In the less than twenty four hours since Osama Bin Laden was killed by US forces I have noticed a trend in the responses my friends and acquaintances have posted on FB and the like- lots of South Park style enthusiasm. “America- fuck yeah!” the triumphant slogan of the marionettes in the Team America movie has been co-opted as a popular reply to a event of international largesse. Team America: World Police was supposed to be a lampooning of patriotism and American over-involvement in international affairs and is well understood to be satire. So why has it so easily been transmutted into sincerity ? The same phrases used to address terrorism on a satiric level is being used to address terrorism on a serious level. Huh?
In another example, I watched the introductory video for Obama’s speech for the White House correspondents dinner and thought it had to have been done by whoever is in charge of video at the Stephen Colbert show. It had the same campy patriotism on display. And while the president’s jokes were funny and appropriate to the context of the event, I was surprised he was willing to offer up the symbols of his station( bald eagles, american flags etc) for even the slightest derision. Is he unconcerned by the cheapening of possible propaganda tools?
In college I read about the use of satire as a tool of the oppressed to needle those in power. What is interesting to me is the fluidity between satire and sincerity, between jokes made to make fun of people in power and the people in power using the jokes to their credit. Who wins and loses in the trade?
So wishes come true. Today, watching the inauguration I could see the wishes and dreams of lots of people fulfilled and pouring out their eyes. It is very exciting to have a president who inspires people I know. My mom was in DC for a conference over the weekend and brought back inauguration sweatshirts for me and my brother. Suddenly its hip to wear political t-shirts? im dragging out my “every Genocide is unique” tee while i can maybe get away with it. Political Wonks like me are cool again- woo hoo ! I saw on daily candy that you can order obama’s iconic poster by Shepard Fairey with you in it- check it out at obamiconme.pastemagazine.com. Another wish taken care of ? Awsome! Other things that make me feel blessed include the cease-fire in Gaza- happy to have that come the day after writing about it. Sad that the consequences of the recent violence there will extend far into the future and that there is no equivalent to Obama in terms of Israeli leadership. Let’s get that wish on the list….someone who can lead Israel towards the same goals of hope over fear and unity and peace. I am inspired by what Obama said today about how his dad couldn’t eat at a lunch counter but he was President. History moves quickly- it makes me hopeful that change can come to Israel too. That the people who are currently being oppressed can someday be leaders. Ethiopian Prime Minister in twenty years? Anyone? More specific to my life, I awoke on Saturday to the most joyful news. It had me jump out of bed and stomp around pumping my fist in the air. My best friend Dan got into Vet School. For those who don’t know- this is no mean feat- its harder to get into than medical school and then you got to put your hand in cow ass and stuff. Not that he hasnt been doing that already..but his getting into vet school marks a baby step towards my dream life where we all live on the ranch together with my foster kid empire. Like the speech today it doesn’t mean there’s not alot of work to be done but at least the plan is there.