If you heard jokes this morning about House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) releasing a video of himself with a toy monkey, it’s worth noting that those jokes were true.
In one of the more unexpected things to come out of Boehner’s office in a long while, the Speaker’s official blog posted an item of a toy monkey that’s apparently become something of an unofficial mascot.
It all started in the fall of 2011, when Speaker Boehner joked in an interview that some days he felt like a windup toy because his jam-packed scheduled kept him so busy. So, as a light-hearted token of appreciation (and a less-than-subtle reminder to not use that metaphor again), Speaker Boehner’s staff brought the monkey to the U.S. Capitol.The Speaker got the joke, and as seen in the video above, the monkey has been eavesdropping and photobombing from the comfort and convenience of his home on the Speaker’s coffee table ever since.
In the video, the Speaker says to the camera, “My staff gave it to me…. Every 15 to 30 minutes, they come in and wind me up and I do my thing.”
The video also shows Boehner telling some children in his office, pointing to the monkey that mindlessly bangs cymbals together over and over again, “That’s what I do all day.” In a voice-over, the Speaker adds, apparently in reference to the toy, “This is me.”
For what it’s worth, I’m not inclined to criticize lighthearted videos like these. Everyone has their diversions – Speaker Boehner has a toy monkey in his office; I have Monty Python figures in mine – so there’s no judgment here.
But watching the video, a couple of things occurred to me.
First, if the White House ever released a comparable video, I imagine there’d be an avalanche of columns from Beltway pundits about how disengaged President Obama is, to the point that he sees his duties as little more than mindlessly banging cymbals for no reason.
Second, hearing Boehner say “this is me” in reference to the toy reminded me of a scene from a movie called “Grosse Pointe Blank.” There’s a scene in which Martin Blank (played by John Cusack) is talking to his therapist, Dr. Oatman (played by Alan Arkin), about a dream he had in which he was the wind-up Energizer Bunny from the commercials.
“Martin, it’s a terrible dream,” Arkin’s character says. “It’s a depressing dream to dream about that rabbit. It’s got no brain; it’s got no blood; it’s got no anima. It just keeps banging on those meaningless cymbals, and going and going.”
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Speaker Boehner, monkeying around