Your Lying Eyes

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08 November 2008

You're Not Funny, Barack

Hopefully, he's gotten it out of the way in his very first press conference, and will not make any more attempts at humor. He's just not funny. Humor clearly does not play a particularly prominent role in his daily life. My guess is that he's spent his life in the company of the type of people for whom the following formula is guaranteed to elicit knowing chuckles: name something stupid, then link it to a Republican. So he went with that tried-and-true formula with his (presumably) sycophantic press-corps. I've consulted with all the living ex-presidents. Hah - of course they're living otherwise I'd need a seance'. Seances are stupid, but I'm not - hey, how about Nancy Reagan! Hey, Wha' Happened? Why all the blank stares? Oops. I just took a gratuitous swipe at the frail first-lady of one of the nation's great presidents. Apology time!

In America's Half-Blood Prince, Sailer notes that the protagonist of Obama's autobiography "is a bit of a drip, a humor-impaired Holden Caulfield." Did you see McCain and Obama's performances at the Al Smith dinner? McCain was hilarious - surely the highlight of his campaign. Obama's performance was pretty lame - he was delivering his lines and seeming to be getting the joke only as the punch-line was delivered - punctuating it with a goofy chuckle, like some kid learning the clarinet and amazing himself when suddenly a sound almost recognizable as a musical note suddenly blows out of the instrument.

Bush was also good at delivering jokes, provided they were written for him. I think it was also Sailer who pointed out that in press conferences Bush would often pause and smirk as if he were about to deliver a clever riposte, but what would actually come out would invariably not be funny. But he could deliver a punch line well. Obama can't even do that, so let's hope he'll manage to subdue any further urges he has to inject 'humor' into his public appearances. I really can't stand public "apologies".

On the other hand, I really have to agree with uber-right-winger Laurence Auster's take on Obama's first press conference:
Obama's press conference is being shown on PBS. Leaving aside all other considerations for the moment, I have to say that it's a pleasure to see a president-elect who is neither a palpable sleaze (eight years of B.J. Clinton), nor an inarticulate semi-boob with barely enough intelligence to be president (eight years of G.W. Bush). He has a proper demeanor, and can speak.


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