Jason Spencer, the Georgia lawmaker who yelled the n-word (repeatedly) and showed his ass (literally) on Sacha Baron Cohen's Who Is America? resigned Tuesday amid pressure from both colleagues and constituents.
If you haven't watched Spencer's appearance on Who Is America?, you are in for a real treat (trigger warning for racial slurs, bare butts, sausage abuse, and abject humiliation of a fellow human being):
You can now pick your jaw up off the floor and try to begin the long process of wiping that image from your mind.
It's not, generally speaking, easy for many of us to watch someone embarrass themselves so thoroughly, but Jason Spencer kind of deserves it. A Tea Partier representing Georgia's 180th district, Spencer was perhaps best known (before Baron Cohen came along) for sponsoring a bill that would have amended a 1951 law meant to unmask members of the KKK in order to ban Muslim women from wearing religious garments like burqas or niqābs while driving or in drivers license photos. After backlash, Spencer withdrew the bill, but he later threatened a black female colleague (on Facebook, natch) who advocated for the removal of Confederate monuments on public property. Spencer was also a fierce opponent of Obamacare and introduced legislation seeking to block Medicaid expansion in Georgia. What a guy.
In May, Spencer was defeated in the Georgia primary by a 24-year-old politican newcomer, so he was due to step down from office in January anyway. But his resignation doesn't come without some cost: Had Spencer stayed through the end of his term, he would have been eligible for taxpayer-funded health insurace for the rest of his life. Losing that seems like a fitting end to a man who tried to keep healthcare from his own constituents, but still, Who Is America? can, at times, be painful to watch—and not just because it demonstrates how stupid and/or evil and/or corrupt Americans really are, because the show doesn't just take on people in power. In the first episode, for instance, Baron Cohen convinced a gallery owner to contribute her own pubes to his art project (an art project in which the medium was human shit) and posed as an NPR-listening progressive to convince some South Carolina conservatives that liberals have sex with dolphins and require their sons to pee sitting down. And that's where the show fails, at least for me. I don't see the benefit of targeting people without power or of sowing further divisions between the left and the right. Liberals don't actually have sex with dolphins! (Well, most of us don't.) Why the hell would you lead conservatives to believe that we do?
The case of Jason Spencer, however, is Sacha Baron Cohen at his best. Sure, the guy was going to leave office anyway, but now Georgia citizens don't have to pay for his proctology exams for the rest of his life. Sacha, if you're reading this (and I'm sure you are): Stick to people in power (oh dear god, I hope he has an episode on Trump forthcoming), and leave the rest of us idiots alone.