Anyone remember the 1999 movie Crazy In Alabama?It was a crappy black comedy that tried desperately hard to be like a David Lynch film. It failed. It starred Melanie Griffith whose window as a movie star would slam shut after this turkey flopped. Dr A and I went to see it and we should have saved our money. I should have known better as it was directed by her then husband Antonio Banderas. At that point in time, his grasp of the English language was shaky at best. I’m sure that everyone though it was a good idea at the time but it wasn’t.
That long-winded introduction brings us to today’s post about the right wing Mississippi blogger, Clayton Kelly, who thought it would be a good idea to visit the wife of Senator Thad Cochran in her nursing home. Mrs. Cochran has been suffering from dementia for many years and this bozo somehow thought it would be a good idea to post a video of her. His motive was a dive into the deep end of the crazy pool: he thought it would damage her husband’s campaign. I’ve seen some theories as to why he believed this but none of them makes a lick of sense. The campaign of Cochran’s Tea Party challenger Confederate Chris McDaniel has been running away from Kelly and it’s unclear if they were involved but they might have been.
Here’s the deal: this was NEVER A GOOD IDEA, whoever thought of it has gotten Kelly and some, uh. confederates charged with criminal offenses. Josh Marshall has a theory and I’m inclined to agree with it:
Whether or not McDaniel had any role in this, his campaign has clearly been sending out a lot of opposition research in the last couple of weeks trying to portray Cochran as someone who doesn’t really live in Mississippi anymore and might be carrying on a relationship with a longtime member of his staff. No evidence at all has surfaced for the latter charge. But it was clearly the subtext of this story that appeared earlier this month at Breitbart.com.
So, as near as I can figure it, the effort to photograph or video Mrs. Cochran was part of building or putting an exclamation point after this narrative about Cochran, which very much was coming out of the McDaniel campaign. And that’s of an out of touch Senator who’s not only abandoned his home state but more cuttingly abandoned his wife.
Showing Cochran’s wife – who is undoubtedly in a pitiable and probably hard to see condition – was meant to drive home the emotional impact of this portrayal of Sen. Cochran.
Now, it’s hard to figure how anyone wouldn’t realize that invading the privacy and dignity of this woman wouldn’t backfire in an explosive way or that it constituted one or more serious felonies. But remember, we’re pretty deep in the Tea Party derp bubble here which involves what can only be called a proctological route to self-awareness which ends in confusion and can be irreversible. But if you’d really bought into this attack on Cochran and thought it would resonate with people you can see at least the bare outlines of how you could convince yourself that this visual would land the fatal blow to his credibility and campaign.
As I said, the whole thing was easier to understand if it was just the work of one kind of whacked guy who went off the deep end in his desire to help his candidate. The idea that multiple people were involved and someone didn’t say, “Hey, this is f’ing crazy. I think we need to rethink this” is a question that very much still needs to be answered.
For one thing, it shows the hazard of only talking to people who agree with you and are maybe even sane. That would obviously be a stretch in Tea Party/neo-Confederate country. All this malakatude has accomplished is to make Thad Cochran a more sympathetic person instead of a boring stuffed shirt. He’s the Senator from a neighboring state and I do not know much about him but now I feel bad about this invasion of his wife’s privacy.
I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when Kelly and his kronies came up with this crazy idea. It’s something that even James O’Keefe or G Gordon Liddy might have rejected as outlandish. All it’s done is to harm Chris McDaniel’s candidacy, which given his extremist views is a good thing.
Back to Crazy In Alabama, I have the feeling that the book the film is based on is pretty good and the idea wasn’t bad when it was pitched. It was the execution that led to its artistic demise. Check out the Wikipedia plot summary:
In 1965, Peter Joseph “Peejoe” Bullis lives in a small town in Alabama during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. He becomes involved with a group of black students protesting the town’s racially segregated municipal swimming pool, leading to a protest that explodes into deadly violence. A young black boy, Taylor Jackson, is killed by the town sheriff. Peejoe, the only witness, is pressured by the sheriff to keep it quiet. However, Peejoe has learned from the example of his free-spirited Aunt Lucille Vinson, who has killed her abusive husband and is headed for Hollywood, where she is convinced that television stardom awaits her.
Lucille takes her husband’s head everywhere she goes in a black hat box  and looks forward to Hollywood promises. When the head is discovered by the hostess of a party, Lucille tries to get rid of the head by throwing it off the Golden Gate Bridge. Two policemen, thinking she is about to jump over herself, open the hat box and discover the head inside. She is arrested and escorted back to Alabama for her trial, where she is given a warm welcome by her town.
After being convicted of first-degree murder, Lucille is sentenced to twenty years in prison. However, the sentence is suspended, and she is put on a five-year probation with the condition that she seek psychiatric help. Lucille, her children, and all her friends joyfully exit the courtroom while the sheriff (through Peejoe’s testimony) is put under arrest for Taylor’s murder.
Except for the bogus happy ending, one can see how this could have made a good movie whereas Clayton Kelly’s production was doomed from the get go. I eagerly await the next development, which is likely to be one of Kelly’s neo-Confederate confederates flipping on him. Charlie Pierce already has a candidate.
Finally, this exploration of Mississippi mudslinging has given me an earworm, so I’ll give the late Pete Seeger the last word: