Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Someone Else's Party

The dread day is finally here, Obama becomes God-Emperor.
I opened the front page of my local newspaper, the Houston Chronicle this morning and immediately wanted to vomit. The paper version features a giant picture of the Supreme Leader, with the headline "A Day for Change," with the Presidential oath from the Constitution in script below -- the oath highlighted by tiny pictures of Obama's predecessors. The accompanying article by "Chronicle News Services" tells us that:
The inauguration of the youthful and popular new president -- and the departure of the incumbent, George W. Bush -- will set off a potentially dramatic shift in direction on policies, from the wars abroad to the role of the federal government at home, and a change in tone, with the rise of a new generation more prone to problem solving than to ideological conflict.
Gee. am I reading the Houston Chronicle published in Houston, Texas, USA, or is this from Pravda or Izvestia in Soviet times, or from the Völkischer Beobachter? The fawning, gushing, breathless tone of all the coverage; the pictures of the Leader everywhere, the kitschy souvenirs we are assured will be sentimental treasures in the future. Are we getting a new public official, or is Obama God? Do people know the difference?
We have no choice but to accept the people's verdict. Obama is going to get his chance, but that doesn't mean some of us have to like it. The Obamaites should enjoy their party: they earned it. But they can keep their change, and their Kool-Aid, thank you.


realityunwound said...

Hey Big Boss. Glad I stumbled on your blog, great stuff! I took today off of beating up on King Barry the Hopeful, but I'm glad that you're out there firing away. Great stuff.

Have you seen the commercial with Ashton Kutcher and his pseudo-celebrity friends vowing to "serve my president." Holy Crap. I keep waiting for the uber-picture to be hung in every town square in the country.

Keep sounding the voice of reason! Oh, and vote out Sheila Jackson Lee. That lady is crazy. I'm subscribing and looking forward to reading more!

The Kitchen said...

El Jefe - I love your blog!!

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Not that I disagree in ANY way, shape or form, but how in the HELL did you get an umlaut into Blogger??


El Jefe Maximo said...

Der BZ,

Copy the umlaut elsewhere, and paste...

The Girl You Don't Bring Home to Momma said...

Well put.....you nailed it. Couldn't have put that better if I said it myself.

El Jefe Maximo said...

Why thank you Girl Who...

LFC said...

The reference to the Volkischer Beobachter (sorry for missing umlauts) is in extremely poor taste, imo, in the sense that the Houston Chronicle's doing a bit of editorializing on its front page does not make it equivalent to the Nazi party organ. Ditto the references to Pravda and Izvestia.
This whole post leaves something of a bad taste. I can assure you that the vast, vast majority of people who voted for Obama do not see him as God or the Messiah. This conceit might have been amusing once or twice, but may I suggest it's become a bit stale? It is possible to dislike Obama intensely (and you are of course entitled to do so) without impugning all those who voted for him as a bunch of starry-eyed sheep.

El Jefe Maximo said...


Your comment is worthy of response, but I crave your indulgence: real life intervenes this evening. But a response is coming.

El Jefe

El Jefe Maximo said...


I wonder if you have seen the issue of the Chronicle that I was complaining about? If you have not, I must say that I think your condemnation of my post’s comparison of the issue with something out of the Völkischer Beobachter or of Pravda or Izvestia. is on its face a little unfair, although taste is certainly not an objectivly provable quality.

As it happens, there is ready internet access to a front page of the Völkischer Beobachter to use for discussion purposes. Wikipedia’s page on the Nazi newspaper contains a photograph of the 20th April 1945 issue of that paper – one of the last before the paper finally (and thankfully) ceased publication.

The front page’s main topic is Hitler’s birthday (you should be able to zoom-in a little) The headline, (as best my pidgin German can tell) proclaims that Germany stands steadfast and true behind its Führer, and an accompanying article by Dr. Goebbels (he of the poison tongue) proclaims Hitler the “man of the century.”

Now the Chronicle’s not the Völkischer Beobachter, at least not up to now, but the inauguration day coverage really made me wonder. The whole front page is one giant paean to Obama. The simpering, gushing positively hagiographic tone of the front page of the news section of a major American newspaper – not the editorial or op-ed pages – ought to be troubling to anybody. The huge headline proclaiming a “ day for change” and a heroic retouched photo of the Great One is a bit too propagandistic for me (hence the reference to the three propaganda rags) even if the Chronicle (as it did) endorsed Obama.

Next you tax me with the “conceit” of lampooning Obama’s supporters for thinking of him as God or the Messiah. But it is Obama himself who has gone out of his way to cultivate the cult of celebrity, to set himself up as an ersatz Messiah to the credulous. It was Obama who adopted the pseudo presidential seal; Obama who chose the faux Greek temple to make his nomination acceptance speech; Obama who chose the colonnaded backdrop of the Brandenburg Gate for an American presidential speech (only to be told by the dubious German authorities he’d have to settle for the Siegessäule instead; Obama who talked both in Berlin and elsewhere about “remaking the world,” It’s not McCain or anybody else who spent a year aping JFK and MLK, and then arrived at Washington and departed so he could ride back into town on Lincoln’s train, and take the Presidential oath on Lincoln’s Bible.

Were that not enough, we have the edifying pictures of thousands of Obama’s supporters greeting his advent at the Washington ceremonies with chants of “Oh-bam-a” like he was God or a rock-star (to some perhaps the same thing) and booing his predecessor.

While we're on the subject of booing, it is indeed possible, as you put it, to "dislike Obama intensely." I'm not sure I'm there yet: I'm started on that road, but I haven't yet arrived -- I don't know enough about the man. Nobody does, for that matter. "Disapproval" is probably a more correct characterization of my view, and that's certainly my view of the type of supporters I saw in evidence on inauguration day -- na-naing President Bush and chanting the Great One's name.

In any event, when Obama stops acting like he thinks he’s Lincoln reincarnated, and so many of his very well-heeled supporters stop acting like he’s God, maybe I’ll drop the conceit (as you put it) of calling him the Messiah, and thinking so many (not all, I grant you, but many) of his supporters “starry-eyed sheep.”

LFC said...

El Jefe,
1) No, I didn't see the Chronicle. It sounds as if it did go a bit overboard on the front page, judging from your description.
2) The people booing Bush at the inauguration were way out of line from a protocol standpoint (you don't boo an outgoing president, no matter what you think of him, at his successor's inauguration), but, I think, were a minority. Obama's taking the oath on the Lincoln Bible did not bother me at all; it's evidence of his sense of history. True, he does have a rock-like star image in some quarters which perhaps he has cultivated, but to be a rock star is not to be the Messiah.
Now that the campaign is over and the real work has begun, I suspect that attitudes on all sides will become more realistic: he's not the Messiah, he's not the devil incarnate, he's a skillful politician and a smart person who, with a bit of luck, could turn out to be a very good president. I hope so, at any rate.