Ed Driscoll

A 'Bam is Whatever Room He Is In

“Once upon a time jesters courted kings. Now enfeebled kings court jesters,” George Neumayr writes at the American Spectator:

Panting after the approval of the smug comedian Jon “Stewart,” Barack Obama taped an interview for The Daily Show on Wednesday.The smirking jester is also scheduled to hold a kind of charity benefit for his sickly king this weekend, a Comic Relief 2010 called The Rally to Restore Sanity. Obama and the Dems are suffering from a debilitating political disease, but Jon, Whoopi, Robin and Joy, among other celebrity jesters, stand ready to help them in their affliction.

No cure appears likely, though. Comic Relief 2010 may raise a little money and get some college students to the polls, but it is surely too little too late. As many dismayed Democratic strategists even suspect, Obama’s ill-advised Daily Show appearance is a harbinger of defeat.

It is reminiscent of John McCain’s odd decision to host Saturday Night Live shortly before election day in 2008. McCain’s campaign started as a joke and ended as one, with McCain fishing for laughs off SNL parodies that were predicated upon his imminent defeat.

At a time of high unemployment, Obama is content to play the empty celebrity, appearing on shows as shallow as his policies and delivering trendy messages about the latest anxiety of the coastal elite — the “gay teen suicide epidemic.”

“Can The Comedian Save The Vote?” asks Matt Drudge of Stewart. No, this jester can’t save his king. Still, Stewart is feeling his oats, basking in near-universal approval from the liberal elite. They can’t get enough of him and live in dread fear of losing his approval. A desperately contrite Rick Sanchez, so grateful to Stewart for taking a reconciliation phone call from him after his firing, pronounced the comedian the “classiest” guy in the world.

While Stewart engages in a lot of cutesy mugging and seemingly self-deprecating humor about such accolades, he takes himself very seriously indeed.

It’s hard out there for a Palace Guard comedian.

Elsewhere at the intersection of politics and show biz, Steve Sailer links to this great 2008 article by entertainment industry attorney Jackie Fuchs, who has one of the ultimate Six Degrees of Separation stories, working with Joan Jett in the ’70s teen group the Runaways (under the nom de roque of Jackie Fox), and eventually getting her law degree with — you guessed it — Barry O himself:

I don’t remember which came first, the persona or the black hair, but they pretty much went hand-in-hand. One day Joan just decided to become a bad-ass rock star. She dyed her hair black, bought a leather jacket, and started scowling. She turned her slouch from that of a shy person to that of a rocker who wears her guitar slung just a bit too low. She started standing at the front of the stage and doing the most talking in interviews. It was a noticeable and calculated transformation and if it seemed a bit silly and over-the-top at first, it has served her well over time. Act like a rock star long enough, do it unfailingly and well enough, and you become one.

I do have to wonder sometimes if that’s the Joan that was always there hiding under the shyness and brown hair, like the butterfly hidden inside the caterpillar, or whether she had to give up a significant part of Joan Larkin in order to become Joan Jett. And if so, was it worth it or does transforming yourself like that make it impossible for a question like that even to make sense?

When I met Barack Obama, in our first year of law school, he had already put on his big-time politician act. He just didn’t quite have it polished, and he hadn’t figured out that he needed charm and humor to round out the confidence and intelligence. One of our classmates once famously noted that you could judge just how pretentious someone’s remarks in class were by how high they ranked on the “Obamanometer,” a term that lasted far longer than our time at law school. Obama didn’t just share in class – he pontificated. He knew better than everyone else in the room, including the teachers. Or maybe even he knew he didn’t know, but knew that the leader of the free world had to be able to convince others that he did. Looking back now I can see that he had already decided that he was a future president, and he was working hard at filling that suit.

A man is whatever room he is in.

(H/T: 5’F)

Related: “The move is classic Don Draper. He announces abruptly that he has evolved — instead of actually evolving.”