In Spike Jonze’s crazy and imaginative 1999 film, Being John Malkovich, people pay $200 to inhabit the mind of the award-winning actor for 15 minutes, sensing and experiencing whatever he does. The unique “ride” begins through an office portal and ends with the person being dumped on the New Jersey Turnpike.
As a public relations practitioner, I wonder what it’s like to be White House spokesman Sean Spicer as he defends the crazy and imaginative notions of his boss. In an article in Vanity Fair titled, “The Agony of Sean Spicer,” Jim Lo Scalzo wrote, “As a long-tenured creature of Washington…Spicer was a generally well-liked communications director at the Republican National Committee, with a quick wit and a sense of humor. One reporter who worked with Spicer described him to me as a ‘chill’ and ‘very reasonable guy.'” Lo Scalzo added, “During the bizarre, shocking, and occasionally Constitution-bending…Trump administration, few have appeared to suffer more, perhaps both publicly and privately, than Spicer himself.”
Last week’s accusations that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower before the election seemed incredibly challenging for Spicer. He and the president won’t let go of the notion, quoting less-than-reliable sources and creating realities that reasonable authorities don’t support. One wonders what goes through the mind of this reasonable guy while he’s behind the podium, defending alternative facts to the watching world.
“The press secretary’s job is to explain what the president is thinking and why he’s thinking it,” Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush’s press secretary, told CNN’s Dylan Byers. “Still, previous administrations have believed the most effective way to advance their agenda was by maintaining at least the veneer of an open and respectful relationship with the press corps. At the Trump White House, hostility toward the media is the agenda. This anti-media posture makes Spicer’s job all the more difficult…the militant propagandism he channels…feels like a performance for the audience-of-one watching him almost daily from the Oval Office.”
I’d pay $200 to be Sean Spicer for 15 minutes to experience how he feels as he twists and spins. Just don’t dump me on the New Jersey Turnpike when it’s over. Your thoughts?