Sunday, November 02, 2008

Address my Fantasy

There has been a great deal of humor, satire, parody, imitation, etc., produced about the current presidential campaign (The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, the return of Saturday Night Live, etc.), so much so that the jokes and imitations serve as indicator as much as polls and analysis. One could say a great deal about this sort of meta-irony, in which parody comes prior to event. However, that is not my point here, I was watching this parody of the final debate today, and the following occurred to me.

Not only is its absurdist take on the whole "Joe the Plumber" thing amusing, it captures something true as well. For me the key scene is when McCain forces Obama to apologize to his imaginary friend Joe. This is in many ways the political situation in this country. The Republican Party, or the right in general defines the fantasy, the war on terror, the middle class, etc., and the Democrats are judged by how well they address the fantasy.

This is especially true of "Joe the Plumber," a man who very much wants his fantasy preserved. He claims that he wants to own his own business, but as subsequent news reports revealed, he was in no position to become the wealthy independent business he desire to be. His real complaint to Obama, and the real objection to "spreading the wealth" is that it robs him of the fantasy.

I do not want to sound too much like an unholy combination of Zizek and Lakoff here, although I am afraid it is a little late for that, but it seems to me that nothing will really change in this country as long as the right defines the fantasy.

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