Dirty Dancing with Greg Gianforte

Dirty Dancing and Greg Gianforte: the time of our lives.

Dirty Dancing and Greg Gianforte: the time of our lives.

Life is interesting.

Earlier tonight, ABC aired a made-for-TV Dirty Dancing remake that I had the great misfortune of watching for, oh, 10 minutes. As means of comparison, back in 1998, Russ Bengtson and I were somewhat addicted to Chips 99, the made-for-TV movie based upon the 1970s hit TV show. It was so bad it was good in its utter badness, and we were glued to the screen like gnats to a moldy pear. The new Dirty Dancing viewing experience was eerily similar, and I wondered whether the general viewing population would feel as I did.

Oh, yes.

Twitter was brutal. #DirtyDancing trended for hours, and 99 of 100 offerings were like this …

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I must say, all of this reaffirmed my faith in humanity, which had been shaken after the election of the orange puddle. Maybe, just maybe, we’re not complete and total across-the-board morons. Maybe, just maybe, we have some sense.

But here’s the bigger test: Around the same time Dirty Dancing was melting eyeballs and souls, a Montana Republican named Greg Gianforte was making news (and trending) for assaulting a Guardian reporter who had the audacity to ask a legitimate question about the CBO report. Here’s the audio …

Gianforte and his opponent, Democrat Rob Quist (who Yahoo identifies as “a populist progressive cowboy poet known for his career as a bluegrass singer”), are locked in a tight race, with the Republican leading by a projected six-point margin entering Thursday’s vote to fill the U.S. House seat vacated in March by now-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

So here’s my question: How do Montanans respond to physical assault?

Do they follow the November trend, which saw many praising the orange puddle for his verbal assaults and physical threats against the media? Do they love the smell of blood and the flexing of muscle? Are they OK with Gianforte’s post-melee statement, when he clearly lied about what transpired and pinned the altercation directly on the reporter? In short, is this what (and who) we have become? Is this what we accept?

Or, like the reaction to Dirty Dancing, do we have a line we refuse to cross?

Do we resist our worst impulses?

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