The Lighter Side of Obama

More than halfway through one of the grimmest elections in the history of the US presidency, we gratefully snatch at any source of innocent merriment we can find. Fortunately, there is something intrinsically ridiculous about Obama's retinue of starstruck devotees.

Even "Saturday Night Live", hardly a bastion of conservatism, has snickered at the slavish pandering of the media. And the hyperbolic praise of his devoted adherents verges on, or even wallows in, silliness.

Younger critics may liken Obama and his followers to a rock star surrounded by groupies. But I'm inclined to hark back to Victorian models of esthetic gurus, such as Oscar Wilde, with their bevies of gushingly adoring females. These were parodied in Gilbert and Sullivan's "Patience", wherein Bunthorne the poet has his entourage of "twenty love-sick maidens".

If you think I'm exaggerating the resemblance , consider Bunthorne's soliloquy   (wherein I've changed only two words): 

If you're anxious for to shine in the high politic line

as a man of stature rare,

You must get up all the germs of the transcendental terms,

and plant them everywhere.

You must lie upon the daisies and discourse in novel phrases

of your complicated state of mind,

The meaning doesn't matter if it's only idle chatter

of a transcendental kind.

And every one will say,

As you walk your mystic way,

"If this young man expresses himself in terms too deep for me,

Why, what a very singularly deep young man

this deep young man must be!"

Is this not the very essence of the high-sounding vaguery of Obamism?

And herein we may find not only the disease but the cure. Obama's Achilles' heel may be his apparent lack of humor. He manages to affect an occasional sally at wit but he has no lightness, no human saving sense of his own absurdity. He takes himself very seriously and insists that you do the same. In short he is a perfect Victorian: a prim, humorless self-important prig.

He even indulges, as prigs will, in [there ought to be a word for this] boasts that he seems to say jokingly but that he really thinks are true., such as when he 'playfully' stated that "everywhere Obama goes becomes Obama country".

This lack of humor and pompous self-importance is a weakness that should be exploited. Obama is a perfect target for satire. The very style of his speeches cries out for parody. His marvelously vague circumlocutions, such as his meandering double-talk about abortion, would need only a little exaggeration to make their duplicity and asininity apparent to any voter not blinded by the Glorious Vision.  

Obama has often parodied himself. Consider his victory speech :

"generations from now, we will be able to look back tell our children [with mounting excitement] this was the moment we began to provide care for the sick, good jobs for the jobless. This was the moment the rise of the oceans began to slow, our planet began to heal."

Surely this is not real. Such blatant egotism must be something Dickens made up and put in the mouth of Chadband or Pecksniff. If Obama really said this, we must make sure that the American public remembers it and thinks about it. Or consider his statement   that "nobody has spoken out more fiercely on the issue of anti-Semitism than I have." A man who says things like that is fair game for satire.

But remember, lay off Michelle. Her husband, with true Pecksniffian pomposity, has declared  her out of bounds. And well might he worry. Michelle is the Terry Kerry of 2008, whose every ill-thought word is pure gold for the opposition. Consider, among her many embarrassing gaffes, her recent speech in California:

"Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zone . . . Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual - uninvolved, uninformed."

No parodist could improve on that. Big Sister is watching you. It's scary but it's also funny.

Some observers claim that Obama is because is so popular and just too good. I think this may be an indirect way of saying that his race buys him immunity.

In the end, it may be our sense of humor that saves us from the Obamanation. The Obamas seem to utterly lack humility or humor. Hopefully, the American voting public will have enough to see through them-with a little help from the satirists and parodists among us.
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