fend off a sword attack. And a few days later, Simeon and Levi arrive in his city and slaughter all the men still in pain from being de-foreskinned.
A dim-witted sex offender who gets everybody killed because of his ego-driven foreign policy gaffes — there’s your Trump, Resisters! Granted, if you want to convince average voters that it’s worth removing Trump from office via military coup, you’ll probably have to do more than speak of Trump as a modern day Shechem about to get us nuked by North Korea. But if you spend your media-detox month learning how to demonize Trump with Biblical characters, at least middle Americans will get the reference this time.
3. Urge KFC to bring back that sandwich where they used fried chicken instead of bread
We all mocked KFC when it debuted the Double Down in 2010, but I bet you Resisters wish you could numb your pain by devouring Redneck Satan’s version of a club sandwich right about now. Face it, folks. Trump is going to be in office for at least three more years, possibly seven. So you might as well spend your month off lobbying KFC to let you find political nirvana in a “sandwich” boasting 37 grams of fat and 125% of your recommended daily sodium intake.
President Trump just said that we should colonize Greenland? Eat a Double Down and feel the fury evaporate. Don Jr. retweeted a meme created by a guy whose uncle is a white supremacist? Let the chicken fat massage the stress right out of your arteries. At the vice president’s urging, Trump just declared February 17 “National Puppy Snuggles Day?” Just Double Down yourself into a grease coma where you won’t immediately make a donation in Mike Pence’s name to your local dog-fighting ring because the delicious bite of edible heart disease stopped you from reflexively taking the opposite position as the administration on every conceivable issue.
I hope Chelsea Handler accomplishes her goal of reducing her political anxiety. But if her fellow Resistance members want to do likewise, lounging at the nearest ski resort isn’t the way. To find true peace in Trump’s America, they’ll be much better off spending their time doing honest work, reading the Bible, and of course, dazedly eating fried-chicken-bacon-sauce-cheese-fried-chicken sandwiches until President Oprah is sworn in.