Thursday, January 22, 2009

Escaping Obama

What its YouTube author is calling the 'Post Barackalyptic Wasteland.'

JUST A BAD DREAM. Everybody copes in his own way. IP decided to think about other stuff and so generated his list of 25 movies about America. I chose another route, opting to find what media I could that was not all about the Second Coming of Abraham Lincoln. No cable news. No newspapers. No newsweekly magazines. No women's magazines (They're just The View on slick paperstock if you want to know.). In fact, I thought, here was a golden opportunity to catch up on the specialized periodicals that couldn't possibly have anything to do with a change in the political leadership in the United States. Was I right? Judge for yourselves.

For example, everyone who reads this blog knows that I'm a motorhead. Years ago, I was a huge fan of Car and Driver Magazine, which once scandalized the automotive world by  conducting a performance test of the Ferrari GTO and the Pontiac GTO -- and preferring the Pontiac. I lost contact with C&D for a few years during a sojourn in the midwest. When I left the east coast, they were vociferous opponents of airbags. When I returned, they were among the most fervent advocates of same. Apparently, the possibility that airbags could flat-out kill small women and children by functioning normally had ceased to bother them. But let bygones be begones, I thought. Maybe they'd be a palliative in the new age of messianic politics.

Not so much, really. Even the Obama article was disappointing. Apparently, the president doesn't know how to drive a stick, and he has an anxiety attack whenever the highway speed tops 55 mph. Oh, and he positively loathes "Detroit Iron." Who knew? But the editors found him charming, brilliant, and well-versed on the topic of hydrocarbons. They're bad.

So I turned instead to Scientific-American. Surely they wouldn't give a fig about the tsunami of rhetoric that was sweeping the ignoramus commoners of the nation.

When I read the cover article, I could hardly blame them. It turns out that Barack Obama does practically everything at an expert level (except, possibly, drive with a manual transmission). He can play five games of chess simultaneously and stalemate them all, while hitting the highest number of triple-word scores in Scrabble ever registered, and extemporize on the bleak philosophical implications of quantum physics as he's writing a record third doleful autobiography and cleverly losing a game of dominoes to his two children and their fashion advisers. No wonder the magazine had to dedicate three-quarters of the current issue to his cerebral feats of derring-do.

That's when I remembered National Geographic. The magazine that taught all American boys whose fathers didn't subscribe to Playboy about breasts.

I'm not saying the cover article was uninteresting. But there were no breasts in it. And what does it mean exactly that a forensic reconstruction of Tutankhamen's face from his shattered mummy looks exactly Barack Obama? There's no particular indication that the boy king was an exceptionally able pharaoh. For all we know, the accomplishments of his administration were largely the work of the exceptionally able Speaker of the Egyptian House, Pel Osi, whose remains are on display at Harvard University's Fogg Museum.

NOTE: Silicone implants don't age well.

Besides, National Geographic isn't what you'd call serious. You'd be hard pressed to find any teenage boys who subscribe to the Journal of the Amercan Medical Association, which always puts high art on its covers with absolutely no indication of what the content inside might be.

I suppose I should have taken a cue from the fact that JAMA's post inaugural issue started all over at Issue 1, Volume I, signifying the beginning of the new era in free healthcare we could all look forward to from now on. But I didn't. I tried to read the cover article. Which was all about how Hippocrates and Galen and Salk and DeBakey were just redneck asshole plumbers compared to the astonishing medical genius of the new president of the Unites States. I stopped reading when they claimed he could drive a manual transmission.

If you can't trust anyone else, you can trust Popular Mechanics. Hardheaded realists all. Right?


So I figured there was one periodial so high toned, so snooty, so divorced from everyday reality that the very worst I might encounter would be Donald Trump's latest makeover of his largest Manhattan penthouse. Architectural Digest does not care about the stray zephyrs of political fashion.

Which is when I gave up on periodicals. I turned on the TV again, but this time with an eye to the imperturbably irrelevant channels, the ones that couldn't be topical if they tried. Like Nickelodeon. They do reruns of Star Trek, the real one, for God's sake.

Something to do with warp drive. I know it is.

There had to be some safety somewhere. After all, what could anybody do to the Honeymooners?

He's the president of the Raccoons or something. Something bad.

And so, before I even looked, I knew that the gush had reached I Love Lucy too. Which I never even liked in the first place.

She just LOVES him. Doesn't she?

By then I knew. The TOON channel:

Spongebob has ALWAYS believed in hope and change.


Bob Vila can feel the love, too. Obama
is very handy with power tools. They say.

And even the Food Channel.

He can whip up an omelet or devise a masterly fruit compote.
Paula Deen thinks he's the best thing since chicken dumplings.

Drudge says the Obama inauguration got 35 times the worldwide coverage of the Bush inaugural. I'm pretty sure he's misunderstimated the total by a bunch.

But I don't mind. There's only one icon that will send a chill to my bones. And we may be months and months away from that.

How does the line go? "Build it and they will come."

Like gangbusters.

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