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December 7, 2015

bla bla bla terrorists bla bla

I forced myself to watch the President address the nation on broadcast television last night. I tried to pay attention, as one does, to what he was saying: word choice, tone, etc. He was not up there just to hear the sound of his own voice, or to audition for a slot as a cable news host. Mr. President had something on his mind with regard to the mindset of the American people, and so he was there to communicate.

And this morning there is of course reaction to what he had to say. Some thought he was being presidential and laying out a rational case for everyone calming the fuck down. Some thought that he was lily-livered for not beheading a Jihadist on national television, like President Chuck Norris would. All of this was somewhat predictable, watching the speech. I was eating a chili, a vegetarian chili, the preparation of which involved a mishap with a dried arbol and a kitchen full of wholly organic tear gas. It was a really good chili, though I was still coughing a bit. The president was reasonable. He was "Islamic" and "extremist" and "terrorist" but not in the desired order. I guess it was a thumb nosed at those who not only believe in a "war on terror" but also think it can be fought with grammar and syntax.

Personally, I was mostly struck by how it did not actually matter one way or the other what he said. The people that hate the president hate the president, and they cannot be reasoned with. It's tempting to do so, of course, and I think the president is most tempted of all. But my distant relatives who share viral Breitbart nuggets of hateful jaw-clenched know-nothingism on Facebook don't care what the president says. They will hate him just the same. It's like that Gary Larson two-panel: "What the Tea Party actually hears: bla bla bla bla socialism bla bla bla I love terrorists bla bla." Obama could name Ted Cruz as Special Liason For Nuking Brown Terrorists and the Tea Party would still find some way to hate the president, and turn on Cruz in the process.

Then there was the "God bless the United States of America" bit, which still strikes me as such a forced and cynical behavior. Not that our presidents are not Christian — they are, without fail — and not that I find the sentiment offensive. Hell, wish me the blessings of Scooby Doo and I'm fine, no need to spurn some prospective blessings just on account that they may or may not actually be in the mail. But the closing statement is singularly hokey, and the most predictable trapping of the Oval Office, one that is only repeated because the electorate is so retrograde that the omission would make so many people shoot up so many more newspapers and who really needs that.

And the picture faded and NBC's Sunday Night Football commenced, a few minutes late. Thank you, football fans, for waiting a couple extra commercial cycles before tucking in to Pittsburgh's demolition of the Colts. All that unpalatable shit, the uncomfortable truths and the requisite kneejerk response of watching a president all your AM radio hosts tell football fans to hate, that was in the rearview mirror, get on with the coin toss. It might be counter-intuitive to get all filled with abject fear over a couple thousand zealots who want to shoot up some soft targets and then go down in a crossfire, but everyone else is doing it, and the buffalo wings are getting cold! Carrie Underwood is singing, "Hey, Jack/ It's a fact!" May Football Night in America bless the United States of America.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:02 AM