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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.


Comment from QuasiModo
Time: January 28, 2014, 11:20 pm

I can’t wait to see what Hillary Clinton’s first state of the union speech will be like 🙂

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: January 28, 2014, 11:29 pm

I can’t wait to see what Hillary Clinton’s first state of the union speech will be like 😯

Donald Trump + Adam West + rather shrill kazoo

Comment from Armybrat
Time: January 29, 2014, 12:14 am

My liver can’t take the amount of booze I require to sit thru bamster’s TelePrompter readings any more. I’m watching the Bruins play hockey.

Comment from Nina
Time: January 29, 2014, 12:36 am

I’ve got some elbow lint to deal with tonight, won’t be able to watch.



Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 29, 2014, 12:49 am

Lots of spam sneaking through the filter lately. Apologies for that. I biff it when I see it.

Comment from EZnSF
Time: January 29, 2014, 1:13 am

I’m a gardener.
State of the Union is like forcing a gopher to the surface. A chance to snap its neck.

But rodents, be they gophers, moles, voles, etc typically destroy a good amount before you find the actual hole they live.

Sometimes the years bring all sweet peas and honey. But gophers are always lurking.

It’s been a bumper crop of lemmings for the past few seasons.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: January 29, 2014, 2:35 am

Yeuch! 2.30 a.m. here. Poor old badger has just stopped digging for the day and we have two live news channels: both are showing some jackass up on his hind legs lying to an audience of fraudulent apes.

I switched over to Russia TV to watch Mad Max Kaiser talking to two kids about the latest developments in crypto currency.

I mean – if you’re going to watch bullshit, at least be entertained by it.

Comment from pandelume
Time: January 29, 2014, 2:45 am

Oh my gawd here’s the pre-k


Comment from pandelume
Time: January 29, 2014, 2:47 am

You got through the P. Noonan piece? Three pp. in and I zoned out.

Comment from Randy Rager
Time: January 29, 2014, 2:53 am

I miss the good old days from Jefferson to Taft, when Presidents simply sent over a written report.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: January 29, 2014, 3:51 am

“We chose to go to the moon in this decade not because it is easy, but because it is hard.”

I blame JFK. But that might have been inaugural because it was outside and it was cold , as I remember it. Everything went down hill from there. I can remember ‘Ike’ on tv but nothing he said.

Comment from dissent555
Time: January 29, 2014, 4:27 am

“The state of the Union is strong”.

Well, not so much.
But the odor of Union in its current state is certainly strong.

Comment from ed
Time: January 29, 2014, 7:41 am

Noonan? She voted for Obama and only recently realized that he’s full of it.

Not very quick on the uptake there.

Comment from thefritz
Time: January 29, 2014, 1:13 pm

…”scowling like they’ve just fellated a pickle”…

I’m still dabbing the Jameson’s off my computer screen.

Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: January 29, 2014, 4:15 pm

I now want it to be mandatory that all federally elected officials be required to publicly fellate a pickle prior to announcing their intent to run every term. They must do it in front of a panel of drag queens and festive pr0n stars. It should be mandatory to include their scores after their party affiliated, ie Harry Reid, D8 or John Boehner, R9

Comment from nightfly
Time: January 29, 2014, 9:42 pm

So the cheering folks could be called an Ort Cloud, right?

….I’ll show myself out.

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: January 30, 2014, 12:10 am

Thank you very, very, very, very much indeed, dear Sweasey, for that lovely and so very, very valuable and useful mental image; that being, of course, the sight of allllll those Highly Distinguished* Self-Congratulatory Circus Seals – um – er – High-Muckety-Muck Politickians flapping their flippers (now, cut that out!)applauding their Godhead and sounding cries of self-adulation (I’m warning you!) worshipping at his Pointless Utterances…

I shall never, never, never, NEVER see or hear of another pointless public politickin’ pomposity without reviewing and reliving that pleasant mental image – and smiling at the thought. So much better than that horrid thing of imagining an audience all stark-naked.

Your Mileage May Vary – verily…

Rather clearly, I should not drink before commentary.

(*And Hopefully Soon-Extinguished)

Comment from Nina
Time: January 30, 2014, 4:28 am

We will never be able to face a humongous dill pickle with a straight face again, Sweazey. Thanks awfully.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 30, 2014, 1:22 pm

I was weaned on a spring onion. True story.

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