Having already established that George Will is a blithering idiot who creates a thin veneer of intelligence with diction, word choice, and tie selection his eventual FJMing was all but inevitable. His tendency to write things so rambling, forgettable, and devoid of substance has delayed the process for more than a year, but his latest exercise in autofellatio ("Olympic Gold for Narcissism") surpasses my admittedly high standards for a pride-obliterating verbal bitchslapping. In an ideological movement composed almost entirely of histrionics and bullshit this Olympics thing has to qualify as the biggest non-event in the history of efforts to manufacture scandal. It's so stupid that the hearts of the pundits don't really seem to be into it; it's like they are going through the motions. Except for Owl Man. Owl Man is legitimately lathered up. I hope you're ready for a white-knuckle ride on Six Flags' newest adventure coaster, George Will's Retardinator.
In the Niagara of words spoken and written about the Obamas' trip to Copenhagen, too few have been devoted to the words they spoke there. Their separate speeches to the International Olympic Committee were so dreadful, and in such a characteristic way, that they might be symptomatic of something that has serious implications for American governance.
"Niagara of words." Huh. Looks like George Will is about to criticize someone for verbosity. George Will. The man who can't order a pizza in less than 800 words. If only there were some sort of analogy involving cookware that applied to this situation.
Both Obamas gave heartfelt speeches about … themselves. Although the working of the committee's mind is murky, it could reasonably have rejected Chicago's bid for the 2016 games on aesthetic grounds — unless narcissism has suddenly become an Olympic sport.
Really? That's weird. I'd have thought they would speak about the Olympics. Hmm. I wonder if this is…nah. Owl Man would never distort the President's words. Yep, I just found a transcript of Obama's speech. It is entirely about him. He starts with 20 minutes about how much he can bench press before regaling the committee with tales of how he makes the sun rise each morning. Michelle mostly talked about how her husband is hung like a mastodon, although she did note that her farts cure AIDS and cancer.
In the 41 sentences of her remarks, Michelle Obama used some form of the personal pronouns "I" or "me" 44 times. Her husband was, comparatively, a shrinking violet, using those pronouns only 26 times in 48 sentences. Still, 70 times in 89 sentences was sufficient to convey the message that somehow their fascinating selves were what made, or should have made, Chicago's case compelling.
Huh. Well, people often give speeches in the first person. In fact, I'm not entirely clear on another way to do it. When lecturing it's possible to avoid using first person, but was he supposed to be lecturing them? I think the purpose was to make a subjective argument in an effort to persuade the people on the committee. Under such circumstances I suppose one might use a phrase like "I believe Chicago is the best choice…" or so on.
You know, narcissistic crap like that.
In 2008, Obama carried the three congressional districts that contain Northern California's Silicon Valley with 73.1, 69.6 and 68.4 percent of the vote. Surely the Valley could continue its service to him by designing software for his speechwriters' computers that would delete those personal pronouns, replacing them with the word "sauerkraut" to underscore the antic nature of their excessive appearances.
Oh George, you wit! I'm beta testing the software as we speak. Mine is programmed to replace "George Will" with "asshammer." As you can see from this post, the kinks are still being worked out.
And — this will be trickier — the software should delete the most egregious cliches sprinkled around by the tin-eared employees in the White House speechwriting shop. The president told the Olympic committee that: "At this defining moment," a moment "when the fate of each nation is inextricably linked to the fate of all nations" in "this ever-shrinking world," he aspires to "forge new partnerships with the nations and the peoples of the world."
This really is a new thing, the idea of Presidents using cliches. Seriously. Brand new. I hear that Ronald Reagan didn't even have speeches written for him. Every word, spontaneous and off-the-cuff.
Good grief. The memory of man runneth not to a moment that escaped being declared "defining" — declared such by someone seeking to inflate himself by inflating it. Also, enough already with the "shrinking" world, which has been so described at least since Magellan set sail, and probably before that.
What were you saying about a "Niagara of words," Owl Man? Anything to work in a Magellan reference, I suppose. Americans relate to Magellan, unlike that fucking asshole Vasco da Gama. Just trust me on this one, G-Dub: don't mention Vasco da Gama. Americans love their 16th Century conquistadors, but as a people we have been known to fly into a blind rage and uproot the nearest tree at the mere mention of that Portuguese dickwad.
And by the way, the "fate" of — to pick a nation at random — Chile is not really in any meaningful sense "inextricably linked" to that of, say, Chad.
It betrays Owl Man's ignorance of international relations to see how casually he disregards the geostrategic importance of Chileo-Chadian relations, which I believe are currently at an all time low after the Chileans pulled the plug on that undersea tunnel to Chad.
But meaningful sense is often absent from the gaseous rhetoric that makes it past White House editors — are there any? — and onto the president's teleprompter.
Ha ha! He uses speechwriters and a teleprompter! George W. Bush not only refused to, but he once choked an intern unconscious for asking him if he'd like a teleprompter. He grabbed 19 year old Patrick Henry College sophomore Gideon Kleindorfer by the throat and roared "GET THAT FUCKING THING OUT OF MY FACE! I SPEAK AS I LIVE: WITH HONOR, INTEGRITY, AND SELF-RELIANCE."
Consider one recent example: Nine days before speaking in Copenhagen, the president, addressing the United Nations General Assembly, intoned: "No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation." What was the speechwriter thinking when he or she assembled that sentence? The "should" was empty moralizing; the "can" was nonsense redundantly refuted by history. Does our Cicero even glance at his speeches before reading them in public?
Good one, George. Tell us more, seeing as how the party that brought us George W. Bush, Bobby Jindal, and Sarah Palin clearly has the moral high ground here. Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin, who George Will has defended in print and who, without speechwriters and a teleprompter, sounds like Chewbacca while his hemorrhoids are being lanced.
Becoming solemn in Copenhagen, Obama said: "No one expects the games to solve all our collective problems." That's right, no one does. So why say that? Then, shifting into the foggy sentimentalism of standard Olympics blather, he said "peaceful competition between nations represents what's best about our humanity" and "it brings us together" and "it helps us to understand one another."
If only McCain/Palin had won. God, what salad days for rhetoric and great oratory we would be living right now.
Actually, sometimes the Olympic games are a net subtraction from international comity.
That's why we should have elected McCain, who would have stridently campaigned against the Olympics. The IOC would have come close to begging, "Please, Mr. President! Let us put the games in Chicago!" and he's look them square in the eye and tell them to kiss his withered old ass before pistol-whipping IOC chairman Jacques Rogge on the convention dais.
But Obama quickly returned to speaking about … himself:
"Nearly one year ago, on a clear November night, people from every corner of the world gathered in the city of Chicago or in front of their televisions to watch the results of the U.S. presidential election. Their interest wasn't about me as an individual. Rather, … "
It was gallant of the president to say to the Olympic committee that Michelle is "a pretty big selling point for the city." Gallant, but obviously untrue. And — this is where we pass from the merely silly to the ominous — suppose the president was being not gallant but sincere. Perhaps the premise of the otherwise inexplicable trip to Denmark was that there is no difficulty, foreign or domestic, that cannot be melted by the sunshine of the Obama persona. But in the contest between the world and any president's charm, bet on the world.
What could possibly be your point, George? What was he supposed to be saying? Did the other nations' figureheads – they were all there, by the way – whip out PowerPoint slides, revenue projections, and a cost-benefit analysis? Hmm. I'd be willing to bet that they did the rhetorical equivalent of the "jerking off" motion one would make to amuse one's friends during a speech by George Will.
Presidents often come to be characterized by particular adjectives: "honest" Abe Lincoln, "Grover the Good" Cleveland, "energetic" Theodore Roosevelt, "idealistic" Woodrow Wilson, "Silent Cal" Coolidge, "confident" FDR, "likable" Ike Eisenhower. Less happily, there were "Tricky Dick" Nixon and "Slick Willie" Clinton. Unhappy will be a president whose defining adjective is "vain."
"Grover the Good"??? Who is the name of sweet baby Jesus refers to Grover F-ing Cleveland as "Grover the Good"? Cleveland. The man whose only accomplishment was being a pitiful nonentity of a President on two nonconsecutive occasions.
But yes, history will surely remember Obama as "Barack the Vain" or perhaps "Barack the Vain Nigerian Muslim." And you know what? I'd take that in a heartbeat over how future generations are going to remember his predecessor, not to mention his would-be successors to the Republican throne.