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This shit again

One of the downsides of marrying a foreigner: you have to own up to embarrassing things about your own culture that you would otherwise kick under the rug and forget. For me, one of these is the annual humiliating spectacle of the president’s State of the Union speech.

Any recent president. I won’t pretend they weren’t just awful under Bush.

The president promises a lot of stupid, empty shit that will never, ever happen, and every time he pauses, the guys on his side of the room leap to their feet and applaud like trained seals.

We’re going back to the moon!      ORT! ORT! ORT!
Watermelon flavored bubblegum!      ORT! ORT! ORT!
Adorable puppies!      ORT! ORT! ORT!

In especially bad times, the opposition sits through the whole thing with their arms folded, scowling like they’ve just fellated a pickle. It’s so awful.

I was reading this Peggy Noonan piece on SOTU speeches earlier. For a moment, I couldn’t work out why she thought they’d ever been worth watching, and then I remembered — she’s a former speech writer! Still, she has a point; they haven’t always been dreadful political theater. I remember speeches that sounded substantive, announced new and important things and were lightly peppered with polite applause.

So I took a little tour through YouTube. I didn’t watch whole speeches — this is my half-assed blog, not real science — but I sampled SOTUs going back as far as LBJ. Mostly I was looking for when those multiple, unnecessary standing o’s became a regular feature.

I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that everything turned sharply tacky under Billy Jeff Clinton. What did surprise me, it wasn’t post-impeachment. I assumed all that false enthusiasm was a weird kind of shame reaction, but no — I think it must have been more in response to his style of SOTU. His were long, long shopping lists of lefty policy fantasies. Apparatchik eat that shit up.

Anyway, State of the Union is tonight. Um, yay.

sock it to me

January 28, 2014 — 11:07 pm
Comments: 19

Rejoice! Rejoice!

That egregious old Commie Pete Seeger, dead at 94. I was going to call him an embarrassment to banjo players but, sadly, that isn’t so — banjo players seem to break almost evenly between lefties and righties, those who pray at the Church of Earl and those who pray at the Church of Pete.

And, yes — bigsmarthuman had him in the Dead Pool.
We know what that means, don’t we? Back here, next
Friday, 6pm WBT — Dead Pool Round 59!

sock it to me

— 11:54 am
Comments: 14