October 25, 2012

“A Star Falls Over Chicago”

From your pen to God’s ears, Canada Free Press:

The Obama Campaign, that strange 4-year marriage of Generation X hipsters, inner city bosses, suburban college educated boomers longing for racial healing, Big Green businessmen and shady Saudis, appears to be finally sinking beneath the waves. It isn’t going out in a blaze of glory, but with mumbles of trending topics.

Obama was always a petty man and his campaign has descended into pointless pettiness, into Team Big Bird, binders full of women and bayonets and horses. Like so much hipster culture, it exists so that the participants can entertain each other with something that no one else thinks is funny or clever. And that elitism is precisely the point. It’s the last resort of losers who hide from their lack of taste behind walls of exclusivity.

Abandoning mass appeal, Obama is getting back to his roots of entertaining upper middle class college kids with his ‘hipness’; both actual college kids and the overgrown middle aged variety that make up the professional class of the mediacracy who treat the rest of the country the way that they treated the natives on their Peace Corps assignments.

The Obama Campaign was never serious, but it once aspired to an Oprah level of seriousness, to the dignity of the self-help sections where trite observations are recited with great solemnity so that they sound like they must mean more than they do.

For the Northeastern New York Times reader, Obama held out the promise of atonement for the country’s grave racial sins. For the San Francisco wind farm executive, he offered the prospect of a presidency that would be one long endless TED talk with plenty of subsidies for the cunning Greenvestor. And the college student would finally have a president who watched the same shows, listened to the same music and got the same jokes making him the perfect Resident Adviser for the country.

Two biographies and four years later those same people have learned that, like that party guest who mentions that he’s a nuclear physicist, a poet and an explorer of supernatural phenomena, Obama wasn’t actually interesting, he just seemed interesting in a cursory sort of way. Obama’s biography made him an interesting party guest, but not past a 5-minute chat, and it in no way qualified him to hold the country’ top job during an economic crisis and two wars.

Obama’s seriously intent tone, the one that signals you to pay attention, no longer works on even the faithful. Like Pavlov’s dogs, they have stopped coming once they realized that just because the bell rings doesn’t mean that dinner or a functional economy will be served. The weighty tone that he once used to deploy to great effect, borrowing the tricks of the preachers that he encountered in his huckstering days, has come to seem as empty as Oprah’s smile or Bill Clinton’s sincere head nod, just another of the tricks of hollow public personalities signifying nothing.

For years and years, he has talked and said nothing of any import. All the talk, the endless speeches and addresses, the verbal and facial tics that indicated seriousness of purpose, have never led to one single thing. Not one problem solved, not one crisis resolved and not one plan laid out and completed in four years with something to show for it.

Somewhere along the way, Obama became boring. He became that one man at a party that you don’t want to talk to because he will go on forever and all his chatter leads nowhere, because for all his conversational skills, he is capable of nothing but talk. And after talking to him for ten hours, you don’t know him any better than you did after ten minutes.

Voting for Obama was never the right choice objectively, but it was the right cultural choice, it was the trend, the impulse that everyone seemed to be following, the style that everyone was wearing and the book that everyone was reading. But trends like that don’t last. How many people will have Lady Gaga songs in their players or Fifty Shades of Grey on their bookshelves ten years from now? This too is the fate of the president of the trending topic, the commander-in-chief of the pet rock and the mood ring with his binders full of women and t-shirts with pictures of horses and bayonets on them.  […]

When times are bad, people have a well-known escapist streak. During the Great Depression, lavish musicals were popular. After September 11, Zoolander topped the box office. Facing two wars and a failed economy, the American people followed their own escapist streak to a smooth talking trickster with a soothing bag of promises that were too good to be true. Who wanted to listen to McCain, a man who looked like a walking war injury and kept talking about sacrifice, when you could get big bags of free stuff from a man who offered a post-racial society as a free gift with every vote.

Americans escaped to Obama and now they’re escaping from Obama. The vacation was already being cut short in 2012 and now it’s approaching its blackout date. Instead of taking Americans away from everything, Obama took everything away from them, and now they’re gearing up to take it all back and put him on a back shelf next to last summer’s beach reads and last decade’s pop hits.

Obama is over. And confronting his ‘overness’, that deadliest of fates for a hipster, he is crawling back to pander to his original audience, the graphic designers who put together posters of him on their free time; the celebrities who were eager to form his Jack Pack, to be his Joey Bishop or his Marylin Monroe; the musicians singing about him; the netroots bloggers cranking out their sensations of euphoric immediacy at being in his presence and the professional leftists cheering for him to take down the American Empire like Godzilla took down Tokyo.

But all the trending memes with hashtags and Tumblr pages, the calculatingly overexposed Instagram photos and the celebrities scribbling things on their hands and Twitpiccing the results, can’t bring back the thing that’s over. And even if they could, it won’t make a difference to the election. Hipsters like things that are different before they become popular, because it makes them seem like interesting people. Once something is popular then liking it no longer means that you’re interesting, instead it comes with the ego-deflating revelation that you are just like everyone else, except more so.

There’s no point to liking Obama anymore. Not when Obama is everywhere, more overexposed than Instagram, grinning from every corner, from every screen and magazine cover, selling out to get ahead and making the old faithfuls wonder if he ever stood for anything at all. Theirs is the sad burden of knowing that they will never have their own JFK who died, tragically and horrifyingly, before he could dive all the way into Vietnam, before stories of his carousing hit the papers forcing him to go on television and insist that he never had sex with any of those women.

Obama will not be immortalized by a Communist with a rifle. Instead he is doomed to be mortal, his hair turning white and his musical tastes turning worse. Any day now he will admit to a fondness for Kenny G and after that there will be no saving him from the dread ravages of time. And so he is over because the alternative to him being over is the tastemakers having to confront their own overness. Their own mortality.

[…]

The only thing sadder than a hipster is a wannabe hipster and that’s what Obama is now, a man in search of a meme, a one-man band in search of an artfully touching documentary about its travails in the wilds of Portland and a flat line in search of its trend.

Obama does not know how to govern. He does not know how to address the economy or war. The one thing he knows how to do is be popular. That is the one and only skill that he has cultivated in his life. And it is a good skill for a politician, but a politician whose only skill is popularity had better avoid taking responsibility for anything that might make him unpopular.

Popularity is a trend, and like every reality show star still pounding away on Twitter five years later, trying to move their latest CD or comedy club appearance, Oprah’s most popular boy toy since Dr. Oz has failed to realize that he is no longer popular, his moment has passed, his relevance is through and no one wants a man whose only skills are on-camera skills to be the one standing between them and economic oblivion.

The country doesn’t hate him, but it is tired of him. It wakes up every morning, remembers the time everyone got drunk and decided to vote for the cool black dude who talked a lot about hope, winces and then forgets about him all over again until it looks at the latest economic news. It’s over him and it wishes that he would show some dignity and walk away from a job that he isn’t qualified for on his own.

Obama has gotten desperate. His fundraising emails walk the thin line between emotional blackmail and hysteria. Increasingly they read like Cousin Larry phoning for bail money from Tijuana. Shrilly needy they demand that we pay attention to him, that we love him, adore him and spend money on him. They are the missives of a man who cannot conceive of a life outside the spotlight, the vapid fear of a celebrity who cannot confront the real world and cannot understand why their public is walking away.

In the last stages of his career, Obama has become Norma Desmond, waving around a social media gun and shouting, “No one leaves a star. That’s what makes one a star.” But the country has left and what they leave behind is a star falling from the sky over Chicago .

Superb piece. I’ve long referred to Obama as the faculty lounge President, but I’ll happily roll with RA-in-chief, as well.   But here’s the thing: to me, Obama was never cool, was never substantive, was never a man of gravitas, was never capable of being the post-political, post-racial healer he was sold as.   Instead, he was a man of constructs and mannered rhetorical tics; a man of tone, not of ideas.  He was a fraud, and to those who don’t find comfort in belonging to a hipster ethos — which is no different than belonging to, say, a chess club or band camp, only on a grander scale — he was a fraud who was trying to turn statism and tyranny into the new cool, the new black, if you will.

I was stunned that he was able to pull it off, frankly:  but then, most people who voted for him never made it past the social markers meant to woo them.  They heard the pop-cultural references and luxuriated in the smooth youth and Otherness they’d join in with, but they never stopped to listen to what they were be asked to turn into popular trends:  lunch menus designed by the First Lady; bans on big sodas; the nationalization of health care — a move that, in addition to raising taxes and reducing citizens to subjects, will in the end be used as the rationale behind every affront to individual liberty that will naturally grow out of it:  a little fat, are you?  Well, we give you free health care, so we have a right to ask you to sacrifice, to eat what we tell you, to exercise when we tell you, so that you’re thin and vibrant and healthy again — worthy of our investment in your health.  Old and infirm, are you?  Well, sorry, but we’ve provided you with free health care all your life.  It’s time to sacrifice for the greater good.  Your comfortable, managed demise will be painless — not to mention the ultimate act of selfless economic patriotism.  We salute you.  Now get on your ice block and let us push you off to sea.

None of these attacks on individual sovereignty were ever cool or hip. Rather, they were an attempt to turn collectivism into a hipster pose, and reduce individualism to a superficial denial of certain truths:  namely, that you didn’t build that, you aren’t ever going to be self-reliant, and that rugged individualism is a punch line, as trite and G-rated as an episode of Little House on the Prairie.

What happened that turned comformist statists chanting Obama’s name into the epitome of cultural hipness?  What made submission to the state an act of supposed defiance of The Man?

Nothing.  Except that nobody looked too deeply into what they were following, because what they were following fooled them with its packaging. As it was always intended to do.

Obama is the Arnold Friend president.

Have we woken up?  I guess we’ll know in a couple weeks.  Until then, however, I’m just going to hope the Canada Free Press article is correct, and that we’ll finally get the change we’ve needed ever since the Potemkin President took office, and it became obvious that he was to individual liberty and autonomy what Mark David Chapman was to a Beatles reunion tour.

(h/t serr8d)

 

 

 

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:50am
42 comments | Trackback

Comments (42)

  1. A-and, Warren Buffet defends Romney’s tax rate.

  2. I hope he goes down in the history books as the Tamagotchi President.

  3. serr8d gets the credit for this ‘un.

  4. Oops. Meant serr8d. Running out to go shooting, then parent-teacher conferences. Back later. Hold down the fort.

  5. I was stunned that he was able to pull it off, frankly: but then, most people who voted for him never made it past the social markers meant to woo them.

    While the fault lies squarely with the 69 million people who voted for him, I blame George Bush and John McCain. Bush never pushed back against the leftist demonization that made a Republican win impossible, and McCain never attacked Obama for what he is. The GOP set up his win and McCain conceded it to him long before the election.

    It wakes up every morning, remembers the time everyone got drunk and decided to vote for the cool black dude who talked a lot about hope, winces and then forgets about him all over again until it looks at the latest economic news.

    Bingo. First the reckless bender, now the hangover.

  6. You know, Clinton had the same thing going for him. He played saxophone. He was on the talk shows. He was hip. Not stuffy like that old Bush guy.

    Although compared to this clown we have now, Clinton was a fucking statesman.

  7. Clinton’s advantage was that he didn’t believe quite all of his own bullshit. He was able and willing to learn from adversity, because he’d come to terms with it in the past.

    Obama never did. It’s sad that in a civilized country a man has to learn about adversity at the age of 51.

    Sad — but I won’t weep for him.

  8. Clinton had been a beloved governor of his home state, as well. And, having no principles, was willing to compromise. On top of that, he is a smart mofo unlike Jugears.

  9. I was stunned that he was able to pull it off, frankly

    I wasn’t. Twenty years of Bush Clinton Bush. Hillary the frontrunner, extending the era to twenty-four or twenty-eight. Jeb Bush in the wings after that. People joking about Jeb’s son Prescott(?) and Chelsea running in another twenty years. Obama was the Hope for a Change from dynastic politics.

    Especially after McCain won.

    Hell, I remember hearing that McCain had wrapped it up and thinking Barak Obama was our only hope of avoiding another Clinton. Of course I threw up a little right after I thought that.

    The problem is that too many people didn’t throw up in their mouths. Not even a little bit.

  10. For years and years, he has talked and said nothing of any import. All the talk, the endless speeches and addresses, the verbal and facial tics that indicated seriousness of purpose, have never led to one single thing. Not one problem solved, not one crisis resolved and not one plan laid out and completed in four years with something to show for it.

    […]

    Facing two wars and a failed economy, the American people followed their own escapist streak to a smooth talking trickster with a soothing bag of promises that were too good to be true. Who wanted to listen to McCain, a man who looked like a walking war injury and kept talking about sacrifice, when you could get big bags of free stuff from a man who offered a post-racial society as a free gift with every vote.

    Which given the aggression that led to recent mortalities and the terminal degradation of wide swaths of the radical world and the wholesale wreckage of constitutional domestic rights and properties and the nation’s forcible rape by monied cronies is the charitable view of this narcissist.

    We’ve all known them and when they’re not reformed to some degree they are as self-unaware as they are without shame.

    A superb piece indeed. Perspective is the precursor to the only antidote to evil, which is to act vigorously, without further delay, and with the conviction of honorable, proven principle.

  11. While the fault lies squarely with the 69 million people who voted for him, I blame George Bush and John McCain. Bush never pushed back against the leftist demonization that made a Republican win impossible, and McCain never attacked Obama for what he is. The GOP set up his win and McCain conceded it to him long before the election.

    Thank you so very much Karl Rove and fellow Establicans.

  12. Love it – let’s start revising his compelling life story before his presidency even ends. The history books will not be kind to Obama.

  13. Everybody following Rush?

    Obama’s plan:

    Raise taxes by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. Cut defense by 1 trillion by doing nothing to prevent the sequestration from occuring.

    That’s Obama in a nutshell doing nothing and leading from behind.

    And John Boehner helped him get there.

  14. “Have we woken up?”

    At a surmise I’d have to say no, though this entails not limiting the question to a mere rejection of Obama but broadening it to having acquired the stance we many here held prior to Obama’s election: a capacity to see through his con-man shell; to see what was missing from his speeches in addition to judging his frilly promises against the touchstone of our political heritage; to ask how our polity should reestablish the political grounds on which the nation was built, grounds now long since abandoned by the great mass of the people; to ask how we restore teaching to teaching-in-fact in contradistinction to propagandizing-in-fact; and so on. No, I’d say, we haven’t awakened yet, not even should Mitt Romney handily win election: the nation hasn’t yet learned what questions to ask.

  15. Have we woken up?

    If the answer to that were “yes,” Obama never would have pulled within 40 points of a tattered gym shoe.

  16. Clinton was a fucking statesman.

    As a matter of fact, yes. Yes he was.

  17. literally!

  18. If the answer to that were “yes,” Obama never would have pulled within 40 points of a tattered gym shoe.

    – Patience…..For all those who danced happily down the path to pleasure Island, finally noticing their donkey ears and new tail is the first step.

    – Accepting thier mistake will take a bit longer.

  19. McGehee: He was able and willing to learn from adversity, because he’d come to terms with it in the past.

    leigh: having no principles, was willing to compromise.

    Leigh is closest. Clinton is also a malignant narcissist, but his narcissistic supply is to be loved and adored, not to be Savior of Mankind. He was willing to do whatever it took to stay popular, which was his one and only goal. When the GOP took over Congress, Clinton merely stuck his finger in the wind and followed where it led. I doubt very much that he has come to terms with his past, because if he were able to do that, he wouldn’t be a narcissist.

    Obama’s narcissistic supply is to Fix the World, hence his affinity for Alinsky and Ayers and Black Liberation Theology. His quest for popularity and coolness was a means to an end, not an end in itself.

    It’s sad that in a civilized country a man has to learn about adversity at the age of 51.

    Obama will learn nothing except that the American people are unworthy of his greatness. He will go to his grave believing that his demise owed solely to Republican lies and Tea Party perfidy and the deepness of the hole GWB left behind. (I read a lefty on Twitter say that Obama has an uphill climb, fighting both Romney and the MSM narrative. Srsly!)

    to see what was missing from his speeches

    A guest lecturer came to Cornell to pontificate on some topic, and florid though his speech was (and awful his gringo accent), he ended up saying exactly nothing. Each sentence on its own sounded like it might lead somewhere interesting, but then the next sentence failed to elaborate on its predecessor.

    Only one of my colleagues noticed how empty it was; everyone else gushed about it. Later, that same lecturer gave a guest course that I took, and sure enough, the guy could go on and on and on without saying jack and without anyone seeming to notice (especially himself). He’d mastered the lingo and the tropes but couldn’t manage to clothe any substantial ideas in them.

    Obama’s speeches are similarly empty, except when he is sugar-coating statist principles in anodyne pap. Having taught introductory, college-age literature courses, I can testify that reading/listening comprehension is not a skill the populace-at-large holds. People have a hard time ingesting the totality of the rhetoric: they fixate on discrete phrases instead of following the thread of logic (or lack thereof) from beginning to end.

    I guess people don’t spend enough time reading when they’re young. I was a bookworm; I learned to comprehend.

  20. I was never a foreign language hardcorist, but I’ve cursorily studied a bunch of them and I think I found this: studying how other languages work taught me mostly about my own and the obscure things there I’d not learned or noticed. As to the books, struggling with the hard ones is the best damn practice for dealing with everything else. It seems sometimes like there’s simply no other way to bump into everything else.

  21. Di, I didn’t say he would learn — only that, at age 51, he still has to. Perhaps I should have said, “has yet to.”

  22. The governor returns backstage and he is smiling and shaking hands, taking congratulations from everybody around him. He’s saying how great it was. Somebody yells out he’s going to win Colorado and the governor laughs and says he thinks so too. And then something very interesting happens. He moves away from the group of people just a bit. Maybe ten or fifteen feet or so. Just enough to have a little space to himself. And enough people notice that the area gets a lot more quiet, and they are trying to watch the governor without looking like they are watching the governor. They can all kind of tell something is happening right then. It was described as something very peaceful and powerful that came over that backstage area for a moment. And the governor, he lowers his head and his eyes shut tight and you could see him take a slow deep breath and then he lets it out and says quietly, but just loud enough for some to hear, “Lord, if this is your will, please help to make me worthy. Please give me the strength Lord.” And then his eyes open up, and he’s back to smiling and laughing and shaking hands and being the candidate once again.

    I’m 100% convinced Mitt Romney was shaken to his soul right then and there. I think at that moment it was sinking in he might really be the next American president, and it humbled him right to his core, in every nerve of his body. And as he was saying that little prayer, you could hear the sound of thunder from all those thundersticks outside. Like this huge low rumble that just surrounded all of them at once. A quiet little prayer, and the sound of thunder.

    The sound of God.

    link

  23. After spending four semesters as an adjunct instructor for an “Introduction to Public Speaking” class, I learned firsthand that many people conflate inflated vocabulary with substance. A few students caught on to the fact that I consistently took points away for rampant thesaurusitis, but most seemed unable or unwilling to grasp the idea that bullshit cloaked in flowery language is still bullshit.

    The connection between this phenomenon and Obama’s popularity is left as an exercise for the reader.

  24. I think at that moment it was sinking in he might really be the next American president, and it humbled him right to his core, in every nerve of his body.

    Compare/contrast that with the little lord Fauntleroy’s Il Duce impressions over the past four years.

  25. John Bolton is on Cavuto laughing at Colin Powell’s endorsement of Il Duce.

    Powell must have slept through the last two years.

  26. So the RNC is headed by R. Priebus, the VP candidate is Paul Ryan, the Governor of Wisconsin is Scott Walker — and we’re supposed to believe these people will stand by as Barack Obama carries Wisconsin? The fuck.

  27. I heard someone this morning say Wisconsin is the new Ohio (or Oiho).

  28. Powell must have slept through the last two years.

    leigh, leigh leigh,

    Bros before (political) Hos

    sweetheart… I’m disappointed

  29. Don’t be, Ernst. You know me well enough to spot the sarcarsm.

  30. Has there been a Democratic president in the last 30 years who hasn’t been a fraud? Obama, was a guy that never had to fight for a thing he had. Clinton was a shallow womanizer who thought with his dick. Carter was an affable Southern wimp. Almost President Al was a narcissistic pseudo-intellectual hypocrite who got to where he was on the strength of daddy’s name and rep.

    Democrats don’t have strong winning leaders in their parties. The press just manages to pull the wool over peoples eyes just enough to drag their candidate over the finish line. Republicans lose when they nominate good men that are ultimately squishes- Dole and McCain. I’m convinced if it wasn’t for the press, we’d never have another democratic president.

  31. You left Establicans, Rinos and No Labels buffoons off your list Matt.

    You know, the kinds of Republicans who’d rather vote for a Democrat than have to defend a conservative to their fellow sophisticates.

  32. sdferr, nothing taught me English like taking Latin for the first time in college.

  33. It’s sad that in a civilized country a man has to learn about adversity at the age of 51.

    He is going to be getting paid six figures a pop to give the same campaign speech he has been giving for years for free, not to mentiion all the consulting/lobbying money.

    I don’t really consider that adversity.

  34. heh, it’s hard to say he gave it for free — not least on account of he’s aiming at enslaving people thereby.

  35. Obama is a perfect embodiment of everything Jon Stewart has worked so very hard to instill in our politics.

    And perhaps this will be but an ephemeral moment, but goddamn it was a glorious revelation of how eagerly Americans will debase themselves and their pitiful brokedick little country.

  36. Blackout . . .

    . . . of Benghazi

    Better though . . .

    Blackout . . .

    . . . for Benghazi

  37. Clinton was a fucking statesman.

    As a matter of fact, yes. Yes he was.

    I just got home from a dinner with a loud Democrat (as loud as me, anyway), wherein I found out that Monica Lewinsky was a plant to entrap Clinton into lying under oath.

    Sumthin’ new every day, eh?”

  38. studying how other languages work taught me mostly about my own and the obscure things there I’d not learned or noticed,

    Damn straight. I only know English grammar to the extent I do because of Spanish and the smidgen of Latin I caught. English is SO uninflected that we can slap the same word into just about any slot without changing its form. I’m helping supervise the translation of our GUI into six languages, and our simple little lables end up getting translated in the weirdest ways because there are no cues to indicate which is verb and which adjective.

    They’re translating the raw PO files from which the software grabs the screen labels, so they can’t see where a phrase shows up (not that it would help; the translators know nothing about technology). The term Display Filter came back as verb + direct object more often than not, even though it is adjective + noun: the filter for the display, not a command to display the filter.

    With English you can’t tell; in the other languages you usually can. I just sent them the phrase “Portable Executable Scanner” and had to explain that it’s “a scanner for executables that are portable.” Who knows what they’d have come up with otherwise.

    Our latest linguistic foray is into Arabic, and the RtL stuff is playing hell with the embedded HTML. I keep seeing <b/>thingythingy<b> and have to stop myself from correcting it. If I hit backspace it deletes the letter in back, and delete erases the letter in front. Even Japanese is easier to deal with.

  39. I’ve never heard a convincing reason for why people who don’t speak English should even have computers. They shouldn’t be dicking around playing Minesweeper when there’s English to be learned…

    7-bit ASCII, it’s all you need, and then some.

  40. I do wonder if people are starting to wake up to the fact that feeling good != the right thing, when something like that can be written in the CSSR.

  41. It could always be written in samizdat. This was published. That’s what means something.

  42. Pingback: PART TWO; DANIEL GREENFIELD…THE WEEK THAT WAS | RUTHFULLY YOURS

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