Title: Loving Obama — How Can We Not Love Obama? Seriously, click on the link. That’s the actual title.
Before the fall brings us down, before the election season begins in earnest with all its nastiness and vulgarity, before the next batch of stupid scandals and gaffes, before Sarah Palin tries to convert her movie into reality and Joe Biden resumes his imitation of an embarrassing uncle and Newt and Callista Gingrich [FIG.1] creep us all out, can we just enjoy Obama for a moment? Before the policy choices have to be weighed and the hard decisions have to be made, can we just take a month or two to contemplate him the way we might contemplate a painting by Vermeer or a guitar lick by the early-seventies Rolling Stones or a Peyton Manning pass or any other astounding, ecstatic human achievement? Because twenty years from now, we’re going to look back on this time as a glorious idyll in American politics, with a confident, intelligent, fascinating president riding the surge of his prodigious talents from triumph to triumph. Whatever happens this fall or next, the summer of 2011 is the summer of Obama.
It’s also the summer of 9.2% unemployment and a president threatening to starve the elderly and veterans. How can we not love him? Easy, pal, all too easy. Andrew Sullivan just called to say “Dude, that guy’s laying the purple prose on a bit thick.”
It continues from there and gets worse, managing to fake a quote from Walt Whitman and put Obama up above Ronald Reagan along the way. It includes lines like this:
But even if you disagree with him, even if you hate him, even if you are his enemy, at this point you must admire him.
No, I don’t. The only thing I must do in relation to him is ensure that he is stopped and defeated.
“I am large, I contain multitudes,” Walt Whitman [FIG.3] wrote, and Obama lives that lyrical prophecy. Christopher Booker’s 2004 book The Seven Basic Plots, a wide-ranging study from the Epic of Gilgamesh on and a surprisingly convincing explanation for why we crave narrative, reduced all stories to a few plots, each with its own kind of hero. Amazingly, Barack Obama fulfills the role of hero in each of these ancient story forms.
As far as I can tell, this is not an Onion parody. It is one of the most over-the-top, embarrassing pieces of idol worship I’ve ever seen. Stephen Marche wrote the piece as a serious sonnet to Obama’s alleged virtues, his heroic qualities, and his life narrative. Marche all but declares Obama to be a deity (Evan Thomas beat him to that one). He does declare The Man Who Had Never Run A Lemonade Stand Prior to Being Elected President a hero out of legend, an archetype right out of Joseph Campbell.
Honestly, it’s just gross. (h/t Ace)