Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
August 3, 2008 - July 27, 2008

Friday, August 01, 2008

Sensible Cheek:
Honoring Limbaugh's
20th Anniversary

Rush at home. In his dining room. You can have it, too.

THE BIG DAY IS HERE! Yes, friends, today is the real deal, THE twentieth anniversary of Rush Liimbaugh's nationally syndicated radio show. We're definitely of a mind to celebrate, especially since Pelosi and company are planning to shut him down come January. And while it's still possible, we'd like to give you the opportunity to share some of the fabulous Limbaugh Lifestyle, which is an offer you won't find anywhere but here, at InstaPunk, for unbelievably low prices.

Thanks to the New York Times Magazine, we all got a glimpse of that lifestyle, which has to be some perfect realization of the American Dream -- a huge mansion, glamorous cars, and great food. Rush is already sharing the great food part via his special relationship with Allen Brothers Meats, but we're determined to take it a a step farther with our offering of "Dittohead Lifestyle Packages," tailored specifically for the modest budgets of those who don't have a $400 million compensation deal with their employers.

Our inspiration was a show on the Home & Garden Channel (HGTV) called Sensible Chic, which always features a professionally designed room that cost tens of thousands of dollars but can be duplicated (approximately) for far less money. For example, the photograph above is of the dining room in Rush's West Palm Beach, Florida, home. The NYT Magazine piece tells us:

The massive chandelier in the dining room... is a replica of the one that hung in the lobby of the Plaza Hotel in New York.

It's obvious that the key ingredients of this marvelous room are the chandelier and the lovely palm trees. But you don't have to pay what Rush did to achieve the same effect in your own dittohouse. Behold:

You're thinking $45,000, aren't you? Well hang onto your hat, because
InstaPunk will send you this gorgeous chandelier and a dozen designer
palm trees for just $4,500. That's right. Are you starting to get the idea?

If you're like most of us dittoheads, you know that nothing is quite as important as wheels. According to the NYT, Rush agrees.

“ANTICIPATING A QUESTION,” Limbaugh said when we pulled into the garage of his secluded beachfront mansion in Palm Beach, “why do I have so many cars?”

I hadn’t actually been wondering that. Very rich people tend not to stint on transportation. For example, we drove to the house from the studio, Limbaugh at the wheel, in a black Maybach 57S, which runs around $450,000 fully loaded. He had half a dozen similar rides on his estate.

“I have these cars for two reasons,” Limbaugh said. “First, they are for the use of my guests. And two, I happen to love fine automobiles.”

Of course, you might not know precisely what a Maybach is. That's where we can help.

For the YouTube-challenged, here's a still photo of Rush's $450,000 ride:

Maybach 57S

Beyond your wildest dreams? Ordinarily it might be. But today, thanks to InstaPunk, you can have a Sensible Chic version of this marvelous automobile for only $43,995 (plus destination charges and dealer prep). Here is your very own fantabulous Rushmobile:

Supplies are limited (extremely). So act fast if you want to live the dream.

Pretty cool, huh? But the ride has to end up at a suitably palatial crib, doesn't it? Thankfully, we do know something about Rush's pad:

He also loves space. There are five homes — all of them his — on the property. The big house is 24,000 square feet. Limbaugh lives there with a cat.

Here's a pic.

God, look at that pool. We'll be seeing more of it later.

Does it seem out of reach? Just because it cost $70 million? What if we told you that you could have something like it for under $700,000?

$695,000. Yeah the financing is ARM, but the subprime thing has
been overblown. You can handle it. Initial payments under $4,000/
month. Call now for the best possible no-points, low-interest deal.
Delivered in an easy-to-assemble package at your chosen location.

Of course, we all know the McMansion problem. Blowing the whole wad on wheels and a great big house, with nothing left for the interior decorating budget. We can help there, too. A true dittohead needs a library, and Rush knows exactly what it's supposed to look like:

Limbaugh is especially proud of his two-story library, which is a scaled-down version of the library at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. Cherubs dance on the ceiling, leatherbound collections line the bookshelves and the wood-paneled walls were once “an acre of mahogany.”

Which adds up to this.

Rush's Library

If you go with our El Rushbo Estate model, you won't have quite as much room as he does, but you can nail the look with our Biltmore Library Package, which retails for just $38,000. (Check our PayPal link to see how easy this all is...)

We're talking truly, honestly authentic here. The bookshelves contain exactly
the same
brand of fake books that Limbaugh has in his library (Click on the
pic). And while you
won't have floorspace for a whole couch, the LazyMan
Library Chair is top of the line.
Don't forget we'll be sending you a tenth of
an acre of the best faux mahogany
China has to offer. (Just don't burn any
wood or stuff in the fireplace; that wouldn't be safe. Smoke a cigar instead.)

Guest rooms are especially important too. Take a cue from the master:

Unlike many right-wing talk-show hosts, Limbaugh does not view France with hostility. On the contrary, he is a Francophile. His salon, he told me, is meant to suggest Versailles. His main guest suite, which I did not personally inspect, was designed as an exact replica of the presidential suite of the George V Hotel in Paris.

Bet you didn't know it was okay to like France. Well, it is. And you can see why:

The Guest Suite

Actually, this is one of our very best deals -- comprehensive, beautiful, and yet strikingly affordable:

We're kicking ourselves over the pricing. You get the couch, the
rug, the curtains, the coffee table, the lamp, and the incredible
custom yellow paint for just (gasp) $24,000. Yes, we're crazy.

And remember that pool. We thought you did. Here's a better look at it.

Whatever else you do, you simply can't afford to pass up our El Rushbo pool set. It's an absolute steal at $2,500. That's right. $2,500.

Yes, we need our heads examined. But that's not your problem. $2,500!!!

You're also going to need someone to enjoy all this with. Rush has his cat:

Impossible to duplicate, of course.

But you can have one that's at least something like his:


If you can't afford the cat, maybe you'd be willing to make do with one of Rush's lesser companions.

Fortunately, we can duplicate this model for just $125. Not that you'd be interested. They rarely purr, and when they do, it's only because they want something. Something expensive.

Our advice would be, save up for the cat.
After all, it's Rush's preference at this point.

Well, there you have it. The compleat Limbaugh Lifestyle catalogue. You can place your orders by email and settle up via PayPal. Order separately, OR -- Get everything listed here for an even $1 million. That's just one percent of his recent signing bonus. Where are you going to get a better deal than that?

P.S. All kidding aside. Congratulations, Rush. You've made a huge difference to a lot of people. You should be proud, and no one here begrudges you your disgustingly over-the-top wealth. This is America. You earned it. You enjoy it. That's an order.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tomorrow's the Big Day

El Rushbo is much bigger than his critics and caricatures.

INSPIRATION. Over the years we've both defended him and criticized him, but tomorrow Limbaugh reaches a major milestone -- 20 years on top of the radio ratings. It's an amazing feat. He single-handedly resurrected the dead dial of the AM band and transformed it into a political weapon so potent that even today the party of ostentatiously blind allegiance to the First Amendment is plotting to silence him via Jurassic Park legislation reinvoking the infamous "Fairness Doctrine."

We want to add our special sauce to the celebration. So be sure to come back tomorrow and join our unique tribute to Rush. But don't be too outraged if we've figured out a devilishly clever scheme for making a few bucks out of the big day. Rush would be proud of us. It's called capitalism.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

YouTube Wednesday:


Couldn't resist. We love Rodin. And Moby's pretty okay, too.

MULTIMEDIA. YouTube takes a beating for many excellent reasons. It would be easy to get the idea from the MSM and even YouTube's own lists of favorites that the site consists of all that is low and despicable in the human condition. It is swept by fads -- girls beating up girls, boys torturing cats or breaking their own bodies in stupid stunts, disgruntled spouses and other exes spilling sewage about matters best left private, lunatics ranting into webcams about their fanatical beliefs and causes, music videos that call to mind the artifacts of archaeological research into dead civilizations. It is also pervaded by all things sentimental and cloying -- cute babies doing cute things, cute puppies doing cute things, tributes to cute child actors of the past, etc.

But the uncomfortable truth is that YouTube is a mirror. Whatever you are looking for there you will likely find. It's a vast repository of cultural memory, something like a computer version of Jung's collective unconscious. All the building blocks of our own memories are there -- sports, music, TV, celebrities, politics, commercials, science, technology, war, history, movies past and present, sex, and even religion..

It's no wonder the copyright and trademark battles surrounding YouTube are so fierce. How do you copyright the personal, individual memories that make up individual consciousness and the soul of the world? You don't, really. You can try, but this is an arena in which the law is lost and the value of the whole so transcends the mechanisms of government that constraining it becomes an effective impossibility. You may win a skirmish or two, but you will inevitably lose the larger fight. YouTube is bigger than all of us.

That's why we decided today to look for things that don't get much press. Not too surprisingly, a earch for "art" turns up positive and beautiful new permutations of classic masterpieces across the ages. A multimedia vehicle like YouTube has an unprecedented ability to make art personal again, to share individual perceptions that take flat canvases off the museum walls and restore the kinetic play of emotion and light and process which animated the genius of the artists.

The available tools are extensive and the results are accordingly varied. It's possible to rejuvenate old art in many ways -- by moving cameras, the addition of soundtracks, the sequencing of images, the use of playful animation, and even reenactments of the creative process. I suppose one could dismiss all this as a decadent, post-modern by-product of the end of art, but I suspect that it is only the beginning of a new epoch in art -- the resurrection of the old into a brand new synthesis that uses the past to inspire a creative explosion capable of capitalizing on the technology which is presently redefining everyone's experience of life. The innovations thus far are still rudimentary, but in some cases multimedia technology already seems to represent a completion and fulfillment of the artist's intention. Here, for example, is a YouTube permutation of Escher:

Yes, it's a lowball interpretation of what is implicit in the original, but don't you find yourself wondering what Escher himself would have done if he'd had access to our technology? Well, I do.

And does anybody else share my curiosity about what the cubists were trying to say, what they would have said if they had a software suite half as good as what's available to the average MySpace dude?

Or think about Dali. What would he have done with a computer?

And would Matisse have liked this presentation of his paintings? I have to think he would.

You think it only works with the moderns? Not true. Here's what seem to be the first of what will be innumerable new treatments of Hieronymus Bosch.

3-D by God. Are you starting to get the idea that a new engine is rumbling in the background of art? That's all I'm suggesting. Although I can't quit before I highlight an interesting trend with regard to the works of one of my own favorite artists, Edward Hopper. People aren't animating him. (Correct. He was a sculptor in paint.) They're scoring him. And I confess myself surprised. It never occurred to me that his work was jazz:

Truthfully, the Big Band thing isn't working for me. But whoever did it is not alone. Here's another.

Personally, I'm thinking the opaque solipsism of Miles Davis or John Coltrane would be more appropriate than the vitality of "Sing, Sing, Sing" or the schmaltz of Glen Miller. But that's the beauty of YouTube. If I disagree enough to do something about it, I can do something about it.

As a final note, I'll show you what I interpret as an act of YouTube art criticism. It's definitely NSFW, but here's what purports to be a tribute to Jackson Pollock. Yet its effect is to make of Pollock the joke that I always thought he was. See what you think.

So that's it for today. Are you feeling artistic yet?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Congressional Gothic

Can't you feel the love?

The Free Online Dictionary:

[Definition #] 5. often gothic Of or relating to a style of fiction that emphasizes the grotesque, mysterious, and desolate.

THE LIBERALS WE LOVE (UPDATE). It's hard to imagine the universe in which Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid live. It's like some bizarro-world they've made up for themselves, in which the sceptre of political office really can alter facts and even the laws of physics. Whatever they choose to affirm is automatically true, and whatever legislative response they fashion is bound to produce the result they desire. If only the annoying real world the rest of us live in didn't keep getting in the way.

Harry Reid declared the Iraq War lost when the surge was barely a few weeks old. To him, therefore, it is still lost, regardless of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He is willing himself and, he thinks, the rest of us to dwell permanently in the year 2006. And Nancy Pelosi agrees with him.

Nancy Pelosi believes so devoutly in open borders and sanctuary cities that defy the authority of federal laws she has sworn an oath to uphold that she continues to defend a San Francisco policy even that city's mayor is backing away from -- a policy that has recently resulted in savage, random murders by an illegal alien gang member who should have been imprisoned and/or deported long ago.

They both subscribe to a rapidly unraveling theory of man-made climate change whose consequences would, at worst, occur only gradually over many many years, and in order to achieve an imperceptible diminishment of those consequences are prepared to put the national and global economies at serious risk in the here and now. These champions of the poor and dispossessed have already -- quite literally -- taken food out of the mouths of starving people around the world by legislating the redirection of American corn crops from cheap food to expensive alternative fuel.

For much the same reason, they are indifferent to the plight of American citizens who are struggling with the near doubling of gasoline prices within the past year. Their initial legislative impulse was to raise gas taxes because the consumer conservation they claim is integral to their own energy solution is marginally reducing gas tax revenues. And they insist that the immediate solution which is dead obvious to 70 percent of Americans -- drilling for more oil and gas in the United States -- is absolutely unacceptable because it won't produce results for ten years (they say) while the solution they offer instead -- windmills and solar panels -- won't be able to replace fossil fuels in thirty or even forty years. How is such bizarro logic justified? Nancy Pelosi says she's trying to "save the planet."

But it's worse than that, really. It's not just about misplaced priorities. It's also about a truly insane faith in government power. I think they believe, both of them, that government can mandate not only change but success. If the U.S. Congress decrees that Al Gore's idiotic carbon abolition schemes be met, they will be. If Congress commands automobiles that get 150 miles to the gallon or cars that run on discarded styrofoam peanuts, they will magically appear. If Congress decrees that an advanced industrialized nation can be run by windmills that consume all the arable lands of the plains states, that is exactly what will happen. And, I suppose, if Congress passes a law forbidding anyone to die of starvation in Haiti, Africa, or the world's other impoverished nations on account of dumbass alternative energy schemes in the U.S., they will obediently refrain from starving. Halleluiah.

One could call this kind of delusional mentality a great mystery. But it is (barely) explicable from the perspective of Capitol Hill. The most powerful members of Congress live lives almost completely devoid of consequences. Almost all the real world problems and nuisances that afflict ordinary citizens are mere expense account items to them. And unlike some of the lower ranking legislators they have to bully into compliance with their whims, they are essentially immune from being thrown out of office. Their pockets are too deep and their connections too vast for ordinary mortals to run successfully against them. And so, they can drink deeply of their power, become intoxicated by it, and begin to see even the worst human calamities caused by their delusions as unfortunate statistics in some subordinate's briefing paper, no more costly than the effort required to spin them away. They know their power, and it comes to replace every other consideration.

Here's her new book. I'm sure she explains it better than I do.

So maybe the Gothic congressional leadership of Pelosi and Reid isn't such a great mystery. Not nearly as great, anyway, as the mystery of why so many middle-class Americans continue to believe that the Democrat Party is the one that's on their side. At any given time, a majority of Americans are proud to claim an affiliation with the party that roots and actively works for the defeat of American troops in the field, that continuously sides with criminal illegal aliens against native-born citizens and legal immigrants who wait patiently in line for citizenship, that is perfectly willing to trade away all our hard-won present prosperity for phantom placebos in a distant, hypothetical future, and that bitterly despises almost all the basic human values and traditions of the very people who keep putting them in office.

Now that's a true Gothic tale. Who would ever believe it?

Little Football

Some of the guys on that patch of field are the PHILADELPHIA SOUL.

UNTITLE TOWN. I think you'd have to say that Philadelphians have mixed feelings about this weekend's event called "The Arena Bowl" and the championship it brought to a title-starved city.

Those feelings are probably best summed up by Ray Didinger's comments on WIP SportsTalk Radio the Friday before the game. Ray is the acknowledged Main Man of Philadelphia sportswriters. His knowledge of most sports is encyclopedic, and he is a continuously respectful, humble, and yet authoritative commentator on the city's teams. With the Phillies crumbling in the wake of the All-Star break and the Eagles wallowing in the aftermath of having failed to draft a first-round college prospect two years running, his WIP co-host asked Ray point-blank what the city's sports fans had to feel good about.

Ray said, "The Philadelphia Soul. They're playing Sunday for the league championship. That's something to feel good about."

Then the co-host, Glen Macnow, asked Ray, "So you'll be watching the game Sunday?"

And Ray replied, "Probably not."

Arena football just isn't a Philly kind of sport. For one thing, it's not exactly football. Well, to be more precise, it's almost nothing like football. Except for the ball (which is beige btw), and the helmets and pads, and the four downs of play, and the zebra stripes of the referees, and the endless delays caused by review of challenged calls, it's more like the much despised (in Philly) overtime shootouts in hockey.

Here's how it works. Team A receives the kickoff, heroically fields it off the net, and brilliantly returns it to the two or three yard line. Then Team A takes two, sometimes four, plays to throw a touchdown pass, which is always incredibly exciting because the field is almost twenty yards long. The extra point try is even more exciting because the goal posts are three feet apart.

Team B receives the kickoff, heroically fields it off the net, and brilliantly returns it to the two or three yard line. Then Team B takes two, sometimes four, plays to throw a touchdown pass, After the extra point, the whole drill is repeated. And repeated. And repeated.

Mostly it's that simple, except that it does get confusing whenever a player runs into what, in hockey, would be called the boards, which are thickly padded with rules too complicated to understand about when a player is actuallly out of bounds and when he is merely, uh, bouncing. Even the players don't understand these rules. In the championship game, the Soul allowed the San Jacinto Crab-Lice to score an almost unheard of rushing touchdown because they didn't remember that sometimes you still have to tackle, or at least touch, a ball carrier who caroms off what would be, in football, an out-of-bounds marker.

Not that it really matters. It's pretty much a given that whoever has the ball is going to score a touchdown. The announcers in the NFL get pretty excited about touchdowns. "TOUCHDOWN," they yell. In the arena league, the announcers have to conserve their voices. "That's another touchdown," they concede.

Defense consists of preventing the other team from scoring a touchdown. Since this almost never happens, it's what's considered a big play in arena football. And there's no punting. Not on a twenty yard field. If you're some impossible distance away from the goal line -- say 18 yards -- you bring in your field goal kicker and get three points instead. Which is still enough to lose the game.

Or it would be if all the rules didn't change as soon as you get to the one-minute warning. That's when all hell breaks loose. AFTER the one-minute warning, the team that's ahead is required to stop passing and call only running plays. Since there are no running backs in arena football (the 8-man offensive team consists of a quarterback, two blockers, and 14 wide receivers), this doesn't work. The clock stops every time the team in the lead calls a running play. Since there's no punter, the team that's behind gets the ball back almost immediately and scores a touchdown -- AND a two-point conversion since there are no defensive backs, safeties, or linebackers (the 8-man defensive team consists of six non-pass-rushers and two guys who gesture unhappily after the touchdown pass.)

For some reason, there are also a lot of onside kicks inside the one-minute warning, which are invariably successful, because the ball only has to go six inches before the kicking team can fall on it.

It's possible that I didn't entirely understand the rules of the game I was watching because I'd never seen an arena football game before. All I know is that Philadelphia was 185 points ahead going into the final minute, and they won by 3.1416 points in a real squeaker.

I guess my hockey shootout analogy above wasn't exactly right. It's actually more like roller derby.

Which is what leads to the mixed feelings. All of us who live in the Philadelphia area have a genuine regard for Ron Jaworski, largely because we know the fans (uh, that would be US) treated him like dirt throughout the 17 years he started for the Eagles. We called him the Polish Rifle, which wasn't a compliment. Sure he could throw the ball 130 yards, but he was dumb as a, well, Polish person. It's not exactly guilt because that's an emotion we don't recognize or accept -- we go to games half naked and painted green here, so give us a break on the deep emotional stuff, okay? -- but we've all had to swallow the fact that he's the smartest football guy on ESPN's smartest, most educational football show (NFL Matchups), and he's also such a big-hearted guy that he loves Philadelphia in spite of having had more cans and bottles thrown at him from the stands than any other athlete in Philadelphia sports history.

We want him to be happy. And now that he's happy about his Arena Bowl championship, we're incredibly happy for him.

We're also grateful to Jon Bon Jovi, whose funding and dedication to the Soul is a more generous service to this sports-obsessed city than Bruce Springsteen ever made.

Which is why, right now, people all over the Delaware Valley are drawing straws about who has to man up and go to the parade that's planned Thursday to honor the Soul.

If you've drawn one of the short straws won one of the tickets, you're in for a real treat, the Parade Committee informs me. According to their press kit, there will be a marching band (pictured below):

They're practicing their song, as we speak.

Entertainment will be provided by (some of) the world famous Philadelphia Mummers.

They can't wait to perform. That's why they're having a few brews first.

Best of all, the Philadelphia Soul team float is all ready to go.

The whole team will be there waving at us and everything.

Excuse me... I'm just getting word from my Soul cell... DAMN.

Great news! I'm going to the parade. I'll see you there! Some of you, anyway.


W. Races His Book to Market

XOFF NEWS. Buoyed by the news that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has published a book about herself in the teeth of congressional approval ratings that are even lower than his own, the President of the United States has announced that a book he has dictated about what it's like to be him will be hitting the back storage rooms of bookstores all over the nation within the next few weeks.

"They will have to ask for the book by name," Press Secretary Dana Perrino conceded. "The remarkably superior high school graduates who actually shelve books at the nation's two bookstores -- Borders and Barnes & Noble -- are unlikely to carry a book by the President of the United States from the back of the store to anywhere that it might actually be seen or bought. But customers who ask for it are certain to be charmed by an account of the Bush administration from an utterly unexpected source -- that of the chief executive from whom everyone else in his administration has made a fortune by libelling him to an unprecedented degree."

President Bush is also planning, Perrino announced, to spend the rest of his second term on a book tour promoting the work. "I might as well," she quoted the president as saying, "now that we have an 'acting president' so charismatic that the people of Germany are willing to follow him to the very end. Who could compete with that?"

Multiple stops on the president's literary tour have already been booked, including a county fair in Wyoming, a cable access channel in Cowlick, West Virginia, and a college radio station in Gawdhelpus, Alabama. "We will announce other dates as they are confirmed," Perrino said.

Some reporters at the press conference questioned the "as told to" attribution of some writing credit to former press secretary Scott McClellan, who has recently become a critic of the Bush administration. Perrino denied that McClellan's involvement was any cause for concern. "This manuscript was completed well before Scott became a brilliant moral philosopher and political hero," she said. "In fact, while he was actually taking dictation on the manuscript, he was still somewhere between a talentless Texas toady and an embarrassingly inept impediment to any sort of clear communication between the White House and the press. His new-found greatness as a progressive patriot was simply not a factor in this book, although his involvement did require more than the usual complement of spell-checks, and his foreword underwent multiple surgeries for the removal of metastasizing obsequies."

The publisher -- "You Got the Buck, We Got the Printing Press & Sons -- has also released a few text excerpts. Among them:

"Dick Cheney never told me what to do. I brought a cattle prod with me from texas. The old bastard knew I'd stop his pacemaker in a second if he gave me any grief. And I would have, too."

"I know. They say I'm dumb. I just have one question for them: Do you have any idea how hard it is to cheat your way through Andover, Yale, and the Harvard Business School? It's damn near impossible. It takes organization, people skills, ruthless determination, and even an occasional lucky guess. I'm nowhere near as dumb as they'd like to think."

"Drink? You better believe it. Who wouldn't have after 9/11? Where do you think the term "shock and awe" came from? I gave the GO order in Iraq after I downed one bottle of scotch, one bottle of bourbon, and one 40-ounce bottle of Iron City beer. That's when the damn generals knew I was serious. That's my biggest doubt about Obama. World leaders have to be men of the world. FDR never made a decision in WWII without inhaling half a dozen martinis first. Churchill was blasted on brandy from day one of his prime ministership to VE-Day. Lyndon Johnson... well, whew, the stories I could tell from Herr Grandpa Prescott's diary. And JFK had injections most of us would kill for. Yet, to this day, I've never even seen Obama sip a beer. That's sick. And un-American.""

"I'm more like JFK than my 'critics' acknowledge. I went into politics for the same reason he did. Chicks. You get one kind of chick if you own a baseball team. You get a whole different kind of chick if you run the most powerful country on the planet. Enough said. If you want details, talk to Bill. Why do you think he and I hit it off so well?"

"Dan Rather. Geez. I thought he had me. Those memos. Word for word what I remember. What I couldn't believe was how his snitch remembered them word for word too. If he'd had the actual documents instead of retyped copies, I'd have been a goner. Of course, the much bigger relief was that no one ever found out I didn't know how to fly a plane. That would have been a political problem."

"You want to know about Colin Powell? I'll tell you about Colin Powell. One word. Dork. Never knew a black man who was more concerned about how his tie looked than the lies he was telling the U.N. He can go suck eggs."

"Well, I actually like Laura. I really do. She's been a good mother to those kids of ours -- daughters, I'm pretty sure. And she stays out of my way. What else can you ask of a wife? I mean, really?"

"People get upset about all those death penalty cases in Texas. Why? Do you want those people running loose in your neighborhood? No. Of course you don't. Dead is what some people really ought to be. It's a lot easier to be from Massachusetts or California and act all outraged about the vicious killers we're executing in Texas than it is to look at your next-door neighbor who got a kid murdered by some psycho and then argue that he should have cable TV, a kitty-cat, and free room and board for the rest of his natural days. Every time I signed a death warrant in Austin, I hung up that 'Mission Accomplished' banner I've gotten so much grief about. Where do you think we got it in the first place?"

"Yeah, there are always crap-weasels. George Tennent. Richard Clarke. Joe Wilson and that dumb whore wife of his. It goes with the territory. I don't pay them no mind. When all is said and done, I'm the president. That's what it'll say in the history books. Does anybody bother Truman with the crap he pulled on Tokyo Rose? No. The crap-weasels are always footnotes."

"I get tired of hearing that I'm soft on immigration. Of course I am. Never said I wasn't. I ran on it back in 2000. How do you think I overcame all that New England constipation? And a mother who looked exactly like John Madden? Her name was Maria. She took care of me when my parents were at Kennebunkport. She taught me Spanish. And she also showed me her breasts. That's why I'm so bilingual to this day. Quien bustamos las brassieros la takeitoffo nowomos. You see? I just wish that Laura wouldn't keep stalking out of the room every time 'West Side Story' is on and Barney and I start singing 'Maria' and toasting each other with Margaritas and like that. It's a lot more healthily than what we did at Skull & Bones, I can tell you."

"They can talk all they want to about 'no WMDs.' In a few years, nobody will care. I'm the one who took out Saddam. My dad had the chance, but he was too New England and CIA and crap to do it all the way. So, someday, maybe not tomorrow or next year or next decade, somebody's going to go back and look at what Saddam did when he was running Iraq. He was a scumbag. Now he's a former scumbag, a deceased scumbag, a dead and buried scumbag. I was the only one in these United States who was cool enough to buck all the tightass diplomats and make his worst nightmare come true. That's cooler than you'll ever be."

"9/11. Hey, man. You been attacked lately? I stopped those fuckers cold. In their tracks. You know anybody cooler than that? Stallone? Schwartzenegger? Eastwood? Think about it. Not even Clint Eastwood did what I did. Mention Reagan and we'll talk. But Reagan never looked across the piazza at Eli Wahabbi and Lee bin Laden and gunned them down where they stood.. I AM SO COOL."

Word is, MSM outlets like the New York Times and Newsweek were hoping for more explosive revelations. If these aren't forthcoming, book sales might be disappointing despite the fame of the author. And, at a mere 13,500 pages, the Bush book is considerably slimmer than the bestselling Clinton memoirs. George W. Bush may well be forced to take second place yet again behind the most popular president of the last sixteen years.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Superhero Politicians

We didn't start this. But we think we know how to finish it.

THE COMIC IMPERATIVE. Last week, Andrew Klavan really stirred the pot by daring to compare the hated George W. Bush with The Dark Knight's depiction of Batman:

A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds . . .

Oh, wait a minute. That's not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a "W."

There seems to me no question that the Batman film "The Dark Knight," currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society -- in which people sometimes make the wrong choices -- and a criminal sect bent on destruction.

Just searching for the piece, I discovered that the Dems and lefty blogs are really steamed about this. Klavan has drawn all kinds of responses and rebuttals. All of which is fine. But Andrew Klavan didn't start this business of inserting comic book superheroes into the national political dialogue. It was back in July 2004 that NYT reviewer Frank Rich decided that Spiderman would be a good U.S. president because he suffered from bouts of paralyzing self-doubt. Yeah, that would be a wonderful.improvement.

We should probably elevate this form of political commentary to its own genre. It's fun, it's a great way to engage the interest of young people who don't know how many states there but can list the secret identities of every superhero in the comic-book-o-sphere, and it's a lot easier playing with images instead of facts. So I thought maybe we could jump-start the discussion with a few nominations in the form of -- what else? -- pictures.

For example, it's not that hard to imagine how our two presidential candidates would cast themselves if life really were a comic book.

But it's probably not that simple for the rest of us. All his recent gymnastics about his positions on, well, practically everything make Obama seem less like Superman and more like the ultimate rubbery, stretchy commander-in-chief of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards.

You can make up your own empty suit jokes.

If you don't like that one, maybe you'd find a more appealing metaphor in the otherworldly glow of the Silver Surfer.

If doom weren't so inevitable, he'd save us. He really would.

John McCain unfortunately isn't quite as handsome and elegant as Obama. Which makes the superhero casting considerably more difficult. Does this one seem all that wrong?

It has a certain je ne sais quoi, doesn't it?

No? Then how about this one?

Well, everybody knows he has a temper.

What's important about these suggestions is that they lead to trenchant, deeply thoughtful essays, so that we can all learn in our favorite way -- by simplifying everything to the point where everybody can understand it and make an informed decision about who to vote for in the fall.

Then we can set about the challenging task of unlearning what we thought we'd figured out and start trying to find an appropriate supervillain to compare our terrible new incompetent president to.

Maybe that process witll start with Batman too. For example, it probably won't take long for someone to write an op-ed piece identifying President John McCain as...

...the most obnoxious, irascible little pissed off penguin in U.S. history.

Or President Obama as...

...the most conniving, two-faced slickster president since Bill Clinton.

You know it's going to happen that way. We've got too many comic book characters all around us to ignore the abundant opportunities. So you can start early on the supervillain challenge if you want to. I've done my part.

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