Car crash politics



Will Mapplebeck fishes for the best politico-TV on the box. It can make for disturbing viewing.
The other night I watched Get Me Roger Stone on Netflix – possibly the most depressing political documentary on US politics in a genre not known for its portrayals of the nicer side of the human spirit. Frightening and hilarious by turns, it portrays Stone as an almost mythical chancer, a body building, alt-right Forrest Gump with the power to influence and create agendas who made millions lobbying and influencing politicians. And, even more disturbingly, he looks a bit like an Armanisuited Jimmy Savile.

Roger, of course, revels in the attention, particularly the idea that he is the controlling voice at the court of the Trump White House. Although I’ll leave you to make your mind up on that one. What really stands out from Get Me Roger Stone is the polarisation of US politics and how people like Stone will literally do and say almost anything to undermine a candidate or advance a cause.

Look at Stone’s Twitter account and you’ll find a timeline full of conspiracies and strange tales. There’s someone on there claiming to be Bill Clinton’s illegitimate son and a chance to buy a genuine ‘Lock Her Up’ Tee Shirt. But don’t worry. If you can’t stomach Roger, there’s plenty of other docs on US politics on Netflix – and other places – to keep you going.

If it’s car crash, gut-wrenchingly awful, television you’re after, try Weiner (YouTube), a fly on the wall account of Anthony Weiner’s attempt to become New York Mayor in 2013 against a backdrop of ‘sexting’ allegations. Weiner is as much a portrait of an abusive relationship than a study of a doomed campaign. It’s compulsive and uncomfortable viewing.

Netflix also has Mitt, a magnificent inside account of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. The access is remarkable and he comes out of it well. And, btw, the Storyville on Ronald Reagan is also worth seeing on YouTube.

Finally if you, like me, believe everything is political, then set aside the eight hours it’ll take to watch OJ: Made in America. Starting with the Watts Riots before and ending with the former quarterback’s 2007 incarceration, this is really an epic story of race and identity. A long watch. Definitely worth it.