Politics has fully permeated pop culture at this point, inspiring takes and riffs in everything from late night and Saturday Night Live to drawing the ire of a Modern Family writer. We’ve resigned ourselves to the idea that despite the fact that it’s ostensibly feeding the beast, even our wing of the media cannot ignore the fiberglass-haired elephant in the Oval Office.
And so it was that we found ourselves in a very air-conditioned ballroom in Los Angeles, talking about the history of comics, horror, and science fiction with Robert Kirkman and Eli Roth as part of the TCA summer press tour. (James Cameron weighed in via satellite, because he has four sequels to film.) Roth, who will helm a six-part sub-series as part of AMC’s Visionaries docu-series, discussed how horror has “always reflected what’s going on in the times,” whether it was the “post-Vietnam films of Wes Craven,” or an exploration of racial tensions in the late George Romero’s films.
The Hostel director was responding to a query about just how prevalent dystopian themes have become, and whether they’re informed by the bizarre spate of orders coming via the White House’s proper channels and the president’s Twitter feed. Roth effectively said that the shock and mockery are bipartisan, telling TCA members that “it doesn’t matter what side of the political fence you’re on. The characters we have in the White House are out of WWF wrestling in the ‘80s. You got guys saying things that would make Rowdy Roddy Piper in his heyday blush. This is actually happening. You start to see that. It always gets out there, first on Twitter, then to SNL; it just filters its way into television and movies.”
Although he didn’t refer to the White House communications director by name, it was clear Roth was referring to Anthony Scaramucci, who recently managed to neg Reince Preibus about his, uh, flexibility. It’s not hard to see where Roth is coming from—Scaramucci’s rants, in The New Yorker and elsewhere, are totally the stuff of wrestling heels. And he’s already got a halfway decent name for his alter ego.