Expecting fair and balanced commentary about the President’s State of the Union Speech from any source owned by Rupert Murdock brings to mind the old folk axiom: If you keep going to conservative subsidized media for unbiased punditry then you probably enjoy hanging upside-down in a straightjacket more than Houdini did.
It seemed natural to expect conservative media to hear the President’s speech and immediately follow it with Bill O’Reilly (speaking <em>ex catherdra</em>) telling the audience that all across America folks were recoiling in horror at what they had just heard.
Certain comedians (on Fox) can do the instantaneous mind reading and extrapolate the meaning so quickly and smoothly that they put Carnac the Magnificent to shame. It takes an added measure of chutzpa for them to sell their snake oil cure propaganda as a miraculous medical breakthrough, but money breeds contempt and exorbitant paychecks make it worthwhile for the fabulous charlatans in the quote journalism world unquote to say what they are paid to say.
For a columnist lacking in mind reading prowess the only way to report on how the speech went over, seemed to be to go to an Irish bar and watch the viewer reactions there.
At the gin mill we selected, the audience telegraphed their response by chanting: “Jobs, jobs, jobs” before the President said the first word of the speech.
President Obama has been reported to be an excellent orator, but seeing that after ten minutes he lost the audience, could only indicate that this wasn’t one of his best spellbinding efforts. If the folks in an Irish bar aren’t paying close attention to his every word, then calling it good oratory seems a bit inaccurate.
One fellow in the bar noted that in California, not only are jobs a hot agenda item, but the fact that a computer glitch has been holding up his unemployment checks from December and this is causing him extensive grief (up to and including three heart attacks in one day [one at home, two in the emergency room]) and thus made employment the only topic he wanted to hear.
Some good Samaritans have helped him with loans to cover his rent, but the thing that really frosts him is that even though his checks for mid and late December have yet to be delivered, his W-2 form has arrived and it considers them paid out and taxable.
It’s interesting to note that a computer glitch had played hob with the paychecks for teachers in the Los Angeles School District recently. Is “computer glitch” the Internet version of the old cliché “the check is in the mail” excuse? Gees if the Republican governor has run things down to that extent, why doesn’t he just explain that he inherited some very bad computer hardware from the previous Democratic governor and thus “the governator” is blameless?
Anther guy in the bar was a fellow of Chicano heritage (he was a roadie for a rock band composed mostly of Irishmen and hence he is knowledgeable about all the <em>pugue mahone</em> topics) who was concerned about the fact that he is owed money from his days of service in Vietnam and thinks that doesn’t augur well for the members of the military who are being injured in the Middle East now.
The bar tender (is a woman called a bar tenderess?) noted that half of her customers are in need of jobs and the only thing they wanted to hear the President say was what his plans are to stimulate the economy and create jobs. Anything else is just what the Irish call blarney.
Since the Great Depression coincided with the Prohibition era, the effect of hard times on taverns then and now can’t be computed accurately.
The bar didn’t stay tuned for the Republican rebuttal. Gees if you can’t peddle malarkey to the denizens of an Irish bar, who are those folks who do tune in to it?
So how did the post game show on Fox go? Did they have a St. Paul moment and shower his performance with superlatives or was it just their usual golden shower of negativity?
It seems that if a columnist assumes that the Fox Hounds followed the corporate directives and delivered the traditional dog and pony show actually monitoring their bullshit would be a waste of time and effort. On the other hand, if it wasn’t a stellar presentation of classic conservative brain farts, then our crystal ball may be in need of an overhaul.
Quite likely the conservative response followed their regular game plan: show Obama to be ineffective (Thank you Republican sit-down strikers in the Senate), weak on defense (What we still haven’t bombed Iran?), and almost effeminate (How many Republicans in the audience underscored that point by having a purple heart pinned on their business suits over their hearts? [Who has won more Medals of Honor? Women or Republican men? One woman has been awarded a Medal of Honor, but uncando (that is a real word if you remember AP speak for use on inter bureau teletype messages) the statistics for how many Republicans have]).
After the electronic voting machines are used again this fall to deliver a revocation of Obama’s majority in both the House and Senate, (Look for the sit-down strike to expand into the House when the Fall elections are micromanaged to the Republicans’ advantage.) the Fox Follies will go to a two year long two minute drill by delivering a non-stop avalanche of disapproval that will come perilously close to overt racism. (If you want to fact check that observation, call Karl Rove and ask him if that’s not the Republican game plan for the two years from November of this year until Election Day in 2012. Double dog dare you to ask Mr. Rove that question!)
[Can you imagine what it’s like to live near an Irish bar? It must be like having a home next to a Texas high school while a Friday night home game is being played by the football team!]
The State of the Union speech on TV, at this particular location, was followed by a poetry slam and we learned some news about the contemporary poetry scene. Snapping your fingers to show approval of a poem has been morphed into an expression of the opposite reaction. Somehow the beatnik show of enthusiasm is now a way of showing disapproval. They say “snap him off the stage.”
The old matches or lighters in the air phenomenon has taken an evolutionary step forward via technology and these days the light from a cell phone is more appropriate than the antediluvian fire danger use of flames.
Youngsters on the internet have invented the word “banalysis” to indicate some trite, predictable assessments that can be expected in lieu of insightful and thought provoking evaluations. Does the dictionary have a picture of Fox News illustrating the entry for that new word?
The Republican reaction to any Obama speech past, present or future can best be summarized by the old, old Readers Digest anecdote’s punch line: “I don’t have to drink the whole bottle to know that it’s vinegar.”
Now, the disk jockey will play Harry Gibson’s song “Who put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine,” the Irish Rovers’ song “Bridgit Flynn,” and Dennis Day’s song “Clancy Lowered the Boom.” It’s time to go find a four leaf clover. Have a KFRC induced “Turn on, tune in, flash back” type week.