May 24, 2019

Veep Takes On "Thoughts and Prayers"

““Ma’am, there’s been a mass shooting,” Richard, her chief of staff, tells her, reading from his phone as his fellow staffers look on. “At a mall in Phoenix. Twenty-seven people have been killed.”

Meyer and her team look at one another, mumbling ohs and oh my Gods and exchanging uncomfortable glances. And then the former president’s face distorts, Grinch-like, from a grimace into a slow, stretching grin. “This can … work for us?” she ventures, as her team members, ashamed of themselves but not as much as they should be, agree.

It’s a scene—it came near the end of Sunday’s premiere of the show’s seventh and final season, on HBO—that suggests a newly low nadir for Meyer and her staff. These are objectively terrible people; they have been from the show’s beginning. But this was a mass shooting, an event that is, as horrifically common as it might have become, a profound tragedy. And here is a collection of powerful people, using that tragedy for their own gain—assuming it, indeed, to be a miracle sent on their behalf. (“Praise the rational equivalent of Jesus, what Bonhoeffer would call the ‘spirit of beloved community,’” Kent, the campaign’s pollster, says of the shooting. Meyer herself is blunter: “Halle-fucking-lujah!” she exclaims as she reacts to the mass murder.)”

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