Robert Mueller russia report William Barr contempt
Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller

If there’s one thing that sums up this moment in history perfectly for me, it’s Robert De Niro mugging it up as Robert Mueller on Saturday Night Live. As a signifier, De Niro is shorthand for certain things: "cool"; "tough"; and that horror of honorifics, "badass". As a fact, the De Niro Mueller is a golem staggering out of our collective delusions.

We are all swept up in the Epic of Trump, and epics, traditionally, are populated with archetypes. Super-cop, traitor, dad -- the meme that is Robert Mueller takes shape according to a viewer’s self-certainty in this uncertain age. He can be a media MacGuffin or a Russian red-herring; a war hero or a war criminal; De Niro in Goodfellas or De Niro in Dirty Grandpa, all depending on who is watching him do what where when.