Ethan Coen is the Coen Brother not married to Frances McDormand. I’ll completely understand if you get Ethan and Joel Coen confused though, because I do too. Joel is the taller brother and he’s married to Frances. Ethan Coen is the shorter brother in these photos. Previously, if you had asked me if the Coen Brothers were particularly woke, I would have said “probably not.” I’m basing that off of their terrible joint interview earlier this year where they whitesplained/mansplained diversity in Hollywood. So, now, I would not have thought that the either Coen would have been particularly vocal about the politics involved in this year’s presidential election. As it turns out though, Ethan Coen has some thoughts. Ethan wrote a “thank you” essay, in the vein of Jimmy Fallon’s on-going “thank you” bit, to all of the people who made Donald Trump’s victory possible. Here it is, in its entirety.
Such a surprise! So many people to thank!
1. Jill Stein voters: You helped elect a man who pledges that he will, in his first hundred days, cancel contributions to United Nations programs to fight climate change. If your vote for Ms. Stein did not end up advancing your green agenda, it did allow you to feel morally superior to all the compromising schmoes who voted for Hillary Clinton. And your feelings about your vote are more important than the consequences of your vote. So — thank you!
2. Gary Johnson voters: Thank you, for similar reasons. You, too, may now reward yourselves with feelings of warm self-approval, and your libertarian agenda will now be advanced (or not) by someone who admires the governance of Vladimir Putin. And to Mr. Johnson himself: Not only can no one blame you for this outcome — we’re all free agents, man! — but you can stop looking for Aleppo.
3. James Comey: Your publicity coup may have affected the outcome of the election. Or it may not have. But it will certainly breed speculation that it did. Such discussion will in some way serve the reputation of the F.B.I. Or not. You had to bravely contravene bureau protocols to make your contribution, so to you we owe a special thanks!
4. Anthony Weiner: You also found a surprising way to contribute! Thank you, sir — your act never gets old!
5. Jimmy Fallon: How did you manage to shine a nonthreatening light on someone who alarms so many women, frightens so many undocumented families and slurs so many minorities? Can’t have been easy! Thanks! Maybe now you could have the Grand Wizard on your show: He leans his head to you, you slip his hood off and ruffle his hair. Could be a cute bit!
6. All our media friends. Thank you for preserving reportorial balance. You balanced Donald Trump’s proposal that the military execute the innocent families of terrorists, against Hillary’s emails. You balanced pot-stirring racist lies about President Obama’s birth, against Hillary’s emails. You balanced a religious test at our borders, torture by our military, jokes about assassination, unfounded claims of a rigged election, boasts about groping and paradoxical threats to sue anyone who confirmed the boasts, against Hillary’s emails. You balanced endorsement of nuclear proliferation, against Hillary’s emails. You balanced tirelessly, indefatigably; you balanced, you balanced, and then you balanced some more. And for that — we thank you. And thank you all for following Les Moonves’s principled lead when he said Donald Trump “may not be good for America, but he’s damn good for CBS.”
7. The Electoral College. Thank you, for being you.
I cannot thank: Hillary Clinton. She is not a morally perfect person — her fault! She was not the perfect candidate — her fault! Misogyny may have magnified her failings so as to show them balancing the outsized failings of her opponent — and that might not be her fault. But she fought to the very limits of her ability to deny us Tuesday night’s surprise, so I do not thank her. Pooh on you, Hillary Clinton!
I do thank, lastly:
8. The American electorate. Because in the end, we all did it together. We did it! We really did it!
While I agree with everything he said here, more or less, I do think there’s room to nitpick. For one, Jimmy Fallon should not be placed so prominently on this list. Yes, I thought Fallon’s “interview” with Trump was appalling and ridiculous, but Fallon was just one part of a journalist/media/comedy complex that worked furiously to normalize Trump’s rampant fascism. I also have to nitpick with the idea that the American electorate as a whole is flawed. As Samantha Bee so brilliantly said in her post-election monologue, “Don’t try to distance yourselves from the ‘bad apples’ and say, ‘it’s not my fault, I didn’t vote for him! #NotAllWhitePeople.’ If Muslims have to take responsibility for every member of their community, so do we.” Word.