The Slatest

John Kerry Is Apparently Not Embarrassed by Meeting Hollywood Execs About Combating ISIS

First, I’d like to say to John Kerry: If this Tweet is satire, you win, good sir. Please stop reading. Everyone. Assuming it’s not, it’s amazing how far you’ve gotten as a political figure in a country full of Americans without the benefit of being able to decipher tone. You are the politician who, in 2006, thought this was a good idea, right? (via the New York Times)

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts could not attend the Senate debate on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. on Thursday. He was in Davos, Switzerland, mingling with international business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum. But late Thursday afternoon, Mr. Kerry began calling fellow Democratic senators in a quixotic, last-minute effort for a filibuster to stop the nomination.

The words Switzerland and quixotic are way too close to the name Kerry in that article, sir. And there’s this bit of campaign recreating two months out from the Nov. 2004 presidential election. You again, no?

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry windsurfs on the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts during a break of his campaign on Aug. 30, 2004.  

Photo by HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images

Windsurfing? It’s a miracle you carried Nantucket, Mr. Secretary.

It would be tempting to blame the whole Kerry affair with American history on the aughts, as a reactionary fad grown out of the muck of a collective Democratic party nervous breakdown post-Clinton, post-hanging chads, and post-9/11, but here he is still typing away on his little Blackberry, sending out not just Tweets, but important statements and communiqués. It’s a good thing a male Secretary of State can wear a navy suit to work everyday, that only leaves John Kerry the small opening that is the neck tie to mismatch the whole thing.

Perhaps I’m being harsh here. Back to the Tweet. Why? Why. Maybe you thought it was a DM? You, the Secretary of State, are talking to Hollywood movie executives—from Warner Bros., DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Co., 20th Century Fox, NBCUniversal, and Sony Pictures Entertainment—about how to combat the terrorist narrative that poses the greatest current threat to national and global security. Asking the creators of Spiderman and Batman for help to beat ISIS? Does that feel like a good look for the U.S.? To the cynic, that seems like something you might want to play a bit closer to the vest. Have you seen Argo II, sir? Exactly.

I mean, we get it, ISIS is good at social media storytelling (and beyond) and it’s a problem, but asking Taylor Swift for pointers on how to build an Instagram following doesn’t seem like the best way to brainstorm. Don’t take that to the president. (If you have spoken to Taylor Swift, just email it to yourself.) Speaking of which, does Obama know about this? That, thankfully, you’ve got DreamWorks on board as part of the national security working group. Was the problem that Hollywood was making too many pro-ISIS movies?

“These are the people, I think, widely recognized, who are some of the best communicators out there, and they run a highly profitable industry that is expert at conveying messages to a worldwide audience,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner. “[Secretary Kerry] sought their perspectives and input about how the United States and the rest of the coalition, the anti-Daesh coalition, can better counter the propaganda that is being put forward by ISIL.”

It sounds only slightly better when put that way.