Being Nothing: George W. Bush as Presidential Simulacrum.
October 5, 2004 9:36 PM   Subscribe

Sorry, I didn't mean to hyperlink the bit about the small excerpt, which as to do with this comment and not the actual thread (which is the article in its entirety. My apologies.
When Bush stammers publicly about freedom, democracy, and the axis of evil, American media commentators gloss his remarks positively. Reporters and pundits chronically overestimate Bush in much the way Chance's admirers do, discoursing about him as if he actually possessed a political philosophy and an understanding of government policies. They overlook, understate, or make excuses for his slipshod syntax, reliance on clichés, and inability to answer either theoretical or factual questions. They inevitably refer to him as if he were a "real" person with a complex sensibility, rather than a simulacrum entirely composed of sound bites and photo opportunities.

After the press conference of April 13, 2004, for example, one television reporter acknowledged that Bush had spoken "clumsily" at times, but speculated that the president's plain speech is part of his appeal, that he uses the idioms of ordinary Americans. Other commentators approved his evident "conviction" about the war in Iraq -- referring to moments when Bush uttered the clichés about freedom with apparent vehemence. On the April 13th, 2004, edition of Hardball, Chris Matthews expressed his admiration for Bush's refusal to acknowledge any responsibility or any mistakes -- a bizarre encomium, considering the long and embarrassing moments when Bush slouched down the side of the podium, grinning and stammering, unable to think of any response, as if a computer virus had infected his personal software.
posted by The God Complex at 9:37 PM on October 5, 2004

sorry, good link though.
posted by bobo123 at 9:49 PM on October 5, 2004

Strange. The google search didn't turn up anything.

Alas. I had to have one of my infrequent contributions deleted sometime; it might as well be an interesting one.
posted by The God Complex at 9:58 PM on October 5, 2004

I thought this was a good and well-written article, but I am so tired of all the tele-psychoanalysis and literary takes on Bush over the years, I kind of glazed over a bit when I started reading it. I mean, good lord, from his being a "dry drunk", a latent sociopath who used to torture frogs, haunted by the death of his sister in childhood, to his having ADD, to Tom Tomorrow's happy puppy, to Maureen Dowd's oedipal hero, I've pretty much had it with these. The end of this administration will not come a second too soon, when it eventually happens.
posted by psmealey at 10:40 AM on October 6, 2004

This was great!
Thank you TGC!
OK, the clincher is the last line so if you didn't read the entire article you missed some really great stuff. And for your enjoyment, those of you who demand instant gratification, the last line:

But in the hyperreal United States, where "reality TV" has usurped reality itself, the problematic status of "the real" is precisely the issue.
posted by nofundy at 12:29 PM on October 6, 2004

I knew I'd used "simulacrum" on Metafilter a few times. So, I googled it :

".....rides into town to sweep up the remains of the day - and, as he stanches the bleeding from the scattered legs, arms and torsos with artful applications of sawdust, taco-sauce and and MSG powder and binds them all together with Saran-Wrap (bought on credit at the government store for a minor 751% markup over domestic retail and paid for by the sale of Hamburger Helper made from reprocessed inner city orphan crack babies), he will reanimate his simulacrum of democracy, arms legs and heads stitched up random and akimbo, with Miracle Gro and an ecumenical prayer from his copy of "A Fighting Man's Field Guide to World Religions, Strange Sects, Curious Cults, and Potentially Satanic Manifestations."

When, amidst the lightning strike and the sulfurous puff of smoke, the thing finally opens it's eyes.......he'll hop on his trusty steed and haul ass out of there."
(Troutfishing - May 16, 2004)

But, the "he" I referred to there was Colin Powell. George W. Bush is too small and weak to pull off such powerful - though misguided - juju as outlined above.
posted by troutfishing at 8:12 PM on October 6, 2004

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