Archive for Messiah

Comforting the Comfortable

Many conservatives have come to realize that to win the contest of ideas, you have to compete on the field of culture. It does one no good to be right (as in correct) when Hollywood, academia, the media are all left (as in wrong).

They tell us so themselves:

At last, we know the reason why comedy writers don’t make fun of President Obama much.

It turns out the man is completely unmockable.

We learn this from Jim Downey, the longtime “Saturday Night Live” specialist in political japery. “If I had to describe Obama as a comedy project, I would say, ‘Degree of difficulty, 10 point 10,’” the writer says in the expanded new edition of the “SNL” oral history book, “Live from New York.”

“It’s like being a rock climber looking up at a thousand-foot-high face of solid obsidian, polished and oiled,” Downey says. “There’s not a single thing to grab onto — certainly not a flaw or hook that you can caricature. [Al] Gore had these ‘handles,’ so did Bush, and Sarah Palin, and even Hillary had them. But with Obama, it was the phenomenon — less about him and more about the effect he had on other people and the way he changed their behavior. So that’s the way I wrote him.”

Got that? The charter Choom Ganger, confessed eater of dog and snorter of coke. The doofus who thinks the language spoken by Austrians is “Austrian,” that you pronounce the p in “corpsman” and that ATMs are the reason why job growth is sluggish. The egomaniac who gave the queen of England an iPod loaded with his own speeches and said he was better at everything than the people who work for him. The empty suit with so little real-world knowledge that he referred to his brief stint working for an ordinary profit-seeking company as time “behind enemy lines.” The phony who tells everyone he’s from Chicago, though he didn’t live there until his 20s, and lets you know that he’s talking to people he believes to be stupid by droppin’ his g’s. The world-saving Kal-El from a distant solar system who told us he’d heal the planet and cause the oceans to stop rising. The guy who shared a middle name with one of the most hated dictators on earth.

Nope, nothing there to mock. No way to get a grip on this polished, oiled obsidian. So comedy writers didn’t and mostly still don’t.

In a new book, “Politics Is a Joke!” three academics tabulated 100,000 jokes told by late-night comics over the last 20 years. They found that in 2008 only 6% of the jokes were about Obama (Palin attracted nearly as many jokes in four months as a public figure as he did all year). And those jokes had a tendency to be about as barbed as cotton candy. Example cited by Tevi Troy in The Wall Street Journal: Jon Stewart said Obama visited Bethlehem so he could see “the manger where he was born.”

In every presidential campaign since 1992, the researchers found, comedians aimed more jokes at Republicans than they did at Democrats. Overall, twice as many barbs flew at the GOP.

“Our job is, whoever is in power, we’re opposed,” “SNL” chief Lorne Michaels told The New York Times in 2008.

And 2008 is when that policy ended.

Anyone who cares deeply about a story—say, the way we do about Israel—sees the distortions in the media and the culture at large. We often despair. Obama, global warming, big government, race—we see (and share with you) report after report, story after story highlighting the misconceptions and hypocrisies in the coverage in the media and culture, yet we feel like we get nowhere.

To many young Americans, Jon Stewart is their John Chancellor, and Tina Fey is their Sarah Palin.

Speaking of whom, who says Obama isn’t comedy gold?


We Should Be So Lucky

“Is Obama done with Washington?”

The 44th president has never been the capital’s biggest fan, but his frustration with life in D.C. is bubbling to the surface in ways both casual and substantive.

The president twice went for unscheduled walkabouts last week, taking a trip to a Starbucks near the White House with his chief of staff Denis McDonough on Monday and, the next day, turning up at a burger joint in Alexandria, Va.

“The bear is loose!” is the president’s favorite phrase at such moments, and he deployed it again last week.

And you know what bears do in the woods.

Yet there seems to be more to Obama’s frustration than cabin fever.

Last Tuesday, Obama was asked about gun control during a question-and-answer session hosted by the social networking website Tumblr. He didn’t try to assert that progress on legislation was realistically possible, instead launching into a personal broadside, permeated with a sense of resignation, against “this town.”

Never mind that no such gun control over-legislation would have prevented many or any of the gun crimes committed—or that gun sales only spike when this sort of talk gets going. Blame it on “this town” and be done with it.

But Obama’s been in Washington for less than a decade. Is he telling us that he misses in the Illinois State Senate, that he had a better time voting present in Springfield than being absent from Washington (in Palm Springs, Hawaii, Martha’s Vineyard, the 14th fairway at Andrews AFB, etc.)? Maybe he was happiest at Chicago Law School, where he rose to the lofty title of Senior Lecturer (a position he’s never outgrown).

He looks right at home, doesn’t he? Bashing corporations and banks and utilities (why utilities?), drawing insidious lines between loci of “power”. Look at him wield that chalk: he’s the Richard Feynman of liberal fascism. (If he had had higher cheekbones, he might have made Harvard.)

But if we are the ones we’ve been waiting for, why can he not wait to get out of town? We showed him the love—twice—well, not me, you—well, not most of you, them—and he’s already so over us (them), it’s not even funny. (It never was.) People have seriously discussed whether President was beneath his unique talents, but we already have a Pope (two, one retired). There’s already a Queen of England, with several Kings lined up to take her place. What’s he want?

Maybe he wants to be like Prince Charles. All the money and trappings of wealth one would ever need, and a soapbox from which to pontificate about global warming and modern architecture. I’m sure there’s something dreary about the job, but nothing so off-putting as President. Let’s create an American Prince of Wales, and get this guy out of the White House—it’s a win-win.



On behalf of the entirety of Red Sox Nation, I apologize for this shameless publicity stunt that demeaned the integrity of the office of the President of the United States:

The selfie was taken during a visit to the White House this week by the 2013 World Series winners. Ortiz, who has an endorsement deal with Samsung, put the photo on Twitter, and the electronics company re-tweeted the post to its 5.2 million followers.

“I can say that as a rule, the White House objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday. “And we certainly object in this case.”

Understandable. The president’s likeness should never be exploited.


Imagine using his likeness so crassly:

It’s unbecoming:

Besides, that’s their job:



Shooting the President

And I thought graven images of holy figures were prohibited:

New York Times photographer Doug Mills strode into Jay Carney’s office Oct. 29 with a pile of pictures taken exclusively by President Obama’s official photographer at events the White House press corps was forbidden to cover. “This one,” Mills said, sliding one picture after another off his stack and onto the press secretary’s desk. “This one, too – and this one and this one and … .”

The red-faced photographer, joined by colleagues on the White House Correspondents’ Association board, finished his 10-minute presentation with a flourish that made Carney, a former Moscow correspondent for Time, wince.

“You guys,” Mills said, “are just like Tass.”

Chief White House photographer Pete Souza gets exclusive access to Obama, often at the expense of photographers who don’t get paid to make the president look good. The picture on the left is taken by a news photographer while Souza hogs the center frame, where he holds up a camera to take the picture at right. White House photographers have had exclusive access for decades, but before social media their photos were not distributed widely. Many news organizations publish and broadcast the White House photos (often without realizing it), which is akin to distributing a White House press release disguised as a news story.


Media photographers were able to take photos of Obama visiting Nelson Mandela’s former jail cell (see left). They were told his visit with Mandela’s family in the cell would be “private.” And yet photos of Obama and the family, taken by the government-funded White House photographer, were made public and went viral. This passes as “private” in the Obama White House.


Hey, I thought the girls were off limits! What gives? It looks like Obama just grabbed Sasha for the photo-op. Dad, you’re stepping on my foot!

We noted this disturbing hagiographic tendency two years ago. Nice of the media to notice.

Speaking of holy figures:


These two photos illustrate how a president committed to transparency has instead restricted access. At left is President Bush touring the crypt containing the birthplace of Jesus Christ. It was taken by an AP photographer. Obama barred photographers during his visit to the exact same spot, and released the exclusive image at right. It was taken by photographer paid by taxpayers to make flattering photos of the president.

I just threw up in my mouth.


If Obama Isn’t Exactly The Messiah, Can He Become Mandela?

Cynical thought: Obama is visiting Africa with his entourage and 100 million taxpayer bucks. Mandela is on life-support. Will Africans (and the world) see a miracle if Obama’s visit coincides with Mandela’s passing? Will Mandela “pass the baton” to Barack Obama?

- Aggie

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If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Drei, drei again:

Oops! Wrong president! How’d that get in there?

When U.S. President Barack Obama visits Germany on Tuesday and Wednesday, he’ll get the opportunity he was denied as a presidential candidate in 2008: a speech at Berlin’s most famous landmark, the Brandenburg Gate.

But the audience will have lost its euphoria for him. In Germany, which viewed him as the great hope of world politics five years ago, there is disappointment that the Obama administration hasn’t changed U.S. foreign and security policies as much as hoped.

Revelations about the scale of the U.S. National Security Agency’s Internet surveillance program Prism have caused much anger in Germany, where data privacy is seen as an important aspect of personal freedom—so much so that even Google Street View has raised hackles.

Although Mr. Obama remains personally popular in Germany, the exposure of Prism has compounded disillusionment here and elsewhere in Europe with his administration’s use of lethal drone attacks and its failure to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay as pledged. “Barack Obama has lost his mystique,” Germany’s mass-circulation tabloid Bild wrote last week. Under the headline “Yes We Scan,” Bild criticized the U.S. for “snooping on an unthinkable scale” on the Web.

Ha! Good one, Germany!

Wednesday’s speech will be a smaller affair. Mr. Obama will address several thousand invited guests, while the zone around the Brandenburg Gate will be shut down for the general public, with even residents barred from using their balconies and roof terraces.

Still, it will be nice to stand in front of real columns, not styrofoam columns. And to stand where JFK once stood.

D’oh! I meant President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, not John Forbes Kerry!

That’s more like it. (Is there anyone who hasn’t appeared at the Brandenburg Gate before Obama?) We know how much it means to President Obama to be seen in just the right places. The telepromter can be set up anywhere. But iconic images are harder to come by.

Patience, my good man.


He is Risen—and So Am I!

Don’t worry, I’m going. I just stopped by to read my glowing eulogies. And while I’m here:

You know what else you can pull for content?


And the Person of the Year Is…

Hey, who put Lindsay Lohan’s mug shot in there? Not funny!

Here is Time Magazine’s Person of the Year:

Is it just me, or is Easter Island missing one of its statues?

And is the halo government issue or the president’s private property? (He had a halo in his younger days, but only as the result of the controlled burning of cannabis.)

When the nominations were announced, we threw our support behind the First Lady of Abortifacients, the Countess of Contraception, Sandra Fluke. Just as in 2008, however, Obama butted in to take the prize away from a deserving woman. Plus ça change

Congratulations, I guess, Mr. President.


Humorless Much?


When I went to Bali a few years ago, I didn’t go, like most tourists, for the beaches or, like Elizabeth Gilbert, for love. I went for the religion. I wanted to learn something about the unique brand of Hinduism practiced there.

Balinese Hinduism differs from Indian Hinduism in many ways. For example, in Balinese temples there are often no images of God. But for me the most arresting religious image I encountered was the empty chair.

I saw this chair, typically crafted of stone, everywhere in Bali—on streetcorners and mountaintops, and in households and rice fields. It is a shrine to Ida Sanghyang Widhi, the High God to Balinese Hindus. And it symbolizes, among other things, the indescribability of the divine.

Historians say this icon was brought to Bali in the sixteenth century from Java. Religious Studies scholars see some Buddhist influence here, which would not be surprising since Buddhism thrives throughout the Indonesian archipelago that encompasses Bali.

I saw the empty chair as an invitation—an invitation to reckon with God on your own terms and in your own way. I also saw it as an elegant refusal—a refusal to reduce God to simplistic terms we can understand.

ZZZZZZZ—huh, wha? Sorry, please go on.

Clint Eastwood has now turned “the empty chair” into a meme of a very different sort. In his speech on Thursday at the Republican National Convention, he argued with an invisible Barack Obama in an empty chair, drawing applause from the audience but upstaging Mitt Romney in the process.

What struck me as I saw this performance was how different Eastwood’s use of the empty chair was from how people use it in Bali.

In Bali, to stand in front of the empty chair is to reckon with your limits, and particularly with what you don’t know. But Eastwood and those who applauded him were driven by hubris, not humility. They claimed to know what Obama would say if he were in fact sitting in that chair, and of course the words they put in his mouth (including profanities) were words of their choosing, not his.

Maybe this is what Neil Diamond meant in “I Am I Said”:

“I am,” I said
To no one there
An no one heard at all
Not even the chair

Of course the chair didn’t hear. It was reckoning with your limits… or its limits. Or something.

I’m still not sure this piece isn’t a complete joke. Rather, I know that it is, but I can’t decide if it’s intentional or not. And lest you have any concerns:

My point is not that Obama is a God and should be treated with the reverence of one.

Duly noted!

Personally, I thought Eastwood’s performance was note perfect. His seeming rambling always rounded to a sharp point. Mark Steyn compared him to a jazz improvisor, but I think it was pure comic genius. Professor (racist code word alert!) Irwin Corey made a career out of this sort of performance.


Thank God He Hasn’t Slowed the Rise in the Oceans! [UPDATED]

Because we need a big honking tsunami right about now:

A man makes a sand sculpture with a likeness of President Barack Obama near the site of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina September 1, 2012.

Now I know why some religions ban graven images. That looks more like Nipsey Russell than Barack Obama.

Just another racist “dog whistle”?

Still think so?

Don’t call me a racist because I think the damned sand sculptor is a rank amateur. Or maybe he’s just not moved by his subject. Other subjects are just more inspirational, I guess:

As Buck mentions in the comments, the Democrats are getting rained out, when it was the Republicans who were supposed to suffer from the elements.

A torrential downpour that struck Charlotte Saturday afternoon damaged the Mount Rushmore-style sand sculpture bust of President Obama — an ominous beginning to what many fear is a plagued convention.

Workers were trying Saturday afternoon to reform the base of the sculpture, built from sand brought in from Myrtle Beach, S.C., pounding and smoothing out the sand that had washed off the facade of the waist-up rendering of the chief executive.

The sand sculpture was protected from above, and Mr. Obama’s face didn’t see too much damage. But the storm was so strong that its heavy winds blew the rain sideways, pelting the president’s right side and leaving the sand pockmarked and completely erasing his right elbow.

The symbolism groans under its own weight. He was pelted from the right, eroding his base. I’ll say. Republicans looked at Isaac and didn’t blink; Democrats are as a-scared of water as the Wicked Witch of the West.

PS: Where are the complaints about the carbon cost of bringing the sand from South Carolina to North Carolina? Maybe the sand is “better” in SC, but if them oceans don’t get lowered, all the sand will be underwater anyway.

PPS: Hahahaha!!!

The large Rushmore-style sculpture drew comparisons to Mr. Obama’s 2008 convention in Denver, when he accepted his party’s nomination on a stage that looked like a Greek temple.

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Hate Speech!

May I, Buck?


Initially, Barack had tuned out the presidential talk, too. But he was just as disappointed with the U.S. Senate as he had been with the state senate—he had gone to Washington to do big things, but he was a junior member of a slow, rule-bound, Republican-controlled body. ‘Shoot. Me. Now.’ he wrote to an aide, in the middle of a particularly long-winded oration. (The speaker was Senator Joe Biden.)

Isn’t that precious? The United States Senate was too small for him. He had served less than one term, only two years of which in the minority party, and he was already bored. Now, I know Joe Biden will do that to a person, but if your goal is really just to help people, can’t you find a way? And is the honor of serving as a US Senator really all washed away in a few months’ time? I’m surprised he still wants to be president. Emperor would be more fitting.

Anyhow, Joe got his own back:

Not such a big effing deal after all, eh Joe?

PS: Don’t you love how the mainstream media ferrets out these embarrassing episodes in Obama’s life? Me neither. This is from Jodi Kantor’s book, which ha been out only a few weeks. But the dog-eating story has been out there for years (even in his own voice on the book on tape!), and no one thought fit to mention it till just now! I haven’t read the thing, but maybe it has the same effect on readers that Obama’s speechifying has on Biden.

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Enough About Me, What Do You Think About Me?

What do you expect from the guy who gave the Queen of England an iPod loaded with his greatest speeches? (My favorite being “Present”.)

The State Department has bought more than $70,000 worth of books authored by President Obama, sending out copies as Christmas gratuities and stocking “key libraries” around the world with “Dreams From My Father” more than a decade after its release.

The U.S. Embassy in Egypt, for instance, spent $28,636 in August 2009 for copies of Mr. Obama’s best-selling 1995 memoir. Six weeks earlier, the embassy had placed another order for the same book for more than $9,000, federal purchasing records show.

About the same time, halfway around the world, the U.S. Embassy in South Korea had the same idea and spent more than $6,000 for copies of “Dreams From My Father.”

One month later, the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, spent more than $3,800 for hardcover copies of the Indonesian version of Mr. Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope,” records show.

A review of the expenditures in a federal database did not reveal any examples of State Department purchases of books by former Presidents George W. Bush or Bill Clinton. The purchases of Mr. Obama’s literary work mostly, but not always, took place in the months after Mr. Obama captured the White House.

To be fair, at $0.99, it’s a bargain.

But come on, people, be honest with yourselves. This guy’s self-love is pornographic. Those hagiographic photos of Obama need a blue dot over his face.


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