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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

OPINION: Diva Down: A farewell to George Santos

opjoeysantos-illo

This past February, I wrote a column about George Santos, who had been recently elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time, I had compared him to George Costanza from Seinfeld, not because of his name but because of his uncanny ability to lie about every situation and, in an attempt to cover them up, dig his own grave deeper and deeper and deeper. 

I still think the comparison is apt and associate the two with each other in my head. However, unlike Seinfeld, Santos’ time in the spotlight didn’t last nine years — it lasted a mere 11 months. On Dec. 1, the House voted to expel Santos, marking an end to his tenure as, presumably, the only congressperson to have had a history as a drag queen in Brazil. This is his series finale — if you’ll remember, the Seinfeld crew were also punished in the end

But, I think it’s appropriate now to compare him to another figure, one from biblical mythology: the fallen angel. Like the angels of God who sinned, who thought themselves better than Him, Santos was expelled from Heaven to Earth. He was so close to the top, but now he walks again amongst us mortals. Like the princes of Lucifer, Santos doesn’t have many supporters, but rest assured there are a few of us who bask in his beauty. 

After the ordeal in Congress went down, the phrase “DIVA DOWN” went viral on Twitter. Like my assertion Santos is a fallen angel akin to Lucifer, it’s all tongue-in-cheek — of course George Santos espouses bad politics, attended former President Donald Trump’s speech on January 6 and allegedly stole dogs from the Amish, among other things. These are all not good things. That should just go without saying. 

But, man, he revels in the attention. He knows exactly what to say in front of a camera. He’s sassy and catty and he loves drama. He has all the makings of a figure Generation Z could latch onto and adore ironically. It’s no wonder he’s charging $500 for personalized videos on Cameo and it’s no wonder 84% of his profile’s reviews are five stars. He’s an icon in the most satirical sense of the word. 

[Related: OPINION: Satire? More like sa-tired.]

Santos had been out of the spotlight for awhile — at least, out of my immediate worldview, which consists almost entirely of what I read on a day-to-day basis on Twitter — but in November it came to light he had been spending his campaign funds on everything from spa days to Sephora to OnlyFans. “Representative Santos was frequently in debt, had an abysmal credit score, and relied on an ever-growing wallet of high-interest credit cards to fund his luxury spending habits,” the House Ethics Committee’s damning report concluded. 

I mean, it’s funny, isn’t it? We can admit that. I can’t, and won’t, feel too bad for anyone who donated to his campaign knowing exactly who he was. It’s not like he just started lying recently. Possibly half of New York’s Third Congressional District unwittingly paid for pornography on OnlyFans, and that’s hilarious. 

From there, it seems I saw his name everywhere again. Like in January, it became a fun pastime for me to see what background information about him would drop. And that doesn’t even account for the stuff that dropped before the last time I wrote about him, stuff I had just missed: for example, the report he had stolen his former roommate’s Burberry scarf to wear to a “Stop the Steal” rally. 

And, you know what, it may have been a stolen scarf worn for a fascist rally, but never has a stolen scarf worn for a fascist rally looked so damn good. 

Right as the expulsion hearings were getting underway, Representative Max Miller from Ohio’s Seventh Congressional District alleged Santos had stolen large amounts of money from both Miller and his mother. It’s claimed that Santos pulled the same stunt with roughly 400 other people. And, now we know he wasn’t using these funds for his campaign, we can only assume he had spent it all at Ferragamo. 

I ended my last column with an emphatic call to be like Sisyphus and face the absurdity of American politics (that is how the myth of Sisyphus goes, right?), finding the humor in it because that’s the only way to really deal with the existential dread of things we cannot actually, realistically, individually control.  

[Related: OPINION: The Republican Party is eating itself alive and America is better for it]

The doomers who read this — whom I have affinity for, I must admit — will disagree and naturally retort with, “Well, climate change is going to kill us all in four years” and yes, this may be true, and yes, we may be looking down the barrel of nuclear annihilation and, yes, we really might not have as much time left on this earth as we’d hope for. All of these things could be true and none negate the fact that Santos lying about his niece being kidnapped by the Chinese Communist Party is funnier than anything Saturday Night Live writers could come up with in a room full of typewriters given an infinite amount of time.  

Representative Santos may have fallen, but he’s far from forgotten. Stay gold, Ponyboy — stay gold. 

Joey Sills (he/him) is a junior studying English and political science. 

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