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Float like a butterfly, sting like a... butterfly

By Michael J. Smith on Wednesday March 5, 2008 10:03 AM

A correspondent writes, about Obamania:
... why do people get so preposterously excited about him?
This one, I think, we can answer:

1) He's not a Boomer. Young people in particular are thoroughly sick of my generation -- Hillary being a very good example of why -- and Barack escaped by a year or two that dismal demographic ghetto.

2) He's a much better entertainer than the competition. That is, he has the knack of appearing natural, comfortable, and spontaneous under the bright lights. Hillary, by contrast, can't help looking as covertly frantic as a scorpion surprised in the act of creeping into your shoe.

3) He's new. We haven't seen him, and seen him, and seen him until we're sick of the sight of him.

4) Most important: He has been able to situate himself as a "floating signifier" -- a sign that can mean whatever you want it to mean, a clean, pristine vessel that you can fill with whatever significance you choose.

Quite literally: What's not to like? This is, alas, a question very easy to answer in the case of Hillary.

Comments (14)


"Hillary, by contrast, can't help looking as covertly frantic as a scorpion surprised in the act of creeping into your shoe"
a monster-us

worthy of the late bull lee

re: no.3:
Stop me if I'm wrong, but am I not the only one here who's also seen Obama, and seen him, and fucking seen him, and seen him hyped mercilessly, relentlessly shoved into my face and down my throat until I find myself nauseous and when I puke, I can only puke "Change" and "Hope"?

Just wondering.

Oh, and btw: I, too, get a huge charge out of watching Hillary react when things go off-script in the slightest fashion... and that "shame on you" rap was priceless; I found myself flashing back forty-some years and felt as if I were being bitched out by my fourth-grade teacher for drawing in class instead of doing my arithmetic.


"drawing in class instead of doing my arithmetic"
and you still can't
worth a ho


mike f
if your art
knows of kold command
maybe you could "draw"
mother scorpion for us


now she has gathered
a second wind's second wind
thru her shrewd series
of groin kicks
just prior to the twin triumphs
last nite
she can now act grandly
offering her second spot
to obama's kamp

all bow to

SHE who must be ....

the image of
that ever so bolderish head
staring up glare eyed
out of the party bosses' waste basket
once more seems to drift
out of sight

David D:

All very true. The only thing not to like is the boy band fan hysteria that gets promoted again and again and again. I don't wonder why people get so excited, but more, curiously, who the fuck are those people?

Bat Delacourte:

Mother Clinton will be sneaking into our shoes for a while longer. Texas and Ohio have stood up for her. I'm willing to bet Pennsylvania will too. I'm speculating, but I'd also bet that most of the super-delegates would welcome a chance to line up behind her.

I'm thinking that her nomination would be a good thing. Though not in the sense that water is good when you're thirsty. Liberals have some punishment coming, as a reward for their appalling, infantile goo-goo frenzy over Obama, and she's the one to provide it.

Well, as a recent excellent CounterPunch article re:DP self-destruction puts it:

"...what else could the Democratic Party possibly do to finally destroy itself?

Nominate Hillary Clinton."

I also quite agree that inasmuch as I enjoyed watching Hillary getting her ass paddled so far, the better outcome in the long run would be for her to be nominated. It'd suck in the short term, but in the long term, we'd get to watch the most spectacular high-profile burn-and-crash since the Challenger.

Roger, Hillary Oh-Eight, you are "go" at throttle-up... uh-oh...

tim d:

Amusingly enough, a suffolk poll recently revealed that:

Independent candidate Ralph Nader could get up to 13 percent of the likely Democratic vote in the November election in Ohio, according to the poll. Eleven percent of Democratic voters said they would vote for Nader if their favored Democratic candidate (either Clinton or Obama) did not win the nomination. Two percent of Democratic voters say they will vote for Nader regardless of whom the Democratic nominee is. (http://news.bostonherald.com/news/2008/view.bg?&articleid=1077392&format=&page=1&listingType=2008pres#articleFull)

i guess that's also to punish the other side...


As a Hyde Park/Kenwood resident who's been sick of that motherfucker since day one, I could talk shit all day about Obamania and who I've seen sacrificed on the altar in his name. If he gets the win, I think a lot of people will be seriously disappointed or seriously deluded after a term or so.

As someone on the tail end of the so-called Gen X marketing demographic, let me just say that we're sick of you washed up had your chance crusty shorts havin' hippie motherfuckers telling us who to vote for and which particular manifestations of imperial values we're supposed to have... and that if anything we're even stupider and even more easily coopted than you and yours were. Obama is our answer to your MLK. MLK got on stamps -- maybe someday Barack will be on money.

Anyway, MJ, I think you're spot on -- BO is something fresh (forgive the pun, couldn't resist) for the "rest of us." There's everyone who's under however old the boomers are now, plus all the people over that cutoff age who didn't get all the perks of being a boomer. Add to that the inroads 'Bama is trying to make into the Latino (si, se puede), union (now that Edwards is gone, I'm populist), hawkish/Zionist (AIPAC fundraiser, 90,000 more troops rhetoric) and corporate (Fuck you very much, ComEd) votes and you have a shrinking constituent for Hillary.

The Clintons know how to get nasty and she's a heel like no other, but on the other hand I'm almost looking forward to saying "I told you so" once our second black president picks up the white man's burden even more shamelessly than the first. "I love this game!" Sigh...


Damn my lack of faith in democracy! I called my herd stupider than the last one... We're not stupid enough! We know how to obey television and YouTube!
I blame the gin... I should only post at work...


" MJ, I think you're spot on "

'spot on' ???
this use ...a one off

even if i sound
the craven brit-licker alert
you seem otherwise



ktm sez:

I could talk shit all day about Obamania and who I've seen sacrificed on the altar in his name.
I wish you would, ktm. I'd enjoy reading that.

Behind every great success is a great crime, as the man said. But Obama's formative years have come in for very little scrutiny, and the squeaky-clean rose-colored official version is the only one anybody has heard.


I'm mainly thinking about it from an on-the-ground perspective and all the Obamabots in my neighborhood, but in terms of people you may have heard of the first ones I thought of were the Republican sacrificial lambs. It was like they wanted Obama to win even more than the Dems did, or at least they let the election get stolen from them before it even happened. First there was the job they did on Jack Ryan ('memba him?):


That was enough of a circus. All the news channels made the guy look like an ultra-perv. (Aside -- I saw this ref'd in the archives, or in a link from the archives, talking about OR Dem rapists and how Jack gettin' his freak on was chump change in comparison). Never mind that both Jack and Jeri wanted the lid kept on this. It got blown open at the most opportune time, even then I was like, "Great timing..."

After that, the Repubs had to scramble to find a replacement candidate, and it was like they got together in the back room and were like, "Who can we get who can out-house nigger their house nigger? Where the fuck is Keyes?" It's like all the other guys from the primary had vanished. Oberweis is running for a House slot this year against Foster, who's backed by... yes, some grinning asshole of note who says "Change" during the commercial. Oberweis finished not too far behind Ryan in the primary, but I guess the GOP wanted to go black-on-black for the race. It feels like really funny business, even now.

Check a little history here:
Kind of nice because it actually stops where Keyes starts. You get to read all the press about the divorce nonsense, some more praise for Reagan from Obama and the primary results. Obama actually got me to go out and vote... against him. One of my few primary appearances. Even before the DNC daisy chain dick suck I had a bad feeling about him. I think it was the shit eating grin, it still really sets me on edge.

But, yeah, it was basically like this guy came out of nowhere, had the enemy hand him the win on a silver platter, and even had the rest of the nation sucking his dick before the election even happened. On that ilsenate site, note the entry about the NY Times hyping him. It starts with the shit eating grin and continues on to all the other stuff you've heard before at this point. It was like he was very carefully packaged before they went public with him, and worse, all his bad history and past mistakes were packaged and presented, too...

Which brings me to his fucking book. I used to smoke and for a long time I couldn't go to Walgreen's without having that same shit eating grin staring at me from dozens of dust jackets. They sold his fucking book right by the registers, just like they sell all the other "Oh, yeah, I needed to get that too" items. My ex-roommate bought a copy for him mom for Christmas. It was that sort of warm, fuzzy bullshit.

And yes, with his books he takes a few pages from Dubya's how-to manual. Obama aired all of his dirt before anyone else could, which is smart. That way you seem honest and transparent, you can run the sort of holier-than-thou I-don't-sling-mud campaign he's running, and you get to set the context for your sins instead of letting the other guy do it. Instead of being a drug-addled wastrel, he was trying to "push questions of who I was out of my mind." He sounds like he's fucking Christ in the garden asking his father to take this cup away from him for he doesn't want to taste its deadly poison. Thank god he got his act together and stepped up to the plate, huh?

Another early-ish episode that got some airtime was when he made a stirring anti-war speech at UIC with Daley. What the fuck? This motherfucker appears hand-in-hand with Daley and he's not suspect? Nope. Instead, he talked his usual half ass bullshit about how anti-war he was, there was actually some protesting and a few people calling bullshit on him.

The record states:
"I'm glad they were there," Obama said later. "They feel a sense of urgency about a war that should have never been authorized and a war that should have never been fought."

He loves democracy in action after the fact. At the time they were swept under the rug or otherwise escorted to less disruptive positions by Chicago's finest. That's how the whole thing has felt, he's always seemed like the image of everything that most of the people feel they want, exactly the sort of floating signifier mentioned in the original post. He's always getting his cake and eating it, too -- anti-war at the rally, pro-democracy and generous to the crackpots after the rally. The example of his toothless "keep radioactive waste out of our parks as long as it's not Exelon's waste" legislation is another example that has gotten its fair share of press -- he got to make his backers happy, but he also fought the good fight for us, the system is just too powerful for Obama right now. That's why he needs more power, so he can do the right thing for us.

Seriously, this guy feels like Christ. It's like motherfuckers think he's the fucking Christ. His campaign has been about the audacity of irrationality and blind faith. Granted, it's not like the way hasn't been paved. People think that the GOP has a monopoly on Jesus freaks, but without real cable I still get at least 3 24 hour Bible channels, not to mention all the kooky cable access programs forwarding whatever watered down Nation of Islam theories. When the Columbia exploded I heard two ladies having a conversation about how it was God punishing America for tolerating Bush as our head of state.

When he was like, "You're the wave and I'm riding you," I was like, Fuck, that's just sick and wrong. He must be on the most fucked up power trip, but it's okay because it's our power trip. Leave it to America to come up with a Benetton Big Brother. In the second youtube video you posted there were plenty of fascist elements you noted, there was also that stark black-on-white poster that one guy was waving around. It had the old-school cult of personality aesthetic to it, but again, that fucking shit-eating grin. It's inescapable, it mocks me constantly, I can't talk about it rationally but I can feel the utter dread and repulsion...

I watched my ex-roommate join the fold, it was nearly instantaneous. He's another black guy who's voting for the black guy. I remember reading a rant several years ago about the persistence of the "one drop of black blood" myth, but now it's okay again. Obama's not even an Oreo, for fuck's sake, he's like one of those vanilla cookie oreos that's tan on the outside and lily white on the inside. His dad wasn't from America, he was here to do his Ph.D. studies at Harvard. That shit ain't hood, bitches. Considering all the scrutiny that regular folk get and all the fuss about light skinned, dark skinned, how you act, etc. it's fucked up what a pass this guy's gotten. Black agenda report confessed to originally giving him a pass because he's black. He's been milking his one drop of black blood. He doesn't even have to, everyone else does it for him.

He didn't have to sabatoge Ryan's campaign, the Tribune did it for him. He didn't have to say he was waffling or maybe overly optimistic about withdrawing troops, his aide did it for him. He doesn't have to sling mud at Hillary, he has his people do it for him. And he's so dignified about it, too! He has his loyal aides purge the misguided, negative aides. He has the purged give their own confessions, how they disappointed the campaign and themselves. It feels like a pretty novel way of suppressing free speech.

So whither American fascism? I almost feel like with the recent regimes, the Repubs look outward (Russkies, Islamo-fascists) and the Dems look inward (Waco, prison-industrial complex). I almost feel like our green collar workers are the next bit of fascist legacy to look forward to -- corporate wage slaves that are also beholden to political officers (and no negative comments on the job, or off the record!). After all Obama cares about the environment and he cares about jobs for Americans. What a prick.

Anyway, there's a taste of some of my bile. Thanks for tricking me into pissing away half of my work day, MJS.

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