Look, I’ve always known this, so don’t feel bad– it ain’t no declaration of outsiderness– but I am a weird guy. Always have been, always will be. My thinking diverges, and though I pass the Captain Beefheart test, the mystery of my existence has been the tension between this weirdness and a desire to blend– to be mistaken as no different than the other well dressed eggheads. But that’s neither here nor there. None of this is a value statement; life stays life, even for the strange. It remains a pain in the ass.
A weird person sees other freaks. Across the street, across the room. It’s a simple trick, a skill akin to spotting junkies. I know my own kind, and in so knowing, I say this: let us give current President George “Dubya” Bush a hearty fare-well. I will miss him as deeply as it is possible to miss a public figure with whom you have no personal acquaintance. I will miss him like an estranged friend.
Don’t get me wrong; this ain’t a lament for the war crimes, the torture, the criminal negligence, the incompetence, the buffoonery, the willingness to pass the buck or the petty thuggish malice. I have no illusions about Dubya’s responsibility. We spent six years pretending like Dick Cheney was the problem– but our troubles were emanations from Bush’s heart, manifestations of his rotten character.
Yet for all of his lip service towards the Right Wing, the Christians and Big Business, Dubya was Our Guy– the biggest freak to win the Presidency since Richard Nixon, a dry drunk with daddy issues and a wickedly cruel sense of humor.
For reasons I never understood, Dubya gave people flashbacks of jocks in high school– how many times was he called Frat Boy in Chief? And yet his Yale years reveal so much: frat life for Dubya appears to have been about branding emblems into human skin and leading cheers. This was never a normal man.
We suffered eight years of Clinton’s base philandering and ineptitude– the 1990s were consistently stupid but never strange. Clinton longed to be unique, to be special, but Bubba was only another Rhodes Scholar winking at his reflection in the mirror, reassuring himself that he was dead sexy. As unique as buttermilk. Nine years of Dubya has been spectacle after spectacle; two screwy elections, choking on Pretzels, falling off a Segway, a secretary in state dressed like a dominatrix, name calling, incredibly strange faces, dancing with Ricky Martin, Jenna, shoes being thrown.
The thing with the shoes; how perfect a valedictory! Yes, I understand, the shoe is an enormous Arabic insult, but still– shoes? And what other President could’ve unflappably dodged and cracked wise a minute later? Andrew Jackson? MSNBC ran this text: “PRES. BUSH FORCED TO DUCK TO AVOID SHOES THROWN BY JOURNALIST.”
So good-bye, George, you misfit. We’ll never see the like again.
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