Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bullshit Perfected

We interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast to talk about a very different creative presentation. Please don't take it for conceit when I say I am extremely gifted with words and with storytelling, which has at times manifested itself as bullshit. This ability, to talk sideways and backwards and upside down and inside out without anyone noticing has gotten me out of countless scrapes, much to the chagrin of Jiminy Crickett, whom I keep locked up in the lowest dungeon of the darkest castle, screaming for his precious star to hear him.

Nevertheless, his screams echo through the walls and my brain and I am at once incredibly grateful for my artistry with words and half truths yet inescapably saddened that I should be able to accomplish so much by hiding low cards that comprise the bulk of my deck. Fortunately, my tell is hard to find and I've always been able to give off the impression that I'm playing with four of a kind.

I believe in honesty and in fairness and yet I get by and ahead by being less than honest and not completely fair, like so many successful people in our society. My only guilty comfort in which I can partake is that so few people are honest and righteous and fair, relying instead on the faux but compelling appearance thereof. My inward ability to craft and alter has given me an outward and painfully clear view of the meaningless rhetoric that gives us hope that society can be improved while hiding the speakers true intent and actions mired in the complacency and apathy that has become the hallmark of our society.

Watching Barack Obama's acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States was the clearest example in recent memory of what it means to be truly good at bullshit. I know I'm good at the art form, but never have I seen such a stunning display of demagoguery, of deft manipulation of the heart and soul of viewers, telling them all what they wanted to hear without committal and certainly without ever revealing his hand. I may be able to see his tell, but I find it absolutely impossible to make out what cards Obama is in fact holding. I know only that I have witnessed a master at work. Politics is about perception, not about reality, but Obama's speech make the two nigh indistinguishable.

Listen carefully to the speech and you will notice that he says everything the crowd wants to hear, about the problems we face and the need to fix them. Obama makes half promises to fix them, but never does he fully outline what he will do or how he will do it. He put out all the issues with just the right phrasing and emphasis, never dawdling, keeping a constant flow that makes it impossible to pick out a misstep or a prime intention.

There is also never a true indication of where exactly on the spectrum he lies, he never makes the leap from general to specific so that everyone can agree with him in spirit but without any content to hone in on and be exactly sure that their wants match his own. Notice the respect her garners by giving it out, the high horse he rides without anyone noticing, praising Senator McCain while deftly and regretfully deriding everything that McCain stands for.

Without a linear point to follow audiences instead are left with a flowing mass of promises that can be backed out of and goals that can be altered, of ends that could have multiple means applied. Obama cited all the great men of recent American history, taking up their mantle and waving the flag of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr, Franklin D. Roosevelt. He paraphrases the Shining City on the Hill and ever is the utterance of change, his end all be all catchphrase which can inspire and instill hope without ever defining itself.

Make no mistake, I am a registered Democrat, liberal American and proud opponent to everything the inconsequential, arrogant, misguided little man who sits upon his sad little thrown of his sad little imaginary kingdom. Come November I will be casting my vote for Barack Obama. That being said, I do so knowing that I am taking a calculated risk. I am banking on Obama's cards being as good as I hope they are, knowing that if his opponent bluffs his way through the game he will unveil a hand that can mean nothing less than continued war, poverty, stagnancy and a total irreverence for what America could be.

John McCain will leave this country no better than when he came to office, that is the only thing of which I can be sure. I sincerely hope Obama sees and believes and will in fact fight for the America he whispered of but never defined, but my cynical nature will never let me forget that he is an incalculably gifted demagogue that I am banking on using those precision tools of politics and bullshit to make a better America. Today, I cast a vote affirming my faith in Barack Obama, hoping that it is a faith that will be rewarded and not disappointed.

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