Sunday, February 07, 2010

Four simple words

Speaking about bumper I saw one that was kinda confusing. This is what it said:

I voted for Obama

...that's it. No joke - no 'point' - snappy, stupid or otherwise. Just four words. And no period.
Those four words are kind of a tabula rasa, aren't they? Meaningless by themselves, they invite we, the readers, to impregnate them with meaning. Is it a declaration? A confession? A statement?

And then there's a curious lack of a period. As I recall from my sixth-grade sentence-diagramming days, a sentence isn't over till the period makes its small but fearful appearance. So what are we to make of the lack of the final perfunctory pixel here?

Maybe we're being told to finish the thought ourselves. Maybe this joke needs a punchline. Immediately my mind churns out some possibilities: "...but I was sampling peyote at the time." "...and I blame his dreamy eyes." "...and I'm still trying to heal." And so on.

I'm not proud of myself for thinking these unkind things. I blame the sticker. It was picking a fight.

In all seriousness, though - What, exactly, is the chain of reasoning behind these four simple words? It must mean something, right?

After a full five minutes of my brain's nose applied to this enigmatic grindstone, I came up with a possible solution. Maybe, just maybe, it means this: "I voted for Obama....HOWAWESOMEISTHAT! YAYFORME!"

This makes sense to me. The real hard-core Obama disciples I've met (as opposed to the mesmerized, confused, or temporarily insane) have an air of...well, not arrogance, but a sort of irrational faith. Sort of like religion. No matter what may happen - the national debt tripling, unemployment topping ten percent, non-citizen terrorists getting Miranda rights - Obama will sort it out.

Why? Why what? Why waste oxygen to ask the question? Obama! Just look at the name! So mellifluous, so musical, so...adjectival! Chant it to the heavens! Belt it out, Stevie Wonder style!

It's a cure-all! a catch-all! a laxative-enema-hair-tonic-manhood-enhancing plethora, all rolled up into three onomatopoetic syllables! Try it out! Let it wash your cares away!

Health care got you down? Worried about Grandma's health being in the (ahem) capable hands of the people that brought us the $600 toilet seat, the anaconda-like lines at the airport, the banning of any children's books with a molecule or more of lead?


Now take a deep breath. Hold it. Exhale. Feel better?

Unemployed? Are you part of the 10%? Can't get a job because all those evil corporations (and dime stores, and small businesses, and any other place that makes upwards of $250,000) aren't hiring, whining about high taxes? Infuriated when you hear that some sweaty union-member pen-pushers at the Department of Telephone Pole Safety just got a ginormous pay raise?


Out with the bad air, in with the good. Feel better?

So it appears that the new religion of Obamamania is still alive and well, despite ruthless and well-deserved parody. There is a happy ending to this sad tale, though - Obama used to be all potential, just as much a tabula rasa as the puzzling bumper sticker above. Not anymore. Now he's all about results, baby. Never mind what kind. So now we are free to ask the question: if there was another point to Obama supporters...wouldn't they put it on there? If there was some deep, philosophical basis for their undying, almost heroic faith in the man...why wouldn't we hear about it?

We haven't. 'Cause there's not. There's no need. There's no cause. There's no doubt - certainly no reason. We don't need no reasons here. Vowels are way more sexy.


  1. Anonymous9:22 PM

    You're very ignorant to the principles of design. Punctuation is disposable in headings and single (sometimes multiple) line statements. Circular shapes, such as periods, create a false distribution of typographical balance in headings due to their nature of creating focal points. You'll notice many posters, logos, and so forth, don't include periods in statements. In other words because a period is not included in a single-line statement does not call for error...I thought this was obvious given much printed works follow this trend. It's also worth mentioning that "pixels" don't exist outside of screens. Pixels transferred to the natural world are typical referred to as points, which are measured in terms of density. Before you say that doesn't matter, it actually does given your argument. It is not there to invite you to "impregnate" it with a meaning.

    Now that you know this, you're aware that "punchlines" aren't needed. Darn! You were on a role there, right? It's really interesting that you refer to Obama supporters as "mesmerized, confused, or temporarily insane". There aren't any republicans like that of course! Especially with these tea party participants running around with life-sized sculptures of Obama dressed up as Hitler. Nothing temporarily insane about that!

    I wasn't able to finish reading your entry because it was so self-righteous. I guess I couldn't expect more from a grown man who thinks a perfectly acceptable bumper sticker picked a fight with him...

    You take care of yourself, John.
    At this rate you'll be arguing with your mattress by summer.

    In closing, you have inspired me to write a joke (those punchlines of yours!). You can use this, really, I don't mind:
    "Knock, knock."
    "Who is there?"
    "John who?"
    "John McCain."
    I put all of my periods in that joke where needed so you can't impregnate them with your punchlines. Remember that.

    Enjoy your winter!

  2. Anonymous9:25 PM

    I'm multi-tasking and didn't take the time to reread, sorry for the typos (grammatical and spelling). Take care.

  3. Dearest Nonny,

    I'm sorry your self-righteousness prevented you from reading the rest of my post, but perhaps it's all for the best. Y'see, my post was intended for those who agree with me politically, since I knew they would find it funny. I'm sorry you took offense, (or even took it seriously). But it does no good to your credibility to pretend that you didn't perceive my obvious flippancy in saying that the bumper sticker was "picking your fight."
    You referred to some low-born scoundrels who apparently carried sculptures of President Obama portrayed as Hitler. I have a few things to say in reply:
    1. If I met these people, I would likely be tempted to punch them in the face. Seriously. You don't do that. To anybody.
    2. Do you feel the same way about the thousands upon thosands of YOUR persuasion who portrayed President Bush in the exact same way? Not to mention the millions more who falsely (yes, FALSELY) accused him of torture, tyranny and mass murder? If so, then I have no argument with you.
    3. Maybe you truly believe that most Republicans and Tea-Party activists are of the kind that do Obama-Hitler statues. They're not. I know them. The fact of the matter is, Nonny, that you and others have the tendency to accuse us of what project your own practices on your opponents (I mean, of course 'you' in the general sense, not you personally.) You spent eight years saying truly evil and horrible things about President Bush. This practice was not the habit of few loons on the fringes - it was pretty mainstream. It was trumpeted by Howard Dean, Keith Olbermann, and others. So naturally, you assume that we Republicans all hate and despise Obama as much as you did Bush. We don't. We - I and the vast majority of Republicans - are angry at Obama's policies. We don't hate him. We don't think he's Satan. Don't judge Republicans by anonymous blog posts and someone in a Tea-Party crowd (incidentally, whenever the media covers these events, they always make sure to feature one of these evil morons. There's one evil moran in a crowd of a thousand decent people, and of course the media talks to HIM.) Judge Republicans by our leaders, both political and cultural. Go to National Review, go to the statements of Republican leaders, and see if you can find anything approaching the level of hate and venom that is served up on a daily basis by Frank Rich or the Daily Kos. We don't call you racist, homophobic, or self-righteous. That's cause we're adults. Republicans think Democrats are wrong. Democrats thing Republicans are evil.

  4. Anonymous3:38 AM

    That's the spirit, John! I'm having a busy night, so I had to skim over it. I can't say I agree with everything you've said there. I can say that you have a tone that is less offensive though and you're more rational. I do think your party has to toss out people like Limbaugh or, well, any Fox News anchor for that matter. The mainstream media doesn't bring many, if any, rational republicans into the spotlight.

    Oh and as for Bush, yes, I do the same way. I did disagree with Bush on MANY levels though.

    For the record, I'm an independent.

    Just be careful with what, and the tone in which, you write on the internet. It's a very public place.

    Take care.