Why Seth Rogen Needn’t Cry

The actor was very upset after a bunch of senators walked out on his testimony. Come on, Seth, don’t you know how Washington works?

National Journal
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Lucia Graves
Feb. 28, 2014, 7:35 a.m.

Seth Ro­gen pur­ports to be a big House of Cards fan, but ap­par­ently he doesn’t know much about Wash­ing­ton’s polit­ics as usu­al.

On Wed­nes­day the comedi­an and act­or of Knocked Up fame gave a mov­ing speech at a Sen­ate Ap­pro­pri­ations sub­com­mit­tee hear­ing on the rising costs of Alzheimer’s, de­scrib­ing the “real, ugly truth” of the dis­ease and how by the age of 60, his moth­er-in-law needed around-the-clock care.

Not every­one seemed to care too much. A re­portedly ruffled Ro­gen took to Twit­ter to ask why, after 16 sen­at­ors came to greet him in per­son and take pho­tos, only two stayed for his ac­tu­al testi­mony.

Not sure why only two sen­at­ors were at the hear­ing. Very sym­bol­ic of how the Gov­ern­ment views Alzheimer’s. Seems to be a low pri­or­ity.

— Seth Ro­gen (@Sethro­gen) Feb­ru­ary 26, 2014

.@Sen­at­orKirk pleas­ure meet­ing you. Why did you leave be­fore my speech? Just curi­ous.

— Seth Ro­gen (@Sethro­gen) Feb­ru­ary 26, 2014

Ro­gen was out­raged by the empty seats, but of course it’s com­pletely com­mon­place for law­makers not to show up for im­port­ant hear­ings, or, if they do, to leave as soon as they’ve said their bit.

In April, for in­stance, a hear­ing on long-term un­em­ploy­ment began with a single law­maker in at­tend­ance. (Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who was hold­ing the hear­ing in her ca­pa­city as vice chair of the Joint Eco­nom­ic Com­mit­tee, was even­tu­ally joined by three of her Demo­crat­ic col­leagues.)

In wake of the glob­al fin­an­cial melt­down, a hear­ing on gov­ern­ment watch­dogs fea­tured nobody but … Joe Lieber­man. Per The Hill‘s Mike Sor­aghan:

The Sen­ate hear­ing was titled, “Where Were the Watch­dogs?” But any­one in the room might have wondered: “Where are the sen­at­ors?” For at least half an hour at Wed­nes­day’s hear­ing of the Home­land Se­cur­ity and Gov­ern­ment­al Af­fairs Com­mit­tee, Chair­man Joe Lieber­man (I-Conn.) sat alone, flanked by 16 empty black chairs as he listened to three ex­perts wax elo­quent on ways to cre­ate something called a sys­tem­ic risk reg­u­lat­or. Put an­oth­er way, they were there to tell the Sen­ate how to avoid an­oth­er fin­an­cial dis­aster like the one we’re in.

And a re­cent hear­ing on end­ing over­lap across fed­er­al pro­grams was poorly at­ten­ded not just by Con­gress but by mem­bers of the me­dia as well. “I con­fess to blow­ing off the meet­ing to cov­er an­oth­er as­sign­ment and I’m just now catch­ing up to the hear­ing on­line,” The Wash­ing­ton Post‘s Joe Dav­id­son wrote at the time. “It was well worth the look back.”

Me­dia apathy, however, is something Ro­gen hasn’t suffered from. Though his testi­mony may have at­trac­ted paltry at­ten­tion from Con­gress, his fret­ful tweets have traveled much fur­ther than a few minutes of any sen­at­or’s at­ten­tion could. Or would, any­way.

His ex­cel­lent speech is here:


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