When I decided to step away from writing to take a brief vacation last week, my thinking was that while the news cycle hasn’t exactly been calm lately, it was unlikely that something would happen that could compel me to return to my laptop. So, of course, it was at that exact moment the universe revealed to me that former White House Press Secretary/Professional Liar Sean Spicer has become a grill influencer for Heston Blumenthal.
After I stopped laughing and had a chance to actually think about the partnership, I arrived at the conclusion that there might be good synergy here. Heston Blumenthal—a London-based chef who specializes in molecular gastronomy—sullied his good name last year by making some sexist, inaccurate comments to a writer from the Economic Times about why we don’t see more women in leadership roles in high-profile restaurants. Sean Spicer, meanwhile, has dedicated his entire embarrassing professional life to inaccuracies, and his Instagram account is so thickly plastered with nationalistic macho nonsense that his decision to shill for a grill—any grill—seemed inevitable.
The grill, like Spicer’s professional persona, appears to be designed to appeal to men who subscribe to a brittle, constructed notion of masculinity. The model Spicer most recently featured is the FURNACE, which he writes is “very durable and portable - perfect for the beach.” It’s about the size of a baby grand piano and costs $1099. Spicer fails to provide even basic details about the grill, presumably because merely yukking it up in front of what might be one of the most ungainly portable cooking platforms on god’s green earth is enough to earn him his coins.
The fact that Sean Spicer is doing sponsored content for a grill company isn’t really news, though—even bad people need to make rent. The news here is that Heston Blumenthal (or likely someone working for him) thought, “This is the guy to move these units!” Asking a man famously awful at PR to represent someone who could really use good PR might not be the move. The end result is a dishonest man smirking in front of a grill you’d need a crane to maneuver, a tableau so absurd it compelled me to take a break from my vacation so that I could tell you all about it.