First of all, it is not true — at least, I can find no evidence — that the Don kissed Chris ‘Fredo’ Cuomo on both cheeks and handed him a one-way ticket to a fishing jaunt on Lake Tahoe. I wish people would stop spreading these vicious rumors.
As I write, thousands of Chinese troops are massing on the border of Hong Kong, but this week the world is mesmerized by the spectacle of CNN anchor Fredo Cuomo screaming threats and obscenities at some hapless chap who called him ‘Fredo.’ What Donald Trump accurately described as Fredo Cuomo’s ‘lunatic ranting, raving, & cursing,’ did not, as far as I know, include the painful objection that ‘I can handle things. I’m smart. Not like everybody says — like dumb. I’m smart and I want respect!’
Fredo’s exchange did, however, include various colorful threats — mostly involving a staircase — a lesson in scatological imprecation, an almost David Mamet-like deployment of the ‘F-word’ and its cognates.
Speaking of words so awful that they must, in polite society (and even when discussing people who work for CNN, the network that helps to make waiting for airplanes so taxing) — speaking, I say, of Voldemort words that must not be named, Fredo screamed at his interlocutor that calling someone of Italian heritage ‘Fredo’ was an ethnic slur, akin to calling someone who is black the ‘N-word.’
Rush Limbaugh — who was apparently the first to call Cuomo ‘Fredo’— pointed out that it is simply ‘absurd’ to say that calling someone ‘Fredo’ is an ethnic slur. It has nothing to do with ethnicity. It is simply a common or garden variety insult, casting aspersions on the intelligence, competence, and stability of the person so denominated.
Remember the case of the boys from Covington High School? As Limbaugh also points out, Cuomo said the red-behatted student ‘should have walked away. Fredo said the kid should have not stood there in the Indian guy’s face and provoked the incident. He should have walked away. Did Fredo walk away last night? Fredo did not. And you know this is totally innocent? The guy that walked up to Fredo and asked him for a photo really thought his name was Fredo.’
So: here we have Fredo Cuomo, acting like someone in the ‘before’ shots of an anger management skit — acting, in short, like Fredo Corleone — and his CNN survival training takes over. When in doubt, start shouting about racism and watch your opponents wilt and wither.
The once-mighty airport network itself wheeled into action, tweeting that ‘Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him.’
Of course they do. This is CNN. Somewhat more surprising was the support that Fredo garnered among some (slightly Fredo-like) conservatives. Sean Hannity, for example, tweeted that ‘I say good for @ChrisCuomo Imho Chris Cuomo has zero to apologize for. He deserves the apology.’
I think that Donald Trump had the better take on this. Were a conservative to do what Cuomo did, he would be ‘destroyed by the Fake News,’ Trump noted. ‘But when a Liberal Democrat like Chris Cuomo does it, Republicans immediately come to his defense. We never learn!’
I am told that YouTube, which is owned by Google, one of America’s most evil companies, has been taking down the embarrassing clips of Fredo Cuomo acting like Valentinian I screaming at the Quadi, but you can still see them on various Twitter feeds.
It really is embarrassing, all the more so since Fredo lost it in front of his wife and nine-year-old daughter. CNN may ‘completely support’ their reliably anti-Trump loudmouth, but Fredo himself has had second thoughts. Perhaps these were prompted in part by the revelation that Cuomo had, not so long ago, referred to himself as ‘Fredo’ in the Cuomo Nostra family. But I suspect that confronted with the video evidence of his insanity he recoiled in shame. ‘I should,’ he tweeted, ‘be better than the guys baiting me. This happens all the time these days. Often in front of my family. But there is a lesson: no need to add to the ugliness; I should be better than what I oppose.’
A noble aspiration, Fredo. How’s that 12-step program working out for you?