The Art of the Spit Take is Needed Now More Than Ever

bgI admit it. I’m jealous of my daughter. She’s only six years old and she has already mastered a talent that I’ve never been able to acquire.

I’m talking about something I used to practice from time to time, well into my teenage years before finally accepting that some people’s bodies just aren’t designed to be able to do certain things.

No, I’m not talking about that fart noise that kids sometimes make with their armpits, although I was never able to do that either. I’m not talking about the ability to roll one’s tongue, cross one’s eyes, or place one’s fingers in their mouth to let out a loud, piercing whistle.

I’m talking about the classic Hollywood spit take. You know, that reaction you see in the movies when a character is drinking a beverage, when an unexpected, outlandish comment or event takes them by surprise and causes them to spray their drink out of their mouth.

I’ve always wanted to be able to do that. And it’s particularly bothersome to me these days that I can’t, because I so often feel the impulsive urge to perform that very stunt when I’m watching the nightly news.

This week in particular has been a bit rough.

Of course, we started off with a man who has a nearly unprecedented knack for setting himself up for high-profile disgrace and humiliation: Anthony Weiner. But Weiner’s an easy target, so I won’t waste the time.

Let’s move on to another example: Fox News contributor, Sally Kohn.

The other day when I was watching Special Report, Kohn made her debut on the all-star panel, and boy did she make a memorable first impression. The topic of discussion was the national deficit, and when it was Kohn’s turn to speak, she came up with this gem:

“The president has shown himself to be, whether I agree with it or not, an aggressive spending cutter.”

The statement was so incredibly perverse that I was half expecting the always eloquent and even-tempered Charles Krauthammer (who was seated next to her) to drop an f-bomb and storm off the set in response. I certainly wouldn’t have blamed him.

An aggressive spending cutter? Was this some form of left-wing humor that is above my head? You know, I’ve always rejected the notion that liberalism is a mental disorder, but I suddenly found myself wondering if I might have been wrong all this time.

Our president has presided over trillion dollar deficits every year he’s been in office. He contributed more to our nation’s debt in his first three years in office than his predecessor did in eight years. He’s contributed more to our nation’s debt than our country’s first 42 presidents combined. By the time he leaves office, it’s believed that our national debt will stand at around a mind-numbing $20 trillion. All miniscule spending cuts (and they are miniscule) that have taken place under the president’s watch were the ones forced upon him by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives – cuts that President Obama strongly vilified them for.

Moments later, Kohn delivered another zinger, suggesting that the bankruptcy of Detroit wasn’t caused by decades of a Democratic-controlled city living far beyond its financial means. Nope. According to Kohn, the problems were all brought on by excessive austerity measures, and that the philosophy of the Republican party was somehow to blame.

Even for a cable news industry overflowing with shameless partisans, this was a bit much to take.

Another example of a spit-worthy soundbite this week was the report that  former professional wrestler and Minnesota governor, Jesse Ventura, is moving forward on a lawsuit against the wife of deceased military hero, Chris Kyle, for defamation of character.

The lawsuit was initially filed against Chris Kyle himself, but because the highly decorated Navy SEAL was unfortunately killed earlier this year, a federal magistrate recently decided that the widow, Taya Kyle, would be replaced as the defendant. Why? Because she is the executor of her husband’s estate.

The basis for the lawsuit is Ventura’s insistence that an alleged 2006 encounter, that Chris Kyle wrote about in his book American Sniper, never happened. Kyle claimed that he punched Ventura to the floor of a bar after Ventura made several derogatory comments about the Iraq War, the U.S. government, and the role of the U.S. military. Ventura claims that Kyle defamed him.

Now, it’s easy to pass judgement on someone who would sue a grieving widow for something her husband said… And I’ll do just that: Ventura’s a jerk.

But a serious, broader question has to be asked: Is it even possible to defame Jesse Ventura’s character? The notion seems completely absurd to me.

I mean, we’re talking about an outspoken proponent of the Truther movement, who routinely pushes the narrative that 9/11 was an “inside job” that was carried about by the U.S. government. We’re talking about a man who rejects the notion that the World Trade Center collapsed as result of being struck by two passenger jets, and instead suggests that explosives were planted inside the buildings. We’re talking about a man who insists that we invaded Afghanistan not to dismantle Al Qaeda, but to take over the country’s heroine industry.

We’re also talking about a man who, after first being confronted with Kyle’s account of the bar room incident, suggested that maybe someone (the implication being the government) had orchestrated a scenario in which a “body double” of Ventura had been placed at the bar, and that’s who Kyle had actually punched.

No… I’m not joking.

From a Dead Sleep - by John A. Daly

So when you add some context to the story, and take into account the way Ventura chooses to regularly present himself, what exactly is the reputation he’s concerned with protecting?

To me, this would be like Michael Vick suing a journalist for reporting that he doesn’t like cats. In the realm of personal history,Vick would obviously have far deeper public perception concerns.

I personally believe that Kyle was telling the truth, and it sounds as if he had the eye-witness accounts to back him up. But even if I’m wrong, how does such an action warrant holding Kyle’s widow (who’s now raising their children alone) monetarily accountable? And what does that say about Jesse Ventura’s character?

It’s hard for me to get a handle on this stuff, but maybe if I can convince my daughter to teach me how to perfect the spit take, I’ll have a better mechanism for dealing with these things in the future.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration (Computer Information Systems), and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. He is the author of the Sean Coleman Thriller series, which is available through all major retailers. John lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
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  • West Virginia Matt

    If only Krauthammer had done a spit-take at Sally Kohn’s ridiculous comment, that YouTube video would’ve gone viral. (I’d pay to see that.)
    Keep it coming, John. Daly-maniacs unite!

    • John Daly

      Ah, that would be a classic for sure! lol.

      Careful with that Daly-maniacs talk. You’ll give ‘Bloviating Ignoramus’ a stroke! 😉

    • Bloviating Ignoramus

      Hey Cult Followers! Now is the time for all you little Dalymaniacs to unite in hatred, misery, and stupidity behind your Fearless Fascist Leader! Right On! Right On! Fascism Forever!

      • John Daly

        lol. Such a sad fellow you are.

        • Bloviating Ignoramus

          Not talking to you so shut the fuck up.

          • John Daly

            lol. Nope. Just ABOUT me. Grab some kleenex, Tammy Faye.

          • Bloviating Ignoramus

            You started it Handsome Johnny. Now you grab your ankles and take it like a man.

  • Bob Olden

    John , I’m glad you have given us a useful new standard by which to evaluate what comes out of the mouths of ignoramuses. I presume that a 10 on the “Spit-Take Scale” would be appropriate for describing the most outrageous denials of reality.

    • John Daly

      Thanks Bob. We’ll just have to make sure and keep ourselves hydrated. It isn’t easy with this administration. 😉

  • John Daly

    That’s a darn good topic. Nicely done! But I wouldn’t focus on media persecution as much as the media failing to make people like Weiner or Spitzer representative of their political party, like they were overly eager to do with Akin and Mourdock

    • John Daly

      lol. Seriously man. Find someone to hug you. Really. These temper-tantrums and funny to read and all, but I really worry about the long-term effects they’re having on you. There’s way too much anger running through that little mind of yours.

  • therealguyfaux

    John, I appreciate what you’re saying and I don’t disagree, but please, if you’re going to write about Charles Krauthammer “storming” off the set, please indicate that you mean it metaphorically. Some consideration for some basic facts must be employed. I’m not the sort that is overly sensitive to every little thing, but you leave yourself open to charges of lack of thought as to what you are writing when you refer to a man in a motorised wheelchair as “storming” anywhere. Obviously CK could become very angry, express himself, and leave the set, but it would obviously be a bit of a spectacle you would wish would not be shown on TV, for the reason that it would involve his having to dodge cameras, cables, etc. in a fairly slow and deliberate fashion, becoming an almost unintentionally funny episode to be shown on Jon Stewart’s show.

    Please have some consideration before you would say something like that again– and what I’m saying is not any sort of bless-the-poor-little-cripple patronizing PC, either, and you know it. Just don’t call up visual images you don’t need to, is what I’m saying.

    • John Daly

      Seriously? Listen, there’s no deeper admirer of Charles Krauthammer than me. The guy’s one of my heroes, and I would certainly never write anything derogatory about him being confined to a wheelchair.

      By storming, I was obviously referring to ‘angrily leaving’, not rolling into cameras and cables, as part of some distasteful comedy routine. Quite frankly, I’m kind of stunned that such imagery would even come to your (or anyone else’s) mind based on what I wrote. I’m a political commentator, not Mel Brooks.

      Anyone who writes opinion columns is prone to people twisting their words into something they didn’t actually say. I could obsess over this and work diligently to leave absolutely nothing I write open to misinterpretation, but quite frankly it would be a fruitless effort.

      I appreciate your concern, but I’m comfortable with what I wrote, and if anyone else happens to take my wording wrong (which I doubt) what I’ve written here should clear things up for them.

      • therealguyfaux

        Stanley Kubrick has unfortunately imprinted himself upon my mind, as far as angry men in wheelchairs go, and I find it somewhat hard to “unring the bell.”

        That said, I do understand that you obviously meant that CK would leave in a state of indignation, and that you weren’t even attempting to come near a comic image. It would be a different story for some idiots out there if you had said something similar about Franklin Roosevelt, though– you’d never hear the end of it, I’m sure. That’s what I was trying to get across– some remarks can serve as distractions from a valid point and they are completely avoidable.

        And although I know CK only from what I see of him on TV, I reckon he probably would not take great offense at the visual image and might even derive a laugh from it. He does not appear to be the most humorless boring droner on TV and he probably tells those sorts of jokes on himself.

        • John Daly

          Krauthammer’s certainly a class act. A couple of years ago, Time Magazine’s Joe Kline actually inferred that Krauthammer’s disability kept him from seeing the world with from valid perspective.

          Here’s the quote: “There’s something tragic about him too. His work would have a lot more nuance if he were able to see the situations he’s writing about.”

          When Krauthammer was asked for comment, he merely replied with something like, “My work speaks for itself.”

          I’m looking forward to CK’s book coming out in October. I’ve been waiting for him to put out one for a long time.

  • Wil

    Here’s something to spit about:

    What the GOP is Doing in North Carolina

    [They] are ramming through with basically no debate [a bill that] would [put] an end to same-day voter registration which over 100,000 people used in the state in last November’s election … get rid of state support for voter registration drives … ban local election officials from extending polling times for an hour if, for example, there’s really long lines still waiting outside … lop off a full week of early voting … get rid of a program in high schools that reaches out to students who are nearing the age of voting to show them how to be model citizens. … We can’t have students registering to vote! We can’t have that! … It all goes away under the bill senate Republicans advanced

    • John Daly

      So… Any comments on my column?

      • John Daly

        Ah, come on man. Just because you keep getting creamed here doesn’t mean you have to resort to the angry kid routine. I’m sure someone will give you a hug if you ask nicely.

  • Bloviating Ignoramus

    In the words of vicarious thrill killer Dick Cheney, who you recently sang an aria in praise of, “Deficits Don’t Matter”. And what is Obama spending money on? Not holy wars that enrich Sticky Dick and his Halliburton partners. But universal health care, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, food stamps, earned income tax credits, to help those who have been devastated by the recession. Many of whom no doubt are your little Daly-maniacs who are united with you in hatred of Obama and all things liberal. Regardless, this is the way it is going to be, and whether they like it or not, your Koch Bros benefactors are going to cough up the money to pay for it. And if they do not like it, they can cut down on some of their other useless expenditures, such as funding right wing websites and paying the salaries of hacks like you. Now turning to Jesse The Nobody, he is, always has been, always will be, a con man. So why do you hate him when you have so much in common? Maybe because he is so much better at it than you are?

    • John Daly

      You don’t even try anymore, do you? lol. Still adorable, though.

      • Bloviating Ignoramus

        I’ll take your non-response to mean you agree with all of the above

        • John Daly

          I’m sure you will, kiddo.

          • John Daly

            All in good time. I know you’re waiting on pins and needles.

    • Brian Fr Langley

      What is it about liberals that make them think, if a majority votes to take your possessions away, it’s not theft??? You need to get this straight, America is NOT a democracy, it’s a democratic Republic. It’s Governed by laws NOT Kings. (and certainly not majorities) The same rule of law that protects the rights of visible minorities, also protects the rights of other people the majority might not like. (like rich people) If the rule of law succumbs to the majority, the only rules will be mob rules. Please, let’s not try so hard to live up to your chosen handle.

      • Brian Fr Langley

        Ok so you think a billion is too much? But I’d bet you have more than a liberal or two who think a million is too much, or how about a thousand. Who are you to decide I need to surrender money or goods I’ve EARNED. Here is a simple proposition for you. First Stalin started seizing property from the Kulaks, (rich farmers) BUT by the time he was done you were a Kulak and enemy of the state if you possessed as much as an acre and a couple of cows. These nasty possessors of private property were then systematically starved off their land with tens of millions perishing. Why do think socialist societies have collapsed all over the world? Without the incentives of private property folks simply won’t give it their all. As for social contracts that assist the less fortunate? What a laugh. Liberals vigorously oppose any and every type of means testing. Meaning many of the benificiaries of so called social programs are folks who don’t need them. As for those who do, these programs simply turn into traps of dependancy. Charity is a remarkable human tendancy. The American ethic was always to take care of each other. Now we keep our money in our pockets and scream for the government to do our charity for us. (by confiscating it from someone else)

        • Brian Fr Langley

          You “non compes mentes” liberals really kill me? No welfare queens? Seems when Scott Walker of Wisconsin, passed right to work, unions got all so upset because without coercion, too many of their members would become “free riders”. So are you saying only union members would cheat the system? Believe me comrade when I tell you, if unionists will take a free ride, so will anybody else. Social programs are riddled with fraud, and as long as the fraudsters vote liberal (Democrat) Liberals (like you) couldn’t care less.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            The point about free riders is only that the left won’t trust their members to pay their dues unless coerced, then suggest there really is no concern about folks cheating welfare?? As for means testing it’s well documented that progressives tend NOT to support it. (the poor need their dignity) If you do even a little research you’ll find this to be true. BUT for the irony of ironies. The Koch’s and their ilk, have done fabulous under Obama. The poor are now poorer, the middle class are now poorer, but the stock market and it’s traders are now richer than they’ve ever been? Under Obama more money has flowed to the top 1% than we’ve ever seen in the history of planet earth? I guess the ticket to poverty in America, is vote for Democrats, while the ticket to fabulous wealth, is to donate to Democrats?

          • Brian Fr Langley

            So you’re not really for making the filthy rich pay their share, just the Koch’s? And making a fortune donating to Democrats is OK by you? And Liberal policies that lead to poverty, they’re just fine? (as long as they vote for liberal causes) As for means testing if you personally are in favor of it, thank you, (that’s good enough for me). PS: I suspect you’d find that more Koch dollars than you could possibly imagine actually do makes it way to the Democrats. No proof, I admit, but news reports keep indicating that billionaires are noted for playing both sides of the aisle. Just saying….. ????

          • Bloviating Ignoramus

            Why do I get all the weirdos?

          • Brian Fr Langley

            Perhaps the common denominator is not the “weirdo’s” but rather yourself and your vacuous arguments?

          • Bloviating Ignoramus

            Yeah that is one possibility. The other possibility is that you are a bunch of weirdos

          • Brian Fr Langley

            Come, come, comrade, I’ll I’ve done is point out, that despite 5 years of leftie liberal Obama policies, the richest are richer, while the poorest are poorer? While it’s a tragedy, it’s not weird, it’s simply the truth.

          • John Daly

            Oh, you poor fellow. lol.

            Blov, you don’t ‘get’ anyone.

            You come here of your own accord to ramble angrily and incoherently as if you’re parodying a James Bond villain (don’t get me wrong – it’s amusing), about topics that have nothing to do with the columns… And then you get all fussy when someone is charitable enough to take on your nonsense?

            You clearly come here looking for attention. I would think you would feel thankful that there are people who occasionally give you that attention.

          • Bloviating Ignoramus

            You didn’t write about Obama’s spending? And Ventura? You are the one looking for attention because I was not even talking to you. James Bond villain? You watch too many movies bro.

          • John Daly

            Lordie lordie lordie. Scroll up, read your own posts, and tell me how many any of them had anything to do with this column.

            I rest my case.

          • Bloviating Ignoramus

            You rest your feeble brain first, then you scroll up and see that no one was talking to you. Thanks for nothing bro. I couldn’t care less if you respond or not. You don’t have to do me any favors. I told you before, I’m not the sheepish submissive kind of liberal that you think a liberal should be. Just out of curiosity (and that is all it is because I couldn’t care less) are there any liberals that post here that you have any respect for?

  • Darren Perkins

    My own spittake moment was when I first heard Obama calling Benghazi, the IRS, and the DOJ situations phony scandals. The only thing phony are the leaders perpetrating the wrongs.

    • John Daly

      As someone pointed out the other day, just a month or two ago Obama was saying that the IRS scandal was a very serious issue that he was going to ‘get to the bottom of’. Now, it’s “phony” apparently. Unbelievable.

      • Wheels55

        Obama was also going to get to the bottom of the Benghazi scandal.
        The only thing Obama gets to the bottom of is the hole on golf course greens.

        • John Daly

          If only a reporter had bothered to ask him which scandals he considers ‘phony.’ Too much to ask?

  • Wheels55

    Fox does not need Kohn on that panel – they have Juan Williams.

    I read both of Kyle’s books. They are great books, if you like the subject matter. Not once did I get the impression that Kyle was embellishing to make the books better reads. Ventura is a huge Azzzzzz!

    • John Daly

      Yeah, Kyle always struck me as a straight-shooter (no pun intended). Much more credible than Ventura, and it sounds as though a lot of people in the community knew of the incident for years before Kyle ever remarked on it in his book.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    I too caught Kohn’s empty headed regurgitated patter. It would be funny, were it not for the fact, that most media outlets are also regurgitating the same empty headed patter. Propoganda by definition, needs not to be true, just loud and often repeated.

    • cmacrider

      Brian Fr. After overcoming my indignation with Brett B for inviting a congenital idiot like Kohn on to his show, I was waiting for Charles K. to dust off his doctorate in psychiatry and summarily certify her. Unfortunately, as you suggest, she gets to continue her baseless propaganda without ever having to touch base with the facts.