Thursday, January 22, 2009
your own genuine Obama shrine
Obama is a place and I've been there. It's a middle size town in Fukui prefecture on the West Coast of Japan. It's chock full of Buddhist temples, and one of them is where I went to spend the rest of my life, or seven days, whichever came first. And in this picture postcard temple was a picture postcard shrine called a butsudan. It was pretty much the centre of the temple.
It occurred to me that if some bright spark in Obama started manufacturing genuine Obama shrines they'd make out like bandits. There'd be a photo of Barrack Obama there with candles either side and a little space out the front for offerings of rice, fruit, and cakes etc. An Obama we can believe in! And how better to express your belief than by praying at a shrine that's not only for Obama, it's from Obama.
I don't see why anyone should have a problem with this. Obama is just like all those other things we have to believe in. He said so himself - 'change you can believe in'. Ayah! Another belief, and we have so many already! Anyway, since it's all about belief, you may as well do it properly and have a shrine. A genuine Obama shrine!
Anyway there it was on TV - millions of believers, their eyes full of tears. Reality? Banished. What I saw on TV was so like what one sees in the born-again hallelujah halls it was spooky. And everyone said the same things. It was like listening to a mantra. The American dream was true after all! A black man as president! In our lifetimes! We never thought we'd see the day! If only my grandfather had lived to see this!
Mantras are good. They work to neutralise the brain and stop distractions entering. And who needs to be distracted by little things like Obama's years working at a CIA front company, or his cabinet appointments of the same old warhawks, bankers, and dual citizens, and never mind his abject kowtowing to AIPAC. Between wake-up-and-smell-the-catfood and warm-and-fuzzy, it's a no-brainer. And God bless the no-brainers, say the powers that be. In no-brainers they trust.
And in amongst the 24/7 adoration on the TV, not a single soul had a single word of doubt. No sentiments along the lines of - 'I'll believe it when I see it'. God forbid anyone should stand up and say, 'Meet the new boss, same as the old boss' (or perhaps that should be - Meet the new puppet, same as the old puppet?) What's American for 'Burn them at the stake?' 'Burn them like a steak', I guess. Grain fed, of course.
But really you have to go hats off to the PTB. Obama is a stunning move. And really breathtaking in its cynicism. An African American gets dropped into the Presidency at the precise moment that the whole thing goes tits up. It's like handing the car keys to the teenage boy just as the rings, the diff, and the gearbox are all about to shit themselves. And when it starts grinding metal on metal, guess who gets the blame?
Otherwise, for those not already drugged into stupefaction Obama is the perfect Soma. But never mind Aldous Huxley, how about George Orwell? Honestly, what sort of regime would have a stern looking fellow as its pin-up boy? Is Ronald McDonald stern? Orwell never worked in marketing obviously. Those who've given the world Obama, get marketing.
Speaking of meat products, humans are smarter than cattle. This is obvious since we eat them, and not the other way round. But perhaps 'smarter' is the wrong word. Let's put it this way, are cattle capable of belief? No - but we are. And unlike those stupid cattle there's no way we're going to be led to the slaughterhouse unless we believe it's the right thing to do. And finally, with McSmiley Obama we can all believe again. Those who had lost faith have found it anew - the disillusioned, freshly re-illusioned.
The masses that George Bush had united in disbelief are now back on board. We are one, they all chant. Obama, we'll follow you to hell and back - for that smile, those adorable kids, those reassuring words - anything. And those doubters? Those enemies of the American dream? A black man is president! We waited our whole lives for this! Send them to wherever enemies of the state get sent. It's the least they deserve.
And as the miseries become legion: bankruptcies climb; old neighbourhoods become deserted; the hunger-driven discontent rises; law and order breaks down; the cops go berserk; and reality just generally goes to hell, the freshly minted believers will turn to their leader for solace. They'll light some more candles, put out a votive twinkie, and let the mantra fill their head banishing all distraction. A black man is president! I never thought I'd live to see the day! The American dream is true!