Oh You Are So Big, So Absolutely Huge…

January 9, 2009 at 5:10 am (Uncategorized)

Today I was lucky enough to catch up with two of my writer friends just around the corner from Chez J. M, who’s visiting from Melbourne and took the ferry over to visit, and L, who’s my Man Town-based writer chum. They’d never met before; as much as I want to be part of a community of writers, I want to help forge that community wherever possible, and of course the three of us made a very different but delicious combination, as seen previously in French toast, maple syrup and bacon. Sometimes you don’t know if these things are going to work, but when they do it’s great and totally addictive. 

Anyway, we got to talking (I know that’ll floor you), and as the chat veered from L’s hysterical work trip to the US, to born again Christian righteousness, to fatism,  to writing, to academia, to partners, to humour, to insurance policies on klutzy husbands (L was told to NEVER joke about this by an insurance agent – talk about making it doubly irresistible), we eventually got around to the American President Elect. And as I listened to all of us, it occurred to me (and I know I’m not the first one to make this observation, I just can’t be) that Obama is the Messiah of the liberal humanists of the world. Or so we think – and so we even dare to hope. And it’s more than that. There’s an undeniable reification going on here, whereby Obama is giving those of us who don’t Believe (L was asked on her business trip how she could serve the company if she wasn’t serving the Lord) something to believe in. It’s kind of scary how similar the language is, and how deeply intuitive and entirely uncritical some of our attachment to Obama is. It’s an interesting phenomenon, and it’s disconcerting to catch myself in the act of what I can only comprehend as some kind of secular worship (poor, poor bastard – talk about the weight of the world. And isn’t the leadership of the US today just the biggest ‘hospital pass’ of all time?! In case anyone’s unfamiliar with this idea, it’s a sporting term. I learned it from Llew’s rugby vocabulary, as in the ball being thrown from one player to another such that the receiver is placed directly in the path of a winding, sometimes career-ending tackle). 

It was there as we gushed and glowed and got all starry-eyed about how wonderfully unflappable Obama is in the face of all the world’s ills. He’s so calm, so controlled, we extolled. It’s like he’s been touched by the hand of Destiny, we sighed. Like he knew this was coming, like it’s what he’s been preparing for, put on this earth to do. In short, we anointed him.We joined his flock. We sang the Obama hymn and it was good. 

Scary shit to make the comparison with the kind of evangelism I have always found not only alarming but somehow sickening. Weak. How nice to offload all that responsibility for one’s own self and one’s own life and foist it onto an unlikely god and the even more dubious promise of an afterlife! Marvellous! And yet there’s something of that in the way we all wanted to cry (I did) listening to Obama’s acceptance speech. What were those tears, if not a plea, if not a global prayer of something like “Save us, please save us…” ?



  1. David said,

    He’s so fucking great that he can’t get round to saying a thing about the Israeli action. Keep worshipping at the altar of the black Clinton. Anyone with half a brain can tell he will be beholden to the same interests that have made sure every US president for the last 50 years has been an arsehole.

  2. doctordi said,

    David, I intended this post to convey my disquiet at some of the general (and my own specific) hitherto uncritical Obama-love, but evidently I failed to make the point clearly enough!

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