Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Hokey Folky Pokey: Day Three

The United States of Cognitive Dissonance

 It is perhaps ironic and fitting that "American Gothic" by Grant Wood was painted in Iowa and was originally meant as a satiric vision of dour hard-workin' folks in the Heartland.  Iowans themselves were reportedly mightily ticked that a painting was making fun of them.  But famous works of art have a tendency to take on lives of their own after awhile, and the painting soon became an emblem of pro-Americanism.  And Iowans got their come-uppance by devising a satiric political scam of their own in the form of a pay-to-play, pick-a-prez straw poll.

Obama himself took on a meaning during his campaign that had little to do with any core principles of his own (he appears to have none) but everything to do with slick marketing and a gullible public hungry for change and grateful for a silver oratorical tongue to replace the chronic false folksiness of the villainous and speech-impaired George W. Bush.

Now, nearly three years after his election, Obama has unbelievably devolved from Dream Candidate to a bumbling Bush clone, complete with the down-home fakery and mumbling excuses of why he can't.  Instead of clearing brush at the ranch, he's posing Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-style on a haystack in front of a red barn.

His million dollar not-a-campaign bus tour through Minnesota and Iowa and Illinois is about two and half days too long at this point.  The man is a parody of every windrip of a politician who ever dropped a G and wiped the sweat from his brow with an expensive linen handkerchief.  And the pivot from man of the people to pampered elitist vacationing in Martha's Vineyard in less than a day is jarring, to say the least.  The Man must bask, golf, give Michelle "90 percent of what she wants" before he deigns to address the American people on an actual jobs program post-Labor Day.  I guess to do it before Labor Day would remind people that workers and would-be workers really have nothing to celebrate this year.  Unemployment is actually candy-coated at 9.1 percent.  The respected think tank "Shadow Government" is putting it closer to 25 percent.... worse than the worst months of the Great Depression.

It was Noam Chomsky who warned us to beware of the folksy politician.  "When a politician uses the word 'folks' get ready for the next series of lies," he said of Obama in 2009.

Official White House Propaganda Photos: The Law of Unintended Meanings


William said...

I can't even contemplate Obama today. He's just a living, breathing symptom of the problem. I'd rather look a little deeper, if y'all will indulge me. It won't take long.

The unquenchable avarice of the powerful is the unrelentingly pernicious force behind all of society's ills. The filthy rich have had enough of this New Deal, Fair Deal, Great Society bullshit. They want it ALL and they want it NOW. And, as George Carlin presciently said, they're going to get it too. The only difference I can see between the world today and just a few short years ago is they don't even bother to hide it anymore.

Here's George for anyone who hasn't seen it yet:

Here's the powerful documentary I posted yesterday. For some reason it takes about 20 seconds to begin, but I believe it's worth the wait. Especially if the frightening prospect of Bachmann-Perry Overdrive has you considering dusting off your HOPE posters for 2012. Have a nice day.

Denis Neville said...

Obama has absolutely no understanding of the reason to take action. He is the Underground Man without a fundamental core.

"I could not become anything; neither good nor bad; neither a scoundrel nor an honest man; neither a hero nor an insect. And now I am eking out my days in my corner, taunting myself with the bitter and entirely useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot seriously become anything, that only a fool can become something.” - Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground

Valerie said...

I feel the same way about Obama that I felt about Clinton. Now that I know what he is really like, I can't stand the sight of Obama and have nothing but disgust for his disingenuous tour of the Heartland. If Obama actually gave a crap about the farmers in this area he would keep companies like Monsanto from dominating world seed production and he would fight to keep Big Agra from running out small family farmers and ruining the economies of the small rural towns. Does anyone actually believe this hypocrite’s rhetoric?

Kat said...

@ Denis: Great quote!
Caught some of the CBS interview of Obama that they will be broadcasting in its entirety on Sunday. The man is still talking about "headwinds" (emanating from Europe and Japan of course).
The NY Stenographer had a piece today ("western officials" provide all the information) about Al Quaeda's presence in Nigeria. It does look like endless war is Obama's only jobs program of note.

Kat said...

BTW-- did you catch Obama's analogy concerning "shared sacrifice"? He can't tell Michelle to stop buying dresses and shoes if he isn't going to give up his golf clubs. Tone deaf to say the least.

Valerie said...

I don't think Obama realises how elitist he sounds when he talks about cutting back on Michelle's fashion wardrobe and his golf clubs. Both are total luxury items. Social Security and Medicare, on the other hand, are necessities for the bulk of Americans who depend on them - Hardly a fair comparison.

Does anyone remember that clown that worked for AIG who didn't get his million dollar bonus and whined to the NY Times about it? The Times published his letter in the opinion section. Obama’s analogy has the same, out of touch with Main Street, aspect to it.

4Runner said...

Golfing---yuck! As an athlete, I totally disdain and despise this so-called "sport". Let's see, you pay exorbitant greens fees plus golfcart rental to transport your body weight plus expensive bagful of overpriced clubs. After 18 holes of folly you repair to the snooty clubhouse to discuss Republican values and drink yourself silly. No thanx, I'd rather do my daily barefoot run on the beach. Look, ma, no equipment required!!

Kat said...

@ Valerie:
Not to mention that "shared sacrifice" means we're supposed to give up stuff that keeps us from destitution while our oligarchs are giving up, well, nothing really! I mean geez, how much money do you need? It is a class of people that does not know the meaning of the word "enough". But yeah, the golf clubs and the little missus's fashions are a useful analogy too!

Karen Garcia said...

I am not going to write a big post about this,(just wait for Fox and Friends) - but if you want elitist, the local Cape Cod rag is reporting that Michelle and the kids took a separate plane to the Vineyard, and then hubby and Bo followed an hour or two later on Air Force One. Either she is sick of the publicity, or she just can't stand him any more. Who cares, as long as the taxpayers didn't have to foot the bill for both planes. It's the optics, people!

Jay - Ottawa said...

Disasters and Indifference of biblical proportions in their contrast deserve riffs like this from the pen of a modern. I understand Sitwell wrote it under the London Blitz of 1941:

Still falls the Rain

At the feet of the Starved Man hung upon the Cross.

Christ that each day, each night, nails there, have mercy on us—

On Dives and on Lazarus:

Under the Rain the sore and the gold are as one.[

-- Edith Sitwell

John in Lafayette said...

Why so judgmental, there, 4runner? I play golf. My friends and I walk our way around the 7,000 yards of public courses in South Louisiana in 90+ degree heat and 70+ percent humidity. Then we repair to the decidedly working class clubhouse to enjoy a beer or two. Or three.* In our town the snooty Republicans hang out at one of two health clubs where they....wait for it.....go jogging.

The activity is what you make of it.

Which is a roundabout way of saying playing golf doesn't make Obama an elitist. Anything can be turned into an elitist activity, as long as you can safely exclude other people from taking part. Anyone can jog, but not just anyone can jog at City Club. I imagine attendance at Columbia and Harvard had more to do with Obama's elitism than a bagful of Callaways.

Unfortunately, government has become an elitist activity. Moneyed interests have figured out no end of ways to ensure that the large majority of the populace can be excluded from participation. There isn't an argument in the world powerful enough to move a Paul Ryan or a Mitch McConnell without enough money behind it. Our only option is to either raise a whole bunch of money or, better yet, get the money out of politics altogether. Let's start with public financing of elections.

* Check out Gary McCord's book "Just a Range Ball in a Box of Titleists" for some funny stories about life on the public courses. I particularly enjoyed the story of the tournament that paired players with their ex-husbands/wives. McCord is no Tolstoy, but the stories are highly entertaining, especially if you enjoy golf.

Kat said...

@John-- and as for elitism and obsession with equipment I think cyclists take the cake!
Plus, why do they all seem so humorless?

Karen Garcia said...

I will have to show these comments to my son, who is both an avid golfer (public courses, wearing a $25 Izod polo shirt from JC Penney, set of clubs from Tar-zhay,) and mountain biker (public protected lands). So, the bike cost him more than my first car, but who's quibbling. It's all exercise, and it doesn't pollute. (unless accompanied by beer).

Kat said...

Ah, Sorry Karen! (I'm sure your son will be devastated by the thoughts of random crank on your blog.) I was just thinking of the bikers I run into on our bike path. And actually, my perceptions of them are clouded by my prejudices. Even if they are pleasant, I'm busy thinking "what's with the costume?". Perhaps I will try to be less cranky. This will take some effort.