Archive for Barack Narcissus Obama

Boy, Obama Sure Told Them!

Oh snap!

“Have you noticed that everyone of these candidates say, ‘Obama’s weak. Putin’s kicking sand in his face. When I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out,'” Obama said, impersonating a refrain among Republican candidates that he’s allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin too much leeway.

“Then it turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators at the debate. Let me tell you, if you can’t handle those guys, then I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you,” Obama said.

Well played, sir. Game, set, and match!

Like when:

THE PRESIDENT: And, again, if we step back and just remind ourselves what it is we’re supposed to be doing here, then hopefully common sense will out in the end.

Q It sounds like you’re saying that this is a Republican problem and not one that you bear any responsibility for.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Julie, give me an example of what I might do.

Uh, sir, “Julie” isn’t president. You are.

And when:

[Major] Garrett asked, “Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content, with all the fanfare around this deal, to leave the conscious of this nation, the strength of this nation, unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?”


President Obama, however, was visibly angry at the question and snapped at Garrett, “You should know better.”

And when:

President Barack Obama got into a somewhat tense exchange with a Dallas TV reporter during an interview Monday at the White House.

After the interview was over, Obama advised WFAA-TV’s Brad Watson to “let me finish my answers the next time we do an interview, all right?”

Obama was grilled on a variety of topics — especially on if he’s trying to put Texas in play for the 2012 election. Texas is, after all, a solid Republican state, which he lost in the last presidential election.

“We lost by a few percentage points in Texas,” he started before Watson corrected him, saying, “Well, you lost by about 10.”

And when:

The town hall was expected to be an anything-goes affair – a perception stoked by reports organizers had solicited “lighter questions” like the what-underwear-do-you-wear asked of Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

But the under-30 participants were almost defiantly grave, with tough questions flung at the president on issues ranging from race, genocide in Sudan, immigration, domestic violence, youth unemployment and his decision to appeal a court decision invalidating the military’s policy on gays.

The most heated exchange came when Bridget Todd, a faculty member at Howard University, asked Obama about his “alleged commitment” to gay rights – challenging him to use an executive order to kill “don’t ask don’t tell” immediately, as Harry Truman ended segregation in the military.

“The difference between my position and Harry Truman’s was [that] Congress explicitly passed a law that took away [my] policy power,” said a clearly agitated Obama.

And when:

In the annals of President Obama’s dismissive putdowns, this one ranks right up near the top: “The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else.”

(I still, personally, believe that “You’re likable enough, Hillary” remains the apex of Obama one-line disses.)

And when:

Obama, feeling loose with less than two years left in office, noted criticism that he had taken a “selfie” photo in a viral video promoting his health insurance program, but he turned the tables on Republican senators who sent a letter to Iran warning them against a nuclear deal Obama hopes to secure.

“You don’t diminish your office by taking a selfie. You do it by sending a poorly written letter to Iran,” Obama said.

And when:

The president snapped back at the PBS news host when Lehrer was trying to get Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to move onto a different topic. As Obama spoke, Lehrer tried to cut him off and explain that his time was up.

“I had five seconds before you interrupted me,” Obama said to Lehrer, prompting laughter from the crowd.

After Obama finished his answer on health care, Lehrer came back: “Your five seconds went away a long time ago.”

And when:

It was not so much that Romney was great, though he was smooth and personable, but that Obama was not. The president appeared snippy, his eyes flashing angrily during those infrequent moments when he looked at his opponent, his lips pursed and upturned when he looked down — which was often — as if he were trying to smile despite sucking on a particularly unpleasant hard candy. Republicans on Thursday morning were calling it a smirk, but it was more than that. There was, in the expression, a mixture of annoyance, impatience, and dislike.

I hope you enjoyed that half as much as I did compiling it. What a petulant twerp!

But he’s right: if you can’t stand up to a few (very, very few) reporters and a Mormon, Putin’s going to eat your lunch.

PS: I found those exampls by Goggling “Obama” and “snippy”. It’s by no means complete.

PPS: To wit:

“Now there’s a possibility that Assad has once again used chemical weapons,” reporter Mike Viquera said. “What did you tell these leaders here, who are disappointed last time, and will you use a military response if it’s confirmed that he used chemical weapons again?”

President Obama said that “Assad gave up his chemical weapons. And that’s not speculation on our part. That, in fact, has been confirmed by the organization internationally, that is charged with eliminating chemical weapons.”

“We have seen reports about the use of chlorine in bombs that had the effect of chemical weapons. Chlorine, chlorine, itself, historically has not been listed as a chemical weapon, but when it is used in this fashion, can be considered a prohibited use of that particular chemical”

As I wrote yesterday, what comes out of that man’s mouth is worse than what goes into it.


It’s Putin’s World, We Just Live in It

That’s hardly an original observation, but what does it mean?

The nation we used to call “Haiti with nukes” still is, though Haiti has better weather. It’s still a mess: paranoid; with an aging, sick population; restive Muslims on one flank, resentful eastern Europeans on the other; overreliance on one asset, selling cheaply, now and for the foreseeable future. Just because you’re paranoid…

But the 98-pound weakling is still the baddest-ass guy on the beach if the other guy can’t be bothered to interrupt the prime tanning hours.

US-led coalition forces had not carried out any air strikes in Syria for three days as of Monday, a lull that contrasts with the continued intensity of Russia’s bombing campaign.

According to Pentagon data, the last coalition strike was a drone attack on October 22 that targeted an Islamic State vehicle and a “mortar tube.”

Russia, on the other hand, continues to maintain an intense tempo as it nears the end of its first month of bombing in Syria.

The Russian defense ministry said Monday it had hit 94 targets in just the past 24 hours.

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying Russia has bombed 94 crucial targets. For all I know, they bombed 93 palm trees and a camel. For all I know, they never flew a sortie, but merely announced they did, 94 times.

Whereas we:

“Air strikes ebb and flow… We look at intelligence to find out where we have actionable targets, where we have targets that we can hit without causing civilian damage.

“We simply haven’t had any (recently)… but that doesn’t mean we are not on the lookout for more – and there will be more.”

How can the sackless Jeb Bush be a Pentagon spokesman while running for president? The man has hidden talents.

According to Pentagon figures, the coalition launched 359 air strikes in July. The number dropped to 206 in August and 115 in September.

Continuing the downward trend, there have been 91 strikes so far this month.

“As we continuously seek legitimate targets, it takes time,” said Commander Elissa Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

“The strikes we take are not just randomly against targets; they are part of an organized campaign.”

And that’s the problem.


Vladimir Putin has been asked to help the Afghan government in its fight against Taliban insurgents.

In a clear signal of the worsening security situation in the war-torn country, President Ashraf Ghani has appealed for help from the Kremlin.

He asked Moscow for artillery, small arms and Mi-35 helicopter gunships for his country’s stuggling military, according to officials.

Russian officials have said they are ‘willing to help’.

Hey, Barack Obama! The 1980s called—they said lay off the ganja. They also asked how such a narcissistic underachiever who slouched into Occidental College ever—ever!—got to be a US Senator, let alone president.

A US official told the Wall Street Journal: ‘Russia is seizing the opporunity.’

They got that one right.

Comments (1)


Inspired, in part, by our president, I have taken up golf.

Seriously. I’m pretty bad, but a decent putter. Unlike:

But you know what? It hasn’t cost me $4,440,000!

President Barack Obama’s golf outings and fundraising trips in February and March of this year cost taxpayers $4.4 million, according to records obtained by Judicial Watch.

Citing Air Force records received through two Freedom of Information Act requests, Judicial Watch reported on four trips taken by Obama. The Secret Service has not responded to FOIA requests about the costs of security on the trips, the group said.

Obama’s February 14 golf outing to Palm Springs, California required a five-hour flight, costing taxpayers $1.03 million.

Transportation for Obama’s February 19 day trip to Chicago cost taxpayers $619,011.

Transportation for Obama’s March fundraising trip to Los Angeles cost taxpayers $1.98 million.

Obama’s March 28 golf outing to Palm City, Florida required a 3.9-hour flight, costing taxpayers $804,870.30.

I would guess that Secret Service protection would jack the price up considerably. Makes the 20-something bucks I pay for two hours entertainment/torture on the local public course positively a steal.

I occasionally remind you that Obama took up golf only when he got on the public dime. Remember what he looked like?

Let’s see: his dad wasn’t around to teach him the game; there are no reports of his interest in golf at Columbia or Harvard (grass, yes, but not the fescue kind); the game does not match ideologically his vocation of community organizing. And, again, the swing demonstrated above is that of a newcomer to the sport. Trust me.

Golf; intimate dinners in swanky New York restaurants; annual vacations in Hawaii, Palm Springs, and Martha’s Vineyard; skiing trips for Mish and the girls—his champagne tastes came with his ascension to the White House. He couldn’t afford any of that, so we’ve been left with the bill. An independent press might have told you that. But I just did. Again.

PS: This is a bargain!

President Obama is hitting the links this Saturday with Tony Kornheiser, the longtime host of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption.”

The president is golfing with the sports news personality at the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm in Maryland, according to a White House pool report.

The rest of the foursome includes Marvin Nicholson and Luke Rosa, from the White House advance team.


Chipping While Damascus Burns

We’ve been getting existential on Obama’s ass lately (see below), but when the going gets tough, the tough go golfing!

Obama’s visit to California over the weekend was a whirlwind. After arriving in San Francisco on Friday night, he attended three Democratic fundraisers Saturday in the Los Angeles area, caused an #Obamajam and then topped his trip with a round of golf at Torrey Pines.

And that’s not all whom he inconvenienced:

President Barack Obama crashed a wedding after playing golf at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California.

When the President completed his game at the 18th hole, he walked over to the wedding ceremony and posed for photos with the groom, Brian Tobe, and his bride-to-be, Stephanie, who was so shocked and excited that she started to cry, NBC San Diego reports.

Or because her special day had been ruined by this goofball’s intrusion. Seriously, has he no shame? He’s trying to play all the cool PGA courses while still on the public’s dime, busting up wedding ceremonies as he goes (this is the second time), and all he can do is grin like the village idiot?

What do you want to bet Putin has that picture up on his office wall? When things are going bad for him, all he has to do is look at that braying ass and remember how easy the competition is. Even a crippled, dying Roosevelt gave Stalin more of a game.

Comments (1)

It Didn’t Even Play in Peoria

The reviews for Obama’s lecture to the UN (remember, he was Senior Lecturer at UChicago Law School) are in, and the raves are few:

President Obama actually had the audacity to say this:

No matter how powerful our military, how strong our economy, we understand the United States cannot solve the world’s problems alone. In Iraq, the United States learned the hard lesson that even hundreds of thousands of brave, effective troops, trillions of dollars from our Treasury, cannot by itself impose stability on a foreign land. Unless we work with other nations under the mantle of international norms and principles and law that offer legitimacy to our efforts, we will not succeed. And unless we work together to defeat the ideas that drive different communities in a country like Iraq into conflict, any order that our militaries can impose will be temporary.

No, Mr. President, in Iraq we learned that the hard-earned gains of “hundreds of thousands of brave, effective troops” can be thrown away by a precipitous, politically-expedient withdrawal — just as they were when we withdrew from Vietnam, just as they would have been if we’d withdrawn from South Korea, and just as they would have been had we left Europe alone to face the Red Army after World War II. If we abandon our allies, then of course our military gains are “temporary.”

For his entire presidency, Obama has sought to bring so-called “legitimacy” to American efforts through “international norms and principles of law” that hamstring our military and display weakness to enemies and allies alike. The consequence is a jihadist threat several orders of magnitude greater than the threat that existed when he came into office, a Middle East in chaos, parts of the Ukraine in flames, and Russia now acting as the prime power broker in the Middle East.

Just as “the best and the brightest” became shorthand for academics in over their eggheads, so Obama’s appeal to “international norms and principles of law” has become synonymous with sacklessness. And utter nonsense. What norms are international? What standards are accepted from Papua New Guinea to Pocatello, Idaho? The expression is oxymoronic at best, imbecilic at worst. (This being Obama, I’m opting for imbecilic.) I get “principles of law”, but does Iran? Does ISIS or Boko Haram or Al Qaeda or al-Shabaab? Does Putin or Kim Jong Un or President Eleven?

Putin and 11 (vii + iv, to use his full name) must be black and blue from pinching themselves. How did the unopposed leading nation of the world get to be a metrosexual eunuch, nattering to no one about “the wrong side of history”? Like kids splitting Halloween candy: “You take Syria, Pootie-Poot, and China will help itself to any island currently held by Japan or Philippines—and build a few of our own. Even Pearl Harbor look good to us right now. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!”

Comments (1)

They Are Not Amused

Three days ago, we shared with you C.J. Pearson’s viral video calling out President Obama for falling for Ahmed’s bogus clock.

Harry Reid infamously called Obama a “light-skinned” African American with a “negro dialect” when he wanted one.

Add thin-skinned:

The Georgia teenager whose vocal criticism of President Obama and the White House has made national news, now finds himself on the outside looking in when it comes to Twitter.

Thirteen-year-old C.J. Pearson, who last week blasted the president’s response to the Texas Muslim teen suspended from school because a teacher thought his homemade clock was a bomb, said Wednesday afternoon that he had found himself blocked from President Obama’s official Twitter account.

Doesn’t it just figure? Except, wait: they deny it.

A short time later, White House assistant press secretary Frank Benenati tweeted from his own account a statement claiming that no one had ever been blocked from the @POTUS Twitter account, a statement that was quickly challenged by a number of individuals responding to the post.

Frank Benenati
Public Service Announcement: Nobody is or has ever been blocked from the @POTUS twitter account

Pearson’s response is not yet on his YouTube channel, but here’s a link to his public Facebook page (until Mark Zuckerberg takes it down). He’s got a screenshot to prove it, and tweets from others who’ve been blocked. Benenati has not commented further, but he’s not been idle:

Frank Benenati retweeted
Pope Francis meets Bo and Sunny.


I know Pete Souza is the royal court photographer, but he’s got “the Vicar of Christ” and two beautiful dogs in the picture—does Obama have to dominate? Especially when he looks so disinterested?

The emperor is naked, C.J. Don’t let anyone tell you different.


Oslo Witted

Hey Aggie! Dust off another of our coveted Ya Think? Awards™! There must be one around somewhere as a doorstop.

We’ve got a winner!

In a break with Nobel tradition, the former secretary of the Nobel Peace Prize committee says the 2009 award to President Barack Obama failed to live up to the panel’s expectations.

Geir Lundestad writes in a book to be released on Thursday that the committee had expected the prize to deliver a boost to Obama. Instead the award was met with fierce criticism in the U.S., where many argued Obama had not been president long enough to have an impact worthy of the Nobel.

“Even many of Obama’s supporters believed that the prize was a mistake,” Lundestad wrote in excerpts of the book read by The Associated Press. “In that sense the committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for.”

Even better, Obama asked if they delivered:

Lundestad, who stepped down last year after 25 years as the non-voting secretary of the secretive committee, noted that Obama was startled by the award and that his staff even investigated whether other winners had skipped the prize ceremony in Oslo.

That has happened only on rare occasions, such as when dissidents were held back by their governments.

“In the White House they quickly realized that they needed to travel to Oslo,” Lundestad wrote.

Precious few golf courses in Norway.

No wonder Obama didn’t want to go. He’s been winning prizes for doing nothing his whole life. Smoking dope was enough to get into Occidental; Occidental was enough to get into Columbia; Columbia was enough to get into Harvard. Being of Kenyan descent (and even Kenyan, when it suited him) didn’t hurt.

I’m just not sure what the doofi in Oslo thought they were doing:

Speaking to AP on Wednesday, Lundestad said he didn’t disagree with the decision to award the president but the committee “thought it would strengthen Obama and it didn’t have this effect.”

Strengthen him how? To do what? Hasn’t Obama done exactly as he wanted? I can’t see how your stupid award made a bit of difference, other than to burnish his halo. But our media were busy doing that already.

But one prize deserves another, so here ya go. Sorry it’s dented, but I couldn’t have opened that new jar of peanut butter without it.


Why is This Man Not Singing?

Why are you?

Jeremy Corbyn today refused to say if he will ever sing sing the national anthem again and wrote off the row as ‘tittle tattle’.

The new Labour leader is under fire from his own shadow cabinet and war veterans after his snub at a memorial service to remember the heroes of the Battle of Britain.

His new shadow equalities minister Kate Green said this morning her leader had ‘offended and hurt many people’ when he refused to sing God Save the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral yesterday.

Asked by Sky News if he is ‘really not going to sing the national anthem’ despite wanting to lead the country, Mr Corbyn said: ‘I was at the Battle of Britain memorial yesterday I was there out of respect for that amazing moment in British history.

‘I was always thinking about my family, my mum and dad who were there at that time in London and worked as air raid wardens during the Blitz and it was a respectful ceremony and I stood in respect throughout it.’

Why should he sing “God save the Queen” when he believes in neither?

Something about this story has a familiar ring to it.

Not a ring. More like a pin:

“The truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin,” Obama said. “Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security.”

Say what you will about Corbyn, his anti-patriotism is deeply bred. He would sooner swear fealty to Satan than to a monarch. Labour knew what it was getting in him, and he’s giving it to them, good and hard. Obama’s anti-patriotism is just another facet of his narcissism. He’s not above (or below) wearing a flag pin, he just doesn’t want to be associated with the hoi polloi, the yahoos, the bitter clingers to guns and religion.

While the flag pin’s back, the salute could still use some work:

Comments (1)

How’s the Weekend Going So Far?

Oh, you know. Figure we’ll hit the beach.

How about you?


Trying to play 18. But this traffic is murder!

Really? Five hours of selfish pleasure when the rest of the world is going to He–

Uh…I mean, Helena, Montana? The optics! I should have realized. Speaking of which, we’d like a propaganda image to accompany your propaganda visit to Alaska. You know, something that shows your concern for man’s intrusions into the wild, while you intrude into the wild?

Perfect, just the thing. It’s like we share the same mind.


Good News, Bad News

The good news is that the last days of Obama are approaching, and he’s planning his post-presidency.

Oh wait, my bad. That’s the bad news:

This effort began in November 2012, shortly after his reelection, when the president hosted filmmaker Steven Spielberg at the White House for a screening of Lincoln. President Obama was “spellbound,” the Times reports, as Spielberg held forth “about the use of technology to tell stories.”

Such technology, Spielberg went on, could also be used to tell Obama’s story — to somehow convince future Americans, against all evidence to the contrary, that his presidency was an experience they would like to repeat. “Ideally, one adviser said, a person in Kenya could put on a pair of virtual reality goggles and be transported to Mr. Obama’s 2008 speech on race in Philadelphia.” I’m sure they’ll be banging on the door to get into that exhibit.

The president has raised, to date, “just over $5.4 million from 12 donors,” which puts him $994.6 million from his goal.

Well, at $450,000 per donor, he needs only another 2,210 one-percenters to build his library, or headquarters, or Barack Obama Foundation for the Organizing of Communities and the Glorification of Himself. I’d say he’s got it in the bag. Gucci bag:

He’s happy because planning for his retirement allows Obama to corral large groups of extremely rich and powerful people for the express purpose of discussing his favorite subject: himself. People like Spielberg, with a net worth of $3.6 billion, who’s “helping to develop a ‘narrative’ for Mr. Obama in the years after he leaves office.” And people like Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose net worth is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and who dined with the creator of E.T. and President Obama “at a Beverly Hills hotel in California” — as opposed to a Beverly Hills hotel in Latvia — “in June.”

For an example of what these dinners with the president are like, the Times reported extensively on a bull session at the White House held last February. The president and first lady invited 13 guests to the residence, including:

Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, net worth $4.7 billion
John Doerr, ex-boyfriend of Ellen Pao, net worth $3.4 billion
Vinod Khosla, green energy crony, net worth $1.7 billion
Marc Lasry, former player at high-stakes poker games tied to the Russian mob, net worth $1.7 billion
Eva Longoria, failed steakhouse entrepreneur, net worth in tens of millions
Toni Morrison, who dubbed Bill Clinton our “first black president,” net worth in tens of millions
Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker journalist, net worth in tens of millions

Just your run-of-the-mill collection of everyday Americans. The combined net worth of the feted and privileged guests easily surpasses $10 billion. And this is to say nothing of the size of the accumulated egos, which when combined with those of the president and his wife becomes impossible to measure.

Stven Spielberg is crafting Obama’s narrative? Is that why Obama reprised Neville Chamberlain’s role in Munich? When can we give this guy the Hook?

Around midnight, we learn, Reed Hoffman said kindly to President Obama, “Feel free to kick us out.” And the president replied, snidely, “I’ll kick you out when it’s time.” And Hoffman sat down, like a disciplined child, because what could he do — even the co-founder of LinkedIn can’t walk out on the president of the United States. So the conversation went on, according to the Times, “well past 2 a.m.”

As another king, Lear, put it:

Tell me, my daughters,–
Since now we will divest us both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state,–
Which of you shall we say doth love us most?

If the rest of Obama’s days are spent in building a monument to himself, let him knock himself out. If, rather, he’s building a PAC for permanent relevence, dear God, spare us.

Comments (2)

“Africa is on the Move”

If you’ve been reading us for any length of time, you know my fascination with President Obama’s remarkable ability to believe anything he says. Just over two years ago, to pick my favorite example, in Mexico City, he dismissed lurid tales of cartel violence and police corruption as “sensational headlines”. (Hence my series of “Sensational Headlines Watch”-es which detailed…you guessed it, lurid tales of cartel violence and police corruption. Obama is handy with a wikiquote, plucking bon mots (buenas palabras?) from the likes of Octavio Paz and Frida Kahlo from obscurity, but nothing trumps a well-phrased axiom like dozens of headless bodies in a shallow grave. I always say.

There he goes again (as Ronald Reagan always said):


Niaje wasee! (Applause.) Hawayuni! (Applause and laughter.)

[T]his is our first Global Entrepreneurship Summit in sub-Saharan Africa. We wanted to come here. I wanted to be here because Africa is on the move. (Applause.) Africa is one of the fastest-growing regions of the world. People are being lifted out of poverty. Incomes are up. The middle class is growing.

I’m certain there is some truth to what he says—just as there was truth to the “sensationalism” of headlines about incinerated corpses—but seriously? Africa is on the move?

In South Sudan? In Nigeria and Cameroon and Chad? In Somalia? In Kenya itself? In Ethiopia? In Uganda? In the Ivory Coast?

In Angola‚ the Democratic Republic of Congo‚ Ghana‚ Mozambique‚ and South Africa?

I’ll do Obama the favor of leaving out the failed African states and human hellholes north of the Sahara. They’re probably not what he was referring to, and anyway who has the time?

Liberalism in general likes to believe the sorts of things Obama says—Mexico is thriving, Africa is on the move—but very few actually do believe it. I think he does. It is so because he says so. Just like there was not a “smidgen of corruption” at the IRS or jacking up tax rates on a few is “fair” even if it harms the economy for all. Or “you can keep your doctor” under ObamaCare.

Africa is indeed on the move. But backwards or downhill are not desirable destinations.

Comments (6)

God’s Gift

To be a cultural critic, it helps to be of the culture one is critiquing.

Lee Siegel speaks for us:

In a column for the Sunday New York Times, 58 year-old writer and cultural critic Lee Siegel jumped into the Left’s (and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)’s) latest nihilistic zeitgeist by bragging about how he intentionally defaulted on all of his student loans. After voluntarily accepting taxpayer money to fund no less than three degrees from Columbia University, Siegel brags, “I chose life. That is to say, I defaulted on my student loans.”

“Life” for Siegel was pursuing his dream job as a writer as opposed to taking a job-job that would help him fulfill his obligations to the millions of middle class taxpayers who work the job-jobs that finance most of the United States Treasury, and therefore most of Siegel’s elite, top-shelf, Ivy League education.

Siegel goes on:

Years later, I found myself confronted with a choice that too many people have had to and will have to face. I could give up what had become my vocation (in my case, being a writer) and take a job that I didn’t want in order to repay the huge debt I had accumulated in college and graduate school. Or I could take what I had been led to believe was both the morally and legally reprehensible step of defaulting on my student loans, which was the only way I could survive without wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.

Isn’t he special? Before we deal with his “particular usefulness to society”, let’s remind ourselves who such a man is to speak of morality:

Today’s NYO gives a rundown of the fall from grace of The New Republic’s Lee Siegel, television critic and senior editor, for making self-serving pseudonymous comments on his TNR blog, “Lee Siegel on Culture.” Siegel, in what he calls and pretty much anyone else would call “a dumb mistake,” praised himself with comments like “Siegel is brave, brilliant and wittier than [Jon] Stewart will ever be” and insulted other commenters (while still managing to praise himself) with barbs like “You couldn’t tie Siegel’s shoelaces.” Siegel was ferreted out by commenters, exposed, and was quickly suspended by TNR editor Franklin Foer.

In the NYO account, Siegel tells Sheelah Kolhatkar: “I took the blogosphere’s bait, and I stooped to the level of these people who were commenting on my pieces, and I shouldn’t have.” Wow – not much of an apology, is that?

And you know whom Siegel blamed for the mean old blogosphere, don’t you?

“I began to feel that perhaps the almost total delegitimisation of political figures in the US – a process hastened by our current idiotic and criminal regime – was now being visited upon cultural figures, and in particular upon critics. It was no accident, after all, that the blogosphere really took off in the years since Bush became president, especially after the start of the Iraq war. The feeling now – post-Judith Miller’s resignation from the New York Times over her inaccurate reports about Iraq’s WMD – is that if it appears in the mainstream media, it’s bullshit; whereas if it’s on the internet, it’s the truth.”

There may be criminal or civil consequences for welshing on your student loans, but they don’t seem harsh. Misrepresenting oneself in journalism, however, is supposed to be a hanging offense. Doing so and blaming Bush would seem to call for the firing squad. But if Mike Barnicle can be scrubbed from the pages of the Boston Glob for making [bleep] up, only to wash up on the lucrative shores of MSNBC, why can’t Lee Siegel, aka sprezzatura in the New Republic’s comments section, rise from the ashes of his ignominy to boast on the op-ed page of the Sunday Times of ripping the American taxpayer?

A personal note: the name sprezzatura conjures a very strong memory from my own college days at Lee Siegel’s Columbia. In fact, we overlapped. We may even have been in the same Italian literature class that read Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier, in which sprezzatura is defined as

“a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it”. It is the ability of the courtier to display “an easy facility in accomplishing difficult actions which hides the conscious effort that went into them”.

We also would have overlapped with Barack Obama, I have noted here before. Nonchalance, easy facility, without effort and almost without any thought—don’t these terms describe the narcissism of the man? If I didn’t know better, I would be certain that Columbia offered narcissism as a major in those days, and that Obama and Siegel vied for valedictorian.

Me, I stuck with English, and with generous scholarships, work-study jobs, summer jobs, and paltry parental support graduated owing $2,500—since repaid. I may be a narcissist, but I pay my debts and my parking tickets.

Comments (1)

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »