Wednesday, 11 February 2009

‘He’s so dreamy!” *Swoon*

Occasionally, ‘CiF’ throws up a column that you are sure must be a parody, because you can’t quite believe that any sane human being could write something like this in her private diary, never mind a public blog visited by thousands upon thousands of readers daily.

So it is with Anna Shapiro’s gushing column about Barack Obama:
Little did I know in November, though, that, as of January 20, I'd be waking in the middle of the night worrying about how the man we'd voted for would manage – worrying how he'd even sleep. Even as I marvelled at how many great things he managed to set in motion within the first 24 hours – 24 hours! – I flinched at the sight of headlines making innuendoes about his connection to Blagojevich; complaining of former Clinton or Bush pols in his administration; questioning the investigation into official standards regarding methods of interrogation even as Obama scheduled the closing of Guantánamo and the immediate end of torturing; criticising the stimulus package as too broad or too limited; complaining that healthcare for another 8 million children was far too little; and hey, where was that puppy he promised?
Blimey! I bet the Secret Service are pouring over this column, in case she ever takes a trip to Washington. Shades of ‘Play Misty For Me’…
I tell myself it's just the hurly-burly of politics. I tell myself he's a strong guy; he can take it. I tell myself it's just the worst aspect of journalism, always manufacturing controversy and matters to deplore, and that it will be here today and gone tomorrow. But I identify with Obama's need to heal rifts, and so it tears me apart: all this tearing apart. Hasn't he got enough troubles? Must he part the Red Sea?
Well, he did suggest that upon his inauguration coronation, the seas would cease to rise, Anna…
But it's more personal, and at least as preoccupying as my friend Mark's former arguments. I wake up at 4am and wonder if Obama is awake at 4am. I wonder how he decides what to do first and what to do second and what to do third. I wonder when he gets to read, and if there will be time for anything besides policy papers. I want to take care of him. And I realise that started as far back as the first time I saw him on a platform in front of a crowd of people.

I could hardly bear to see him and Michelle in the Inaugural parade, they looked so exposed, even while I ate up every image. Someone who was at the Inauguration wrote me that, when Obama got out of the car, in front of her, she thought: "Wow, he is really tall! And then, 'Get back in the car, please – protect yourself!' Someone protect him. The woman next to me was actually saying this, crying. God save him, she is calling, don't let anyone hurt him. Why did we feel this personal protectiveness, which I have never, ever felt before for a politician? My own multiracial family has its story of rootlessness, immigration, abandonment and stability – so I think that he is me, too, my other half. I still have to fight not to see all this through a set of crosshairs."
*makes twirling motion with fingers by ear* She’s pretty much lost it, at this point, as the commenters are happy to point out to her.
So it's not just my own preoccupation or identification. We want to ward off harm – whether it comes from callous reporters or violent fanatics or just the bad luck of our times and their vast problems which no one can know for sure how to cure.
Yup, any problems for the Blessed Barack will be down to those dastardly reporters or sheer bad luck – nothing will be allowed to sully the image of His Magnificence or attach to his decisions.

If he can’t reverse inflation, heal America’s image abroad and cause the sick to take up their beds and walk, it’s because the job was just too much for even the Messiah to overcome. Someone’s subconscious, at least, is aware of the perils of putting one’s faith in a Chicago politician…
So I'll continue to wake up worrying about President Obama, and having arguments with headlines, in my own way trying to shield the forces of truth from trumped-up criticism and phony balance, even if the argument is made only in my head.
Mmm, good luck with that, Anna…


Mark Wadsworth said...

Obama has to die, for the same reason that JFK had to die - to keep the dream alive.

If he serves out 4 years he will shatter people's illusions in the whole democratic idea that these people can make anything better, rather than worse. About $800 billion worse, so far.

That's why JFK is still so revered - he wasn't in power long enough to seriously fuck anything up, apart from Vietnam, Bay of Pigs etc. Just imagine he'd been in for a gull term.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you highlighted phony balance

This is something that is becoming increasingly common on the left. The idea that the media is being forced to maintain a phoney balance. We see this in arguments about global warming or immigration. Very disturbing.

JuliaM said...

"If he serves out 4 years he will shatter people's illusions.."

Not entirely sure it's going to take him four years to do that. It's coming up on four weeks, and he's crashing and burning!

"The idea that the media is being forced to maintain a phoney balance."

Because they know what the real truth is, but you just can't trust those proles to believe as they are told...

Anonymous said...

Hysterical. Thanks for this one.

Some of the usual wits at CIF have had a field day, just wish I could get to some of the deleted comments.

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