Tuesday, August 29, 2006

George of the Bungle


I hate to reduce the monumental human tragedy that was Hurricane Katrina down to a few trite comments, but I honestly believe that everything that can possibly be said about it has already been said. Watching today's reverent round-the-clock rehash by the networks though, there was one moment that stood out for me.

George W. Bush's interview with NBC's Brian Williams would've been strikingly offensive if we weren't so used to the Bush methodology by now. Lewis Black joked recently that Bush's oddest characteristic is that his face never seems to fit the words that are coming out of his mouth -- a reference to the near-constant smug smirk our Idiot In Charge seems to exhibit while talking about deadly serious topics. That painful paradox was on display today when Williams mentioned to Bush that University of Pennsylvania Professor Michael Eric Dyson had been on the network the night before with strong words about the administration's lack of concern for underprivileged storm victims. As the two walked along in front of a photo-op-ready set of recently built homes, Bush chuckled mid-swagger and said, "Well, I don't know who this Professor Dyson is, but we promised we were gonna help -- and we helped."

First of all, people who say that Bush's brief mea culpa a few months back signaled an end to his asinine hubris need to have their heads examined. It's to be expected that Bush would have a natural loathing for -- and possibly even some sort of post-traumatic stress relating to -- any kind of teacher; but the snide and arrogant derision he heaped on the very word "professor" spoke volumes about the way Bush perceives himself -- and those who rightly question him. He's still thoroughly deluded enough to believe that he's just an average guy, defending average folks just like him from the tyranny of those dangerously educated, elitist naysayers. He's Gary Cooper, riding in at High Noon to stand up for the simple townsfolk.

As usual, he has his head firmly up his ass.

There's no greater irony than the fact that Michael Eric Dyson was the first in his family to be able to pursue a higher education; if ever there was an American story of success-against-all-odds, he's it. Meanwhile Dubya was afforded every opportunity in life -- had everything handed to him -- and not only chose to treat his college classes as if attendance were merely a suggestion, but then had the nerve to cynically joke at one point that he was proof that a student could maintain a "C" average and still become president.

Another highlight of the interview: Incurious George telling Williams that he reads Camus.

I'd love to come up with a way to improve on that comedically, but I'm not sure I can. I'll leave it at this: I'm reminded of the scene in A Fish Called Wanda, where Wanda, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, calls terminal idiot Otto, played by Kevin Kline, an ape. He responds by saying, "Apes don't read Nietzsche," to which she says, "Yes they do, they just don't understand it."

Toward the end of the one-on-one however, Bush said something that would be laugh-out-loud funny if it weren't so soul-crushingly depressing.

"I like to keep my expectations low."

Thanks to you Mr. President, we're all forced to do the same.

5 comments:

Safe Word said...

Argh.
That smirk!
That man!

I hate it!


Nice commentary.

Peter L. Winkler said...

We also know that Bush is an "epileptic" reader, as he told Brian Williams.

I can't add much to your post except to note the incredible obsequiousness of Williams. Is he angling for the annual Larry King Celebrity Fellatio Prize?

John said...

Interesting outlook, but I have to disagree. Bush’s emphasis on the word professor was not a sign of contempt, but rather the enormous amount of cognitive effort the man has to put into pronouncing anything with three or more syllables. He still can’t get more than half way through “Condoleezza.”

choenbone said...

i have an idea. lets let Dubbya stay in New Orleans...He doesn't seem to care, so let the people who need the help go stay on the Bush ranch in Texas...or in Georgies room in the White House. I mean, he obviously doesn't use it for anything more than reading(if you want to call it that)the latest edition of Mad Magazine, looking for which picture of Alfred E Neuman looks the most like him.
I believe it was Camus who said: "To which I had nothing to say, so I said nothing at all."

Bush hasn't learned that lesson yet.

Liz said...

Thank you for articulating my feelings precisely. I can't stand that mealy mouthed, idiotic, mediocrity-praising, waste of carbon either. Oh my god, how did we go from a Rhodes scholar to a brain-dead alcoholic? Was it really because of the moral issues raised by a blowjob? Or because the Republican party just wanted a monkey to dance to their music? I'm still trying to figure out that one. Sorry, off the subject. Excellent stuff Chez.