This article originally appeared on VICE UK
Welcome to The Worst Take of the Week – a weekly column in which NEO, AKA @MULLET_FAN NEO, crowns the wildest hot take of the week.
Story: Ellen DeGeneres hangs out with pal George W. Bush at an American football game.
Reasonable take: Bit weird to see a gay woman joshing around with an infamous anti-gay war criminal.
Brain rot: My friendship with Bush will fix America.
When images of Ellen DeGeneres palling around with George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game circulated online, many people questioned why one of America's foremost openly gay celebrities was taking playful selfie videos and chumming it up with the former Republican president.
DeGeneres attempted to own the discourse and retorted to the scrutiny by recording a four-minute monologue justifying her friendship with the former president, captioning the video: "Yes, that was me at the Cowboys game with George W. Bush over the weekend. Here’s the whole story."
During the soliloquy Ellen described how, during the game, broadcasters showed a clip of "Me and George laughing together. People were upset," she said. "They thought: Why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president? Didn’t notice I was holding the brand new iPhone 11. But a lot of people were mad. And they did what people do when they're mad – they tweet."
DeGeneres then shared with her audience a screenshot of one singular tweet she "loved" amid the reaction that read: "Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in America again." (notably, the tweet selected by Ellen had the "HAHAHA" at the beginning of the sentence photoshopped out).
The studio audience gave the message a huge round of applause and cheer, which Ellen promptly joined in with, giving herself a self-congratulatory clap before exclaiming “Exactly!” and telling her audience: "I'm friends with George Bush. In fact, I'm friends with a lot of people who don't share the same beliefs that I have. We're all different, and I think that we've forgotten that that's OK that we're all different. Just because I don't agree with someone on everything doesn't mean that I'm not going to be friends with them." DeGeneres then urged everyone to be "kind to one another", before thanking "President Bush and Laura for a Sunday afternoon that was so fun. By the way, you owe me $6 for the nachos."
Personally, while I’m a bit sceptical of the liberal argument that being amicable to your piece of shit right-wing neighbour is going to somehow fix the world, there cannot be any doubt the dynamic changes slightly when number 17 across the road turns out to be Joseph Kony desperately avoiding a trial at The Hague.
This sordid reasoning from DeGeneres is fancifully portraying the scenario like a clash of culture, like George W. Bush just has differing lifestyle choices, like he’s on the fucking paleo diet or something. The theory of "it’s OK to have different politics" would work better if Bush was just a man of self-mumbling rants as he read the morning newspaper over a coffee and took no actions, but this is a two-term president who's acted directly again, and again, in jingoistic foreign policy that’s destroyed the lives of untold amounts of human beings.
Even if people like Ellen somehow claim ignorance to his vile actions overseas, he was hardly shit hot on home turf either. He pushed for constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriages, presided over one of the worst financial disasters in history, and when Hurricane Katrina hit he was already 27 days into a holiday on his Texas ranch but inexplicably decided to stay on the jolly for a couple more days, prompting Kanye West to say on a live relief telethon that: "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
Bush even bizarrely described his ass getting got by Kanye as "the worst moment" of his presidency. The sheer neck on this cunt for thinking that was his lowest ebb.
What can be said with certainty is that DeGeneres’ argument in defence of her friendship with Bush is as illogical as it is repellent. Not only does it miss the point of the backlash entirely, it acts as if some of Bush's standard conservative beliefs are the main issue – not the litany of detestable unpunished actions and crimes, like his slaughtering of hundred of thousands of brown people, the torture, his gross mishandling of natural disasters and his attempts to hinder the rights of LGBT+ people.
We live in a world where war criminals are afforded more chances for rehabilitation than some poor cunts who have gone to prison for selling weed brownies. The class solidarity between the rich and famous is astonishingly strong, so of course they encourage everyone at the bottom "to all get along regardless of politics", because conventionally, when no one is challenging the bad, awful cunts' behaviour, it means the status quo never changes. Hurrah!
A roster of celebrities – Kendall Jenner, Jamie Foxx, Reese Witherspoon and former Irish footballer Robbie Keane among them – voiced their approval of Ellen’s friendship with Bush. Orlando Bloom even implored them to ignore the haters and "kill em with kindness", seemingly forgetting Bush’s preferred method was with Hellfire missiles.
Bush is the 43rd president in a long line of blood-soaked, genocidal maniacs, so I really shouldn’t be surprised to see the apparent exceptionalism of the current Trump administration being used as grounds to expunge the woes of Bush and others like him. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a decade’s time Trump walks out to shitty music on a popular liberal talk show, does a funny little dance, acts self-deprecating for ten minutes and is embraced once again with open arms.
All this revisionism makes me wonder if the liberals could have been nicer to Osama Bin Laden? I strangely didn’t see the same sort of energy for his reintegration into elite society. Sure, he had differing political opinions, but where was that cunt's exoneration?