Monday, February 9, 2009

Barack Obama and the Loser

He likes Obama.
The Complete and Total Loser notes two things about the new president: He's the first president in his lifetime who's younger than the Loser and he's the first one in eight years who's smarter.
He likes the name. Barack. Exotic, a true 21st century American name reflecting, finally, the U.S.'s great diversity. But look at the last two letters: ck. If the name had been spelled "Barak," it would seem alien, slightly threatening. Like the name of a bad guy in a science fiction movie. But the "ck" is conventional English spelling, as in "back," "track," "Jack" -- any number of everyday words. The first name says, "I'm not just like all of you; I'm a little different. But I'll work with you. I'll compromise."
And the last name. It's as if someone added the "O" to "bama." Whenever you add an "o" to a name like that and they're not Irish it sounds like you're rolling your eyes in disagreement or amused exasperation with someone you like, someone who's being a little ... silly. "Oh, Peter." "Oh, Susan."
Overall, it's a good name. Hard consonants, unambiguous vowels, easy to pronounce. Musical, even. The Loser finds himself substituting the name in that irritating song, "Macarena" when he's biking or doing something mundane. "Heyyy, Barack Obama!" A curse.
The Loser is, like many losers, immature. He envisions himself as president, a position he would never have the ability or intelligence to achieve even if it had been his life's goal. Inauguration Day. The Loser is sworn in. The enormous crowd, waiting for words of hope, settles and waits for his inaugural address. He approaches the podium, grips its sides, looks down the mall, opens his mouth and says ...
About the photo: It's a car ad at a train station. Ford hopes to get commuters to abandon mass transit and buy an SUV. The Loser's hunch is that their effort will fail.

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