The gory, Gothic melodrama on the Potomac is a summer horror blockbuster — without the catharsis.I would put that differently: Obama needs a different party. He isn't a Democrat. Maybe he should run as a Republican in the 2012 presidential elections.
Most of the audience staggered away from this slasher flick still shuddering. We continue to be paranoid, gripped by fear of the unknown, shocked by our own helplessness, stunned by how swiftly one world can turn into a darker one where everything can seem familiar yet foreign.
“Rosemary’s Tea Party,” an online commenter called it.
If the scariest thing in the world is something you can’t understand, then Americans are scared out of their minds about what is happening in America.
Just as horror films moved from niche to mainstream in the late-’70s, with successes like “Halloween” and “Alien,” the Tea Party moved from niche to mainstream.
Tea Party budget-slashers didn’t sport the black capes with blood-red lining beloved by the campy Vincent Price or wield the tinglers deployed by William Castle. But in their feral attack on Washington, in their talent for raising goose bumps from Wall Street to Westminster, this strange, compelling and uncompromising new force epitomized “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and evoked comparisons to our most mythic creatures of the night.
They were like cannibals, eating their own party and leaders alive. They were like vampires, draining the country’s reputation, credit rating and compassion. They were like zombies, relentlessly and mindlessly coming back again and again to assault their unnerved victims, Boehner and President Obama. They were like the metallic beasts in “Alien” flashing mouths of teeth inside other mouths of teeth, bursting out of Boehner’s stomach every time he came to a bouquet of microphones. (Conjuring that last image on Monday, Vladimir Putin described America as “a parasite.”)
In the short story “The Outsider,” Lovecraft’s narrator offers a description that matches how some alarmed Democrats view Tea Partiers: “I cannot even hint what it was like, for it was a compound of all that is unclean, uncanny, unwelcome, abnormal and detestable. It was the ghoulish shade of decay, antiquity and desolation; the putrid, dripping eidolon of unwholesome revelation; the awful baring of that which the merciful earth should always hide. God knows it was not of this world.”
If Obama were more of a horror-movie connoisseur, he would know that he was cast as the mild-mannered everyman David Mann (get it?), the driver in the Steven Spielberg classic “Duel,” caught in a road-rage episode with a faceless trucker on the highway who “challenges the protagonist’s masculinity,” as Zinoman put it.
Unfortunately, Obama cowered under his seat during the D.C. horror movie and now plans to try to hide behind his Supercommittee. But the Tea Party slashers roaming the corridors of the Capitol have feasted without resistance on delicious victims and will only grow bolder.
In other words, the president is going to need a bigger boat.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Dowd Offers a Scholarly Analysis of the Debt Ceiling Debacle
I love the lurid prose of Maureen Dowd and she is best when she has a titillating topic to work with. Here are some good bits out of her latest NY Times op-ed: