Ever since the election of President Obama in 2008, I’ve increasingly thought that he’s not a human being like most of the rest of us, but a performer in an alien-inspired post-modernist TV reality show.
In case this is not obvious, just consider the following. There was a time, perhaps a generation ago, when politicians who thought of themselves as being of the “left” betrayed their principles and their electors as a way of staying in power. Or at least that is what they thought they were doing. Recently, however, a new generation of these leaders have begun to behave in ways that are so gratuitously, so deliberately and pointlessly offensive to those who have elected them, that there must be something more at stake than just everyday political treason and cowardice.
The simplest explanation is probably as follows. For the last 25 years or so, politics in most Western countries has actually been a kind of post modern reality show, organised by aliens from outer space. Let us say from Zeta Reticuli, since that seems to be a fashionable place for Aliens to come from. It’s unclear how this long-running saga developed, but it seems to have its inspiration in the kind of television first pioneered in my childhood, when the makers of the TV programme would get people to do ridiculous things and record the reactions of ordinary members of the public. No doubt technology capable of traveling between stars can do this kind of thing much better. So what I think we have here is a kind of reality show in which alien figures playing allegedly left-wing politicians do more and more outrageous and ridiculous things to betray their principles, just to see how much they can get away with. When the support of the electorate for these politicians has fallen below a certain level (a certain number of “Krugmans” as they are called) then the show will presumably stop. But we are obviously not there yet.
The show seems to have become more sophisticated over the last generation, as one would expect even for aliens capable of interstellar travel. Bill Clinton, for example, was a politician evidently betraying his principles for power. By comparison, Barrack Obama is obviously an actor playing a politician who has betrayed his principles for power, and taking this betrayal to self-defeating and ridiculous extremes. It seems the scriptwriters have recently decided to reinvent their “Obama” character as a kind of second George Bush, and they have had him praise the very policy – the invasion of Iraq – which he so strongly opposed a decade ago. The only reason for doing this, surely, is to deliberately provoke Obama’s electorate, to see how far he can actually go without losing the support of his party. We will see what happens in future episodes.
It is probably in American foreign policy that the show’s greatest comic success lies. Again, the approach has become more sophisticated over time. The various Secretaries of State of Democratic presidents have been uniformly awful, but they have become awful in a more sophisticated way as time has passed. When Madeleine Albright talked about the United States as the “indispensable nation”, or when Hillary Clinton was hectoring other countries about Internet freedom while that freedom was being undermined in her own country, then I think if you look carefully you can see that they understood the joke, and were laughing along with the rest of us. By contrast, John Kerry seems a completely post-modernist figure, essentially a clown are playing somebody’s idea of what an outrageously reactionary secretary of state would actually be like. But I don’t actually think Kerry is a worthy addition to the show and I would imagine that he will not last that much longer. There is such a thing as subtlety, but there is also trying to be too clever, and one of the problems with a show of this kind, which spends all its time laughing at itself and its audience, is that it eventually disappears up whatever the aliens concerned use for orifices.
To be continued……