Shanti shanti shanti indeed

by Michael Bérubé on November 2, 2010

The roots of the debacle that will be Election Day 2010, for US Democrats, lie right here:

Nothing, I think, can encapsulate Obama’s arrogance, or his profound alienation from ordinary Americans, so well as this chanting-and-smirking festival from last fall—complete with teleprompter and foreign-languagestan “translation” for all you “world citizens” out there.  The White House, realizing its colossal error in judgment (and noting with alarm that overnight, 16 percent of Americans suddenly came to believe that Obama is Hindu), tried desperately to cover its tracks by moving Diwali 2010 to just after  the midterm elections, to November 5.  But to no avail.  The damage has been done.

May our new Senators—especially Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Pat Toomey, and Rand Paul—deliver us from Diwali and all it implies.

Broder Version:  He came in here and he chanted in the place—and it’s not his place.

{ 93 comments }

1

Anderson 11.02.10 at 2:11 pm

especially Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Pat Toomey, and Rand Paul

Oh, it really hurts when you run them all into one sentence like that.

SIX YEARS we are going to be stuck with these loons.

2

qb 11.02.10 at 2:45 pm

This post was bad, even for cut-rate punditry. Next to the economy, Obama’s “profound alienation from ordinary Americans” is but a candle to the sun.

3

ABS 11.02.10 at 2:46 pm

“Nothing, I think, can encapsulate Obama’s arrogance, or his profound alienation from ordinary Americans…”

Is this a disjunctive ‘or’?

I don’t get this.

4

Freshly Squeezed Cynic 11.02.10 at 2:51 pm

I, for one, welcome our new bugfuck-crazy overlords.

5

Jack Strocchi 11.02.10 at 3:00 pm

The poster has neglected to activate his alerts. Its causing mutterings in the ranks. Time to read them the Riot Act.

6

Substance McGravitas 11.02.10 at 3:01 pm

7

HM George I, By the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, Prince-Elector of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick 11.02.10 at 3:11 pm

Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons being assembled immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George for preventing tumultuous and riotous assemblies.
God save the King.

The Riot Act, 1715

8

aj 11.02.10 at 3:14 pm

I’m confused. Maybe I’m bad at recognizing facial subtleties, or I don’t understand arrogance, or I’m simply ignorant of other circumstances surrounding this event, but I see our president demonstrating our need to understand that America is made up of people of different faiths not just one, and I see nothing wrong in that, nor using the celebration as a backdrop to the bill he was signing. What am I missing?

9

rm 11.02.10 at 3:15 pm

It’s hard to out-parody reality these days.

10

Substance McGravitas 11.02.10 at 3:17 pm

It’s hard to out-parody reality these days.

It’s always a step ahead.

11

Michael Bérubé 11.02.10 at 3:29 pm

This post was bad, even for cut-rate punditry. Next to the economy, Obama’s “profound alienation from ordinary Americans” is but a candle to the sun.

Damn. I forgot about the economy.

From the Klavan @ 10:

Which brings us back to the midterm election, which may also be the beginning of a narrow escape indeed — a narrow escape from a leftist culture that has sought for 40 years to people and shape our imaginations with Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bears, Big Babies and sissified men; an escape from race-baiters and gender warriors who have sought to take away our pride in our heroic cowboy past and replace it with a droning litany of our all-too-human sins; an escape from an intellectual and political elite who have attempted to destroy our Space Age optimism by selling us environmental hysteria, guilt and fear.

Now that’s some grade-A punditry right there. Though when I think of Klavan, I think not so much of Toy Story 3 as of Jackass 3-D.

12

qb 11.02.10 at 3:31 pm

Touché.

13

Michael Bérubé 11.02.10 at 3:37 pm

I see our president demonstrating our need to understand that America is made up of people of different faiths not just one, and I see nothing wrong in that, nor using the celebration as a backdrop to the bill he was signing. What am I missing?

Irony, this time mixed with a deep and bitter despair.

14

Sam 11.02.10 at 3:51 pm

Clearly this proves, once again, that Obama is a Muslim…

15

Adrian 11.02.10 at 4:17 pm

And remember that bow to the Chinese guy? What abominable arrogance! The left knows no bounds. Rein ‘em in, Sharron, Rand, Christine, et al, and put ‘em back in their places…

16

mds 11.02.10 at 5:19 pm

Clearly this proves, once again, that Obama is a Muslim…

In US Christian Right logic, pretty much.

(1) This video provides evidence that Obama is Hindu.

(2) Hinduism isn’t fundamentalist Christianity.

(3) Islam isn’t fundamentalist Christianity.

(4) Therefore, Obama is a Muslim.

Now, (2)-(4) might seem to be a syllogistic fallacy, but it relies on the fact that all faiths other than fundamentalist Christianity are indistinguishable in their secret awareness that fundamentalist Christianity is true, but is nevertheless to be rejected out of deliberate wickedness. So (2) and (3) really boil down to “A is A.” Which should not be news to anyone who’s followed the Kentucky Senate race.

17

Daragh McDowell 11.02.10 at 6:06 pm

I remember an episode of the Simpsons where Homer attempts to attract customers to the bowling alley by shouting loudly and firing a shotgun randomly into the air. Of course, in the cartoon people start running away from him in sheer terror. Clearly another case of Matt Groening and all profoundly misjudging the tastes of Real ‘Merkuns in advertising.

18

mds 11.02.10 at 6:16 pm

Clearly another case of Matt Groening and all profoundly misjudging the tastes of Real ‘Merkuns in advertising.

Well, to be fair, Homer wasn’t firing the shotgun at a MoveOn protestor or a visible minority attempting to vote.

19

El Cid 11.02.10 at 6:23 pm

Obama’s Hindu-Muslimism is just a strategy for bringing Communism back to America and forcing a One World Government upon us with New Black Panther helicopters.

20

Daragh McDowell 11.02.10 at 6:27 pm

@mds

True. He was also shouting about bowling rather than severed heads in the Nevada desert or death panels, so the media saw no need to take him seriously and make sure his side of the argument was aired.

21

libertarian 11.02.10 at 6:39 pm

So your boyfriend turned out to be a loser. Don’t blame us; dump him already.

22

mcd 11.02.10 at 6:40 pm

It’s only Ashanti in old Shanti town.

23

Davis X. Machina 11.02.10 at 6:55 pm

It’s only Ashanti in old Shanti town.

No possible improvement on this. Thread closed.

24

naive ironist 11.02.10 at 7:00 pm

Ack! Are Woody and Buzz really tea-partiers? If we drop the tendentious link to election day, Klavan’s allegory sounds distressingly coherent — to someone who hasn’t seen the movie. Tell me it ain’t true (especially since the Incredibles was definitely a Randy movie).

25

Michael Bérubé 11.02.10 at 7:07 pm

Rein ‘em in, Sharron, Rand, Christine, et al, and put ‘em back in their places…

I don’t think Christine is going to clear the bar. But Coats in Indiana, Boozman in Arkansas, Hoeven in North Dakota, Kirk in Illinois, Johnson in Wisconsin, Buck in Colorado, Rubio in Florida … there will still be plenty of tea in the party.

So your boyfriend turned out to be a loser. Don’t blame us; dump him already.

That’s a great idea. Hey, I hear Ron Paul is still available. Tell him I like long walks on the beach, repeal of drug laws, and men who will stand up and fight against the NAFTA Superhighway.

New Black Panther helicopters

Securing the perimeter of the FEMA camps with the awesome power of Shango!

26

Daragh McDowell 11.02.10 at 7:18 pm

Anybody ever watch an Adult Swim cartoon called Minoriteam? They had an epsiode with a Blaxploitation version of Galactus which I think, had the show been more popular, would have made a great internet meme for GOP views of Obama, Democrats, minorities etc.

27

Hawes 11.02.10 at 7:21 pm

Thank Blue-eyed Jesus that we will finally be ruled by humble men and women like Joe Miller and Linda McMahon. Salts of the earth who have already measured the drapes and kicked the groins in Washington that need measuring/kicking.

For if nothing else has defined the modern GOP it is their lack of arrogance. Remember Barton’s humble apology to BP? Or Bachmann’s apology for not being able to impeach Obama?

28

morzer 11.02.10 at 7:21 pm

Well, what I got from this is that Obama is the Other Man in the Nikki Haley South Carolina sexfestapaloosa.

29

evap 11.02.10 at 7:21 pm

I got here from Balloon Juice and I will be back. This is some grade A snark and you can never have enough of that. Especially in these teatard times.

30

Ronald 11.02.10 at 7:22 pm

I for one appreciate Michael’s first-rate punditry, espeially when it doubles as a honey pot for the irony-deficient.

31

Bobby-Joe Tabor 11.02.10 at 7:40 pm

I think I have just seen the moment when Obama PROVED he is a Muslim because ONLY a Muslim would celibate a Hindu festival. It is FACT that just like the special relationship between Muslims and Atheists , Muslims and Hindus are co-travelers untied in their common goal of destroying FREEDOM. The proof for this is written large in India and Pakistan. Right now as we speak our secret Muslim President is conspiring with Hindus and Atheists to destroy the United States and impose Shari Law!

32

Marc 11.02.10 at 7:50 pm

Amero or death!

33

Somerville 11.02.10 at 8:03 pm

Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons being assembled immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George for preventing tumultuous and riotous assemblies.
God save the King.

The Riot Act, 1715

When I was a kid growing up in Bermuda, this was actually read out on Front Street in Hamilton during a strike by dock workers. Some official backed up by the local constabulary read it from an antique-looking scroll. There was a front page pic in the Royal Gazette.

34

libertarian 11.02.10 at 8:07 pm

Hey, I hear Ron Paul is still available. Tell him I like long walks on the beach, repeal of drug laws, and men who will stand up and fight against the NAFTA Superhighway.

You’ll have to be more adventurous than that to snag Ron. Rand didn’t come up with “Aqua Buddha” on his own you know…

35

Winston McGrain 11.02.10 at 8:55 pm

36

Michael Bérubé 11.02.10 at 9:04 pm

Remember Barton’s humble apology to BP? Or Bachmann’s apology for not being able to impeach Obama?

Yes, yes I do. And I teared up when Joe Wilson cried out, “I am in error, Mr. President — forgive me, if you can.” It brought back memories of Dick Cheney’s famous words to Pat Leahy, “pardon me, sir, I did not mean to offend.”

Well, what I got from this is that Obama is the Other Man in the Nikki Haley South Carolina sexfestapaloosa.

No, actually, that was me. But for the love of Vishnu, what the hell happened to modesty and circumspection? So I had an affair with Nikki Haley. So what? You don’t see me going around blabbing about it on blogs.

37

spyder 11.02.10 at 9:07 pm

I wonder if it is possible to apply those same teacher assessment tools that are advocated by the right wing, to all of those rightwing legislators (merit pay increase for good assessments, immediate firing for bad ones). If the nation goes from bad to worse, then the legislators would be fired? Oh, wait. That won’t work at all. Congress is immune from self-assessments.

38

Walt 11.02.10 at 9:07 pm

It’s because nothing is funny anymore, Michael. We will, none of us, ever laugh again.

39

JP Stormcrow 11.02.10 at 9:44 pm

He came in here and he chanted in the place—and it’s not his place.

“The judgment is harsher in Washington,” says The Post’s Broder. “We don’t like being lighted to.”

40

JP Stormcrow 11.02.10 at 9:48 pm

Further Broder.

Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging India’s ambition to remain a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the swamis. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.

41

Tom M 11.02.10 at 10:14 pm

If the cheeseheads get rid of Feingold, I will no longer be amused by the Packers or their fans.

The only part of this I actually look forward to is that the Republicans win. Okay, now, reduce the unemployment rate. It’s what’s known as a short leash.
Government shutdown before February 28th. Who’s with me? Who’s bloody with me?

42

Michael Bérubé 11.02.10 at 10:47 pm

Government shutdown before February 28th. Who’s with me? Who’s bloody with me?

Not me! I want the government up and running, so that it can fulfill its legitimate function — impeaching the President for his failure to produce a legitimate birth certificate.

43

idlemind 11.02.10 at 10:58 pm

naive@24: “The Incredibles” Randian? Uh, wasn’t Syndrome the most Galt-like character? And look what happened to him…

44

Daragh McDowell 11.02.10 at 11:08 pm

Satire officially dies, 11.00PM GMT 2 November 2010, as Rand Paul becomes the US Senator from Kentucky.

45

Uncle Kvetch 11.02.10 at 11:12 pm

I want the government up and running, so that it can fulfill its legitimate function—impeaching the President for his failure to produce a legitimate birth certificate.

Oh, bo-ring. Where’s your imagination, Professor?

I’ve got $100 bucks that says the casus belli will be a coke and malt liquor party in the Oval Office, with Bill Ayers, the New Black Panthers, ACORN, and a special appearance by the ghost of Saul Alinsky. And every time Obama did a line of blow, all the others yelled “Allahu akbar” (except Michelle, who stuck with “Kill whitey” because she’s old school).

It’s all on video. Andrew Breitbart knows someone who knows someone who’s seen the tape and can vouch for its authenticity. That’s all I can say for now…but all will be revealed in due course.

46

Substance McGravitas 11.02.10 at 11:26 pm

“The Incredibles” Randian?

If you’re the kind of person who sees superheros literally then there’s a class of supermen being held down by the government, then some uppity normal decides he can be super too and goes crazy with power. Just like real life! But maybe super-powers are METAPHORS FOR HUMAN QUALITIES (where are the blink tags?) in which case the literal reading would look laughably stupid.

FYI the director of Toy Story 3 is not impressed.

47

Salient 11.02.10 at 11:56 pm

If the cheeseheads get rid of Feingold, I will no longer be amused by the Packers or their fans.

Feingold’s remarkably sanguine about it. I mean, he could have easily lost his last two elections, but for weak opposition candidates and stronger fundraising.

It was a good run. (Though I can’t be the only one thinking, damn, why couldn’t it have been Potted Herb Kohl up this time around? Of the two…)

As a cheesehead expatriate, though, I solemnly acknowledge and with temerity support your decision to not laugh at my headgear.

48

Salient 11.03.10 at 12:18 am

May our new Senators deliver us from Diwali and all it implies.

Voters are largely rejecting Christine O’Donnell, and accepting Sharron Angle.

This is entirely consistent with the Lords’ Prayer, which I believe sayeth, “Lead us not into the temptation of witchcraft, but deliver us from press questions.”

49

aj 11.03.10 at 12:36 am

me: What am I missing?
“Irony, this time mixed with a deep and bitter despair.”

I should have known that, as I’m familiar with your writing, but it whooshed me this time, and I was seriously confused and wondering what I should be seeing in the ceremony that I didn’t because I’ve always liked the insight you’ve given me.

50

Michael Bérubé 11.03.10 at 12:58 am

Sorry, aj. I thought the ceremony was quite nice, really. But then, I like Dijon mustard on my burgers and I like heterogeneity in the public sphere, so I’m a total sucker for this kind of thing.

51

Michael Drake 11.03.10 at 1:28 am

“Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Pat Toomey, and Rand Paul…”

This study is just in time.

52

joel hanes 11.03.10 at 1:36 am

When I was a kid growing up in Bermuda, [ the Riot Act of 1715 ] was actually read out on Front Street in Hamilton during a strike by dock workers.

It’s a rather ornate and ceremonial method of announcing
“We are about to open fire on you”

I wonder how many of its intended audiences over the centuries have understood the message before taking casualties.

53

Jack M. Strocchi 11.03.10 at 1:46 am

Hey Michael Berube I checked out your blog and found this entry, dating back to Sunday, 10:18 August 08, 1993 , entitled Head. Wall.

We finally have a Democrat in the White House, and guess what happens? His economic recovery plan runs up against a solid wall of batshit insane Republican opposition and then is left to twist in the wind by some asshole “centrist” Democratic senator from Nebraska. Damn, I hope this nonsense never happens again.

“finally have a Democrat in the White House”, “economic recovery plan” versus “bat-shit insane Republican opposition”, stymied by “asshole “centrist” Democratic senator”. It looks like we’ve all seen this movie before.

Looks like your “hope” that “this nonsense never happens again” is looking pretty forlorn though. I’m guessing the bitterly sarcastic tone of your most recent post is on account of the Ground-Hog day experience you are now having.

54

Michael H Schneider 11.03.10 at 2:08 am

“I like Dijon mustard”

The depths to which this formerly great country has sunk is perfectly illustrated by the fact that the two major mustard parties are Dijon and French’s.

55

Michael Bérubé 11.03.10 at 2:10 am

True dat. We need a Mustard Party of the vital center. Tom Friedman to the white courtesy phone!

56

Michael Bérubé 11.03.10 at 2:13 am

I’m guessing the bitterly sarcastic tone of your most recent post is on account of the Ground-Hog day experience you are now having.

I’m expecting to wake up tomorrow to the sounds of “I Got You Babe” on the clock radio, and find that some blowhard wingnut is Speaker of the House.

57

Not Thomas Friedman 11.03.10 at 2:18 am

I shared my taxi last week with a mustard magnate from Mumbai. He pointed out that it was cheaper to ship the mustard seeds halfway around the world, to be blended and spiced by people who would never eat a beef hamburger, than for Obama to share a Big Mac with Bill Clinton
– from my upcoming book, “the Mustard is Flat”

58

Freshly Squeezed Cynic 11.03.10 at 2:18 am

In “slim hopes” and “poor consolation” news, Rob Miller is currently up against Joe “You Lie!” Wilson.

I doubt it’ll last, but if it did, that would be pretty cool.

I’d make a mustard joke at this point, but I’m not sure if I could ketchup.

59

Louis Proyect 11.03.10 at 2:27 am

I can’t really understand Berube’s posts, nor his comments. In his most recent book, he expressed a certain enthusiasm for Obama. Does he still feel that way? I hesitate to ask for fear of reading something so arch that it will make my teeth hurt.

60

Salient 11.03.10 at 2:34 am

I hesitate to ask for fear of reading something so arch that it will make my teeth hurt.

Michael Bérubé is known for his wickedly facetious posts,^1^ and is quite a bit like what the Lenoized offspring of Stephen Colbert and Jesus’ General would be like, if Jesus’ General were a good writer and a blogger rather than a writer of kooky and deliciously ill-received letters, and if Stephen Colbert ditched the glasses.

^1^If you want your teeth not to hurt, stop reading here. If you are the type to not read footnotes until you’ve gone and plowed all the way through the main text, then I have no sympathy for you.

61

Jack M. Strocchi 11.03.10 at 2:36 am

Michael Bérubé @ #42 said:

Not me! I want the government up and running, so that it can fulfill its legitimate function—impeaching the President for his failure to produce a legitimate birth certificate.

Now here we should be getting down to brass tacks and running a book on the odds of a government shut-down, on the assumption that the REPs win control of the HoR. Not an expert on US constitutional law but my understanding is that this gives them the power to refuse appropriation bills, which means that Uncle Sam can’t cut any cheques to pay its clients, employees or dependents.

My bet is that the REPs will certainly threaten to go ballistic, but they will blink because both their voter base and donor elite are dependent on government business.

No doubt the Tea Party will use the threat of government shut-down as a bargaining chip in order to extract legislative concessions from Obama, particularly repeal of health and financial reform regulation. But they would have to be a lot crazier than they look to attack the economic interests of both their voter base and doner elite.

Just think of all the poorer citizen-voters in Red States who rely on farm subsidies, Medicare and Social Security to supplement their income. Not to mention the richer citizen-donors in Blue States who depend on military procurement and financial bail-outs to keep them in the Rich Lists. They will all squeal like stuck pigs if the Tea Party turn off the Big Government tap.

So we will see a repeat of 1994, with the “jobless recovery” bringing in a long tail of REP radicals who talk a good game on shrinking government but will back down on the shut-down when their carriage on the gravy train looks like being unhitched.

Whats left of the REP establishment will step in at the last minute to impose adult supervision on the Tea Party radicals. Just the way GH Bush’s intervention stayed GW Bush’s hand on the eve of Iraq-attack…hmmm, that part of my prediction may need a little work.

62

JP Stormcrow 11.03.10 at 2:45 am

Fucking Toomey, fuckpig of multiple iniquities, looks like he is going to pull it out.

63

Freshly Squeezed Cynic 11.03.10 at 2:56 am

Toomey, Kirk and Buck all look pretty likely. Fuck’s sake.

…not to mention we’ve not even got to Angle yet.

64

Daragh McDowell 11.03.10 at 3:06 am

I thought Bennett was leading pretty handily so far – I guess we’ll see if tacitly condoning rape is a deal breaker for even the Republicans.

65

Michael Bérubé 11.03.10 at 3:07 am

JP: Yeah, this one’s gonna hurt. Sestak leading all night — and I voted for him three times, once as myself, once as an ACORN rep, once as a member of the New Black Panther Helicopter Party — and then the mountainous allegedly-only-slightly-more-than-hilleous parts of the state took over.

Lou: Funny thing is, I mention Obama in my book only to say that the book has nothing to do with him. I gather that you think Charles O’Brien did some kind of epic takedown of my humble self, but you shouldn’t take the word of a guy who (1) uses phrases like “the Vichy Left” (apparently he thinks this is better than “Manichean Left” because Chomsky & Co. are collaborating with … IslamofascismHitler?), (2) endorsed Bush in 2004 and was still crowing about it in 2009, and (3) didn’t get very far past the Acknowledgments, and forgot to bring teh funny even that far.

So. How are your teeth now?

66

Freshly Squeezed Cynic 11.03.10 at 3:12 am

Daragh: it’s 49.9-44.9 to Bennet with 22.1% reporting. Assuming that the rural counties take longer to come in, which seems to be the case, and seeing how Giannoulias and Sestak started off with big leads which rapidly eroded when the hinterland votes came in, I’m not getting my hopes up in the slightest.

67

Freshly Squeezed Cynic 11.03.10 at 3:13 am

And fuck, I forgot about the narrow race in Washington; that’s going to smart if Murray loses, although I’m slightly more optimistic about that.

68

Daragh McDowell 11.03.10 at 3:43 am

Just checked the numbers and its 52-46 for Bennett now. And I’m officially going to bed…

69

Michael Bérubé 11.03.10 at 4:04 am

… and so is Sestak’s campaign.

70

Mao Kong 11.03.10 at 4:08 am

Muslims and Hindus are cheek-by-jowl…just look and India and Pakistan! (I mean, get a map.)

71

Freshly Squeezed Cynic 11.03.10 at 4:15 am

And it’s now 47.6-47.1 to Bennet.

72

Walt 11.03.10 at 7:33 am

Oh, Uncle Kvetch. You liberals always think you’re so funny because you think you’re so smart. If you knew anything about the Islamofascist menace, you would know that “Allahu akbar” is Sanskrit for “Kill whitey”.

73

NomadUK 11.03.10 at 10:12 am

Satire officially dies, 11.00PM GMT 2 November 2010, as Rand Paul becomes the US Senator from Kentucky.

Satire died a horrible death a long, long time ago (Kissinger, Nobel Peace Prize); I’m not really sure what you think you’ve been reading since.

Hey, but, anyway, not to worry, as the Democrats will point out that all this indicates that they hadn’t moved far enough to the right, and that they have learned that lesson. As opposed to the lesson they would have learned had they done better, which was that moving to the right was a success, and that they should continue in that direction.

74

Tom M 11.03.10 at 10:53 am

Hey, but, anyway, not to worry, as the Democrats Very Serious People will point out that all this indicates that they hadn’t moved far enough to the right,…
Fix’d for you.
The Democrats won’t think of it until the dinner parties after the election.

75

Maurice Meilleur 11.03.10 at 11:30 am

Hey, but, anyway, not to worry, as the Democrats Very Serious People Evan Bayh will point out that all this indicates that they hadn’t moved far enough to the right, …

76

ABS 11.03.10 at 11:50 am

OH, I get it. This is just a troll post designed to infuriate people who read it.

77

Daragh McDowell 11.03.10 at 12:47 pm

And it looks like Bennett pulls it out!

78

Michael Bérubé 11.03.10 at 1:06 pm

OH, I get it. This is just a troll post designed to infuriate people who read it.

And it works like a charm — but only on certain special people!

79

Steve LaBonne 11.03.10 at 1:22 pm

Cool, now we can have dueling congressional investigations, one on whether Obama is a sekrit Hindu and one on whether he’s a sekrit Musim!

80

naive ironist 11.03.10 at 1:35 pm

idlemind@43: I’d say Syndrome is a “second-hander” in the Rand lexicon. Ugh — I’m sorry I’m familiar enough with her material to know that term. If the movie is friendly to that pov — and Substance McG says it isn’t while doing an allegorical backflip — Mr. I is the galtish one.

81

Substance McGravitas 11.03.10 at 3:01 pm

Mr. I is the galtish one.

“Helping people for free” was Galt’s watchword after all.

82

naive ironist 11.03.10 at 4:00 pm

@81: “Helping people for free” was Galt’s watchword after all.

Helping people b/c he got to use his powers and, basically, have fun, not b/c he’s an altruist. The movie couldn’t afford to make him too galtish, after all; it was after a broader audience. Think about the last tableau of the film, when the family is geared up to take on the Underminer; — they are gonna have a blast doing what they do best and saving the city is just a fortunate side-effect. Mr. I’s motivations remind me of Tennyson’s Ulysses, another less than altruistic do-gooder.

83

Substance McGravitas 11.03.10 at 5:04 pm

The movie couldn’t afford to make him too galtish

Okay, so it’s NOT Randian. When you’re sharing interpretations with Big Hollywood writers you know you’re on the wrong track.

Think about the last tableau of the film, when the family is geared up to take on the Underminer;—they are gonna have a blast doing what they do best and saving the city is just a fortunate side-effect.

This is important because there really is an Underminer and we fortunately have the superheroes in place to stop him.

84

naive ironist 11.03.10 at 5:56 pm

It’s not an either/or thing: galt or not-galt. There are, well, degrees of articulation.

The fact that BH likes the pixar films sort of proves my point about the ideological/ethical attitude of the film. (Unless this website is totally snarky and I missed it; I only took a quick look. There — now we back into the original orbit of MB’s post.) And don’t get me wrong, I think this attitude is a flaw in the film. I wish it could have repudiated the Rand-y ethic before the narrative wound up.

And I’m not making this stuff up, just riffing on AO Scott ‘s review of the movie: http://movies.nytimes.com/2004/11/05/movies/05incr.html?_r=1

(Sorry I can’t figure out how to tag that URL and turn it into a link.)

85

Substance McGravitas 11.03.10 at 6:13 pm

It’s not an either/or thing: galt or not-galt.

Is that what Rand would say? Look, the qualities of these characters that make them “super” are human qualities: it’s not an accident that shy girl gets a force-field and invisibility, or that baby-who-could-grow-up-to-be-anything has the power to turn into anything. If you and AO Scott are unwilling to make the “allegorical backflip” that a slightly oafish but good and noble guy might be portrayed as “strong” then you’re likely to miss the fact that by working together as a family – trying to figure out a particularly complicated remote control (Scott obviously misses that) – they find a way to demonstrate the attributes that make them special. Attributes that you probably possess in some way, otherwise the film wouldn’t be nearly as resonant. Not that I discount the idea that you might have some real superpower.

86

naive ironist 11.03.10 at 7:32 pm

Rand is besides the point — you are the making the false either-or reading. Texts are more complicated than that. I agree that their superpowers are related to their personalities (“human qualities”), but I don’t see how this fact cancels out the movie’s hard-edged (if still occulted) view of the world in terms of superiority and mediocrity. If anything, I would say the movie gives us a family-friendly version of Rand’s world. No–that is too strong a formulation: the film brings values connected to Rand’s vision back into a more plausible relationship with the, um, liberal, values that (I think) you and I both hold. To adopt Rand’s views in all their selfishness and implicit ethnocentrism would have created a horrible film. The audiences wouldn’t have been there. Or maybe they would have, considering the ugliness that passes for public discourse these days. And which MB’s original post was parodying.

Don’t know why you linked me to Pixie. For this: “her cheerful, optimistic attitude may well motivate her to comply with government policy”? My snark detector went off, but you are too subtle for me.

87

Laurence 11.03.10 at 8:00 pm

I assume this post is supposed to be a tea-bagger parody, because this is way,WAY too wacky to be for real.

That said, I wasn’t invited to a Dawali celebration this year. If you’ve never enjoyed this holiday, you’re missing out!

88

Substance McGravitas 11.03.10 at 8:18 pm

but I don’t see how this fact cancels out the movie’s hard-edged (if still occulted) view of the world

A view of the world, IMO, would include fewer babies who can turn into fire.

89

spyder 11.03.10 at 8:22 pm

Just curious what Diwali gifts you all are giving to your masters and your slaves this year? Other than the election, that is.

90

Tom M 11.03.10 at 11:32 pm

Hey, but, anyway, not to worry, as the Democrats Very Serious People Evan Bayh will point
I humbly bow to your ability to note that Bayh beats VSP every.fucking.time.

91

Sterling's Gold 11.04.10 at 12:08 am

At least you’ll be married to Megan. I knew I shoulda stuck with ‘Red’.

92

DRouse 11.04.10 at 3:42 am

@79 Cool, now we can have dueling congressional investigations, one on whether Obama is a sekrit Hindu and one on whether he’s a sekrit Musim!

Using the exact same witness list!

93

Someone pretending to be Clive Crook 11.04.10 at 9:48 pm

Now Michael you are being unfair to the Teapartiers. His arrogance and foreigness would not have been a problem if he had punched a few more hippies. I personally think his healthcare plan was centrist enough, since although I call myself a centrist I do come from Britain, and I’m not crazy, but I will defend the proposition that he should have disowned Nancy Pelosi and said mean things about Paul Krugman and condemned the left-wing blogosphere. Had he done so he would have connected with real Americans who spend their free time discoursing on the madness of Paul Krugman and not lost the House.

Comments on this entry are closed.