All morning on Sunday the press and celebrities and political operatives and social media clingers fretted and insisted and cajoled and freaked out and scolded anyone who dared question the official story from the Clinton campaign that her collapse, caught on citizen camera thanks to media incuriosity, was due to being overheated. We were told about how hot and humid it was, how heavy her clothes were. How easy it is to succumb to it, how unusually out of place weather like this was. We were even warned that this was a sign of bigger, global warm-y things that were more important than the small-minded concern that maybe falling into the arms of aides and being physically lifted and placed into a vehicle isn’t a super great sign of healthy healthiness.
If you shared, or even had, doubts or questions you were a monster. A hater of women, you, because no one would question a man collapsing that way. (None did, for the record.) Or perhaps you’re misogynist because heat uniquely affects women and you fail to acknowledge that. It depended on which Twitter timeline you subjected yourself to. You were a conspirator, a disrespecter of 9/11, as bad as a birther or a truther.
Only the story was false, even according to her campaign. She didn’t experience this supposed totally normal, happens-to-women-all-the-time incident of “nothing to worry about” simple overheating. No, it turns out that she instead was, in fact, ill. She was diagnosed with pneumonia, they say. The even offered a doctor’s note. Her health, you see, was poor.
Now here comes the amazing part.
The same people, the same angry quit talking about her health people who lectured for hours about how obvious and sense-making it was that she collapsed from heat, the exact same people jumped on the pneumonia news and bragged about it like it was their victory. As if it validated their point. See? We told you she wasn’t dying of some secret disease, she just has a severe case of walking pneumonia that caused her to collapse. Indeed, not only that, but as was repeated robotically by every Clinton machine out there, she was a “bad ass” for soldiering on under such conditions.
Get that? Her illness proves how super healthy she is. And also, somehow, made them right to claim it was overheating.
This isn’t even spin. Spin is an insufficient word. It’s a sharknado of revisionism. When I floated the idea of bringing back the phrase “thought police” the other day, I had no idea how soon we’d see a total “1984” rewrite of this magnitude. The giant face has appeared on the screen and told us that we have always been at war with pneumonia.
We note often that 2016 is a crappy year in politics with two ridiculous candidates fighting for the win and three other candidates fighting to make a point. But I’ll give it this: it has taken the very worst and stupidest things in our politics and made them so much more awful and preposterous that they are now entirely visible and exposed. We’ve turned on the lights and the roaches didn’t flee, but donned top hats and tails and put on a huge dance number.
What a year.