Tuesday, November 4, 2008


All of this started as a tongue-in-cheek response to a group of overzealous Obama supporters. One compared Obama to Jack Kennedy, another to Martin Luther King Jr., and another to Superman. As they spun out more and more outlandish fantasies for an Obama presidency, I couldn't help but try and top them with a suggestion of my own:

"Also, according to rumor, a single tear from Obama's cheek can slay demons and cure vilitigo and impetigo. His stride is as of a titan's, seven leagues at a time, and while he holds a microphone in his hand he canst take no mortal wound wound nor shed a single drop of his own blood. He speaks the native tongue of birds, and converses happily with all beasts of hoof and paw, even to the lowliest vole and marmot. Gracious as the kings of old, Obama carries no money nor answers unkind word with like. Peonies spring up where his feet trod, and were he to lay his weary head upon the ground a mighty cedar, like unto the old father trees of Bsharri and Barouk, would spring forth to shade his noble brow. In the elven tongue he is Lothlornienel, with means "Laughter in the High Places", and the dwarves call him earthfriend, as well as "Khazad ak Manu", which means "He who does not wear patriotic lapel pins." His is the drill that shall pierce the heavens: believe in him believing in you! The Neocons speak of him in hushed tones in their shadowed, dusty halls, and refer to the ancient scrolls of the fallen empire of Mnem, which foretells of the coming of the Dusky Childe, who shall scourge their number from the halls and rotundas and tear down the altars in the high places and bring the three terrible plagues of Health Care and White Guilt and Political Transparency. They say that he will travel to Shibboleth – where the heart of Karl Rove is kept, inanimate, inside a Canopic jar – and break the seals and feast upon the contents therein: and with the power thus consumed he will erect a throne of jade and jasper and lapus lazuli, and rule upon it, and the thunderous gnashing of teeth from the Red States will play Hail to the Chief as he ascends the dais."

It was pure silliness, but it got a few laughs. And the next day, at work, I couldn't help but mentally prod at the idea of Obama as a kind of mythical political superhero: a modern Paul Bunyan or John Henry or Davy Crockett. It was a ludicrous yet compelling thought. Eventually, drawing inspiration from the excellent music of Stan Rogers, I jotted off a short story. It was a caricature of a caricature; the media's overblown take on a political figure blown into something bigger and weirder. It was an odd little story, but it had a certain charm. I liked it well enough to do another, and another, and another. None of them were what you'd call great, and none of them were anywhere near as good as the first one, but they were fun to write. And as long as I kept having fun, I kept writing them. When I felt as if I was getting burnt out on politics, I put my pen down. When I felt a surge of new interest, I picked it up again.

I support Barack Obama because many of his political views coincide with mine, and because he is charismatic and intelligent and even-tempered. I don't think that he's any kind of miraculous superman who has come to save the country; I never bought into my own parody. I think that he is a politician. I think -- I hope -- that he will be a good politician, the kind of leader that we desperately need right now.

I hope that he will be great.

I had originally intended to end the Obamadämmerung with an epilogue, called War Councils, showing how the different factions of beltway lords coalesced around the two candidates, resulting in impending war. I even wrote most of it, and then shelved it. It wasn't very good. There was no action, no drama: it just petered out into nothingness, with no clear winner or loser. It was a lousy ending, because it wasn't an ending. How could it be? The election wasn't over.

Now it is.

Barack Obama is the President-Elect of the United States of America. Whether you voted for him or not, agreed with him or not, you have to admit that this is a once in a lifetime event. Some day, years from now, I'll take out my wallet and pull out a yellowing paper ballot-voucher and show it to my children and tell them how we elected the first African American president. And if I'm lucky, if I'm very lucky, they won't see what the big deal is; they won't understand why his skin color should make any kind of difference.

All in all, today has been a very good day.

Expect new stories sometime soon.


Sam said...

Yes, more stories! The tale of the Great Blue Landslide must be told!

...JFK is dead. He's no longer here. But on my back, and in my heart... HE LIVES ON! DIGGING A HOLE TO PIERCE THE HEAVENS!

Anonymous said...

Victory indeed. Thanks for the stories, and looking forward to new ones. I think, and hope, President Obama will be a great leader too, peonies or no peonies. :)

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say that I've been eager for the election to end. Partially because I wanted to see the winner but realistically because I'm waiting to read the end to these stories.

Patrick said...

Well, hell, all the stuff you wrote entertained me. It had an awesome style that reminded me of Tolkien with a mix of something familiar but unrecognizeable.

The best parts, though, I must admit, were not so much the stories as the myths that were wrapped around them. All of the tales of the Beltway Lords, of Nader, Obama, McCain, etc.

You stepped so far beyond the bounds of sanity that you leapt through the roiling seas of madness and found new, stable ground of Awesome.

And hey, Americans? Good goddamn job, somewhere deep down, the rest of us knew you would pull it off eventually.

Anonymous said...

This has been a lot of fun. I love the result of exaggerating politicians into Beltway Lords, the mythicness of this. I like this world you're using.

I'm glad Obama won.

Anonymous said...


Seriously, this stuff is awesome.

Ellie said...

Hey there!

A friend of mine pointed me towards your writing and I really respect your decision to not write more --frankly, the stuff is golden and if the writer doesn't feel like the continued work is up to snuff, I'm willing to trust you.

That said, I hope you take another crack at it some point. The purple language of epic fantasy and the high drama of the political theater were well meshed by your hand. I wish the world held more satire like this.

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Oh God, I need more!

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He's certainly overrated when people talk about him like he's a divine entity, but it's silly to say the shortcomings of his administration are due to factors other than the filibuster.

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Yes, Obama is overrated, but if there were enough Democrats in Congress to block a filibuster, we'd have a functioning economy right now.

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