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The Tyranny of Irony - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
The Tyranny of Irony
All the news stories about the First Lady bringing down the house with her comedy routine are a perfect reminder of how thoroughly the "liberal media" is dominated by the Bush Administration's propagandists. Even the New York Times story begins with Laura Bush's one-liners, before going on to explain that she actually had little to do with spinning them:
The first lady's lines were written by Landon Parvin, a longtime Washington speechwriter who does jokes for Mr. Bush and who wrote both comedy and serious speeches for Ronald Reagan. More to the point, Mr. Parvin wrote the lyrics to "Secondhand Clothes," the song-and-dance routine that Nancy Reagan performed to the tune of "Secondhand Rose" at the 1982 Gridiron dinner in Washington.

That performance, which lampooned the first lady's taste in designers, was a hit after a string of public relations disasters, from Mrs. Reagan's supervision of the purchase of a $200,000 set of White House china to the trunkloads of dresses she took for a week of partying at the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana. Press coverage of Mrs. Reagan was subsequently more positive, and "Secondhand Clothes" is still cited as a reason.

In Mrs. Bush's case, playing off "Desperate Housewives" was a natural, even though Ms. Whitson said that Mrs. Bush had never actually seen the racy ABC hit show. Ms. Whitson said the first lady had heard about the characters and plot from the Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara, who are fans, and was planning to watch the entire first season on a DVD she has at home.

Ms. Whitson said Mr. Parvin sat down with the first lady some weeks ago to work out ideas. He then wrote a script and helped Mrs. Bush with her timing and delivery over several days of rehearsals, including one run-through shortly before the dinner. The first lady went on right after dessert, as Mr. Bush was at the lectern launching into the traditional presidential stand-up routine, in this case rehashing some of his worst jokes from the 2004 campaign.

Mrs. Bush suddenly got up and "interrupted" her husband, saying, "Not that old joke; not again." Then she added, as the audience laughed: "I've been attending these dinners for years and just quietly sitting there. I've got a few things I want to say for a change."

Ms. Whitson said that while Mr. Bush was in on the setup, he did not know what his wife would say. He reacted mostly by cackling with a beet-red face, including when his wife said, "George, if you really want to end tyranny in the world, you're going to have to stay up later."

Mr. Parvin, who said in an interview before the dinner that writing a speech about the Iran-contra scandal was a lot easier than humor, termed self-deprecating jokes essential for presidents. As a joke writer, he said that his most important task was to meld personality and topicality.

"First of all, you get the person's character in your head," he said. "But a lot depends on what's going on at the time. It's just a feeling that's in the air. So you take that feeling and distill it down to lines that reflect the perception of that person's character."

Or as Mrs. Bush noted on Saturday night about her husband and the ranch in Texas: "George didn't know much about ranches when we bought the place. Andover and Yale don't have real strong ranching programs. But I'm proud of George. He's learned a lot about ranching since that first year when he tried to milk the horse. What's worse, it was a male horse."
I can't think of a better way to explain the meaning of the word "insidious." You want to humanize the President? Get the American public to imagine their President giving a hand-job to a horse but failing to do the same for his wife. In the words of the inimitable Cartman, "Sweet!"
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pissang From: pissang Date: May 2nd, 2005 10:55 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Are my comprehension skills lagging because it's 3:40 in the AM or are you implying that the first lady has a penis? If that's the case, then her stock just shot up tenfold in my book!

On your larger point, I too thought the article was pretty obtuse for the NYT. With all the doodoo happening right now, this reporter is writing about how Mrs. Bush's standup routine is softening the the president's edges?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: May 2nd, 2005 11:17 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Hand-jobs know no gender, my friend. Were W not asleep by 9pm, he might be able to satisfy his helpmeet.
pissang From: pissang Date: May 2nd, 2005 12:11 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
yeah yeah yeah. i got it the first time. i was just kidding around. (but semantically speaking, aren't hand-jobs female-to-male? i suppose there are props, but if we start going down that road, we're getting into gender trouble).

by the way, when i talked to you earlier in the semester, you offered to let me borrow a book--the cultural studies reader i think. i'll be ready to give it a gander in a week or so. maybe we could do lunch. i heard you've been angling for a meal with a grad student.
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pissang From: pissang Date: May 2nd, 2005 05:44 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
right. there are political shortfalls to my adherence to the constraints of playground vernacular. but i suppose i had that in the not-so-back of my mind when i made the joke because i invoked butler. me and my dumb jokes...
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: May 2nd, 2005 06:35 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Which book do you want, exactly? There's the reader and the huge collection. I won't say no to a lunch. . .

As for hand-jobs, I think it's important for us to "take back the night" by making it clear that there's nothing in the term itself to suggest female-to-male action.

I mean that both sincerely and ironically.
fao From: fao Date: May 2nd, 2005 11:44 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
"a perfect reminder of how thoroughly the "liberal media" is dominated by the Bush Administration's propagandists"

It seems to me that was maybe the worse effect of the last year election: mainstream liberal newssources seems to be just like a telegraph line... no analysis. No sharp critics. They just give it up. And that's dangerous, at least for me because, even when I can't rely on media, the effective sources aren't many as before.

And I don't wanna' end just reading independent or revolutionary papers.

Take care!!!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: May 2nd, 2005 02:14 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Exactly. I read the papers in other countries, but that only gets me so far.

Your Live Journal has been really amazing lately. I'm too shy to say anything, since my Spanish is getting worse with all my pressures at work. But I love seeing what you're doing!
fao From: fao Date: May 4th, 2005 12:12 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thanks Charlie!. Actually I'm posting oftenly as before because I'm also kinda overloaded with schoolwork -at the student side, of course- but I try to write and take a picture almost in every free moment. I'm also try to read your posts everytime I can, even when sometimes I can generate at least two logic words to comment them... :)

Take care and good luck!!!!

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