Thu 2023-Feb-09

The 2023 US State of the Union Address

Tagged: Obscurantism / Politics / Sadness / SomebodyAskedMe

Somebody asked me about Biden’s State of the Union address. *Sigh*…

The actual speech

Haque @ Eudaimonia & Co.: Biden's SoTU was historic Biden’s speech? It was pretty great. He’s clearly a master of rhetoric: he anticipated when Republicans would act like petulant children, and built some verbal jiu-jitsu into his speech to exploit this.

And it’s not just me saying that: even the reliably dour-but-regrettably-accurate Umair says so. [1]

His summary of his summary:

Biden did something incredibly important. I don’t use the word “incredibly” lightly. He made the link between politics — one model of organizing the global economy, in which America’s middle class was effectively sacrificed to cheap labour — and economics — that led to widespread stagnation, and a fall in living standards — and society.

‘Bout time!

Prominent Republican reaction

Of course, it’s hard to pay attention to serious matters when the Republicans are intent on staging a circus on the back benches. In the immortal words of Jack Hardy’s song “Out of Control” [2]:

You don’t have to run away to join the circus
The circus is right here and it swallowed you whole

Calabro @ Atlantic: Why MTG is like this It’s difficult to stand out against the background of the clown car, but Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was up to the challenge. One might wonder “why is she like that?”, and Calabro’s article in The Atlantic [3] does give a few sad insights into her rather narrow world.

LeBlanc @ CNN: MTG spits conspiracy hate in face of Parkland shooting survivor Mueller @ The Hill: MTG would have armed the insurrectionists Keep in mind this is the woman spat conspiracy hate in the face of a survivor of the Parkland shooting. [4] She said of the 2021-Jan-06 insurrection that the main problem was that if she had planned it, the insurrectionists “would’ve been armed”. [5]

Such is the cursus honorum of the degenerate remains of the Republican party.

That’s not all, of course; it’s just the tip of the iceberg to give you the general idea. This is not only a right-wing whackaloon, but likely actually delusional. Alas, this is the face of about half the Republican party; the other half is cowed into submission to their paranoid vision.

So: starting from there, how did she so distinguish herself at the SoTU address from the rest of the clown car passengers?

By performative outrage, mostly. She tried to bring in a white balloon, to remind everyone about the Chinese spy balloon. She also dressed all in white, perhaps hoping herself to be mistaken for the balloon. (Note to MTG: cosplaying a foreign spy device at a high-security constitutionally mandated function of the US government shows… questionable judgment.)

She also screamed a lot, with her ultra-MAGA colleagues attempting to disrupt the State of the Union address.

MTG @ SoTU: Comparison with Egyptian white vulture She is shown here, in full-throated scream, spraying about her a toxic venom of accusatory irrelevancies and lies. (More about the inset in a moment.)

The arguably tasteless fur collar has been compared by Twitter wags to the costume of the cartoon character Cruella de Vil. I liked better the classical comparison, by a friend and former colleague, to a harpy, described by Hesiod as woman/vulture hybrids whose job was to torment mortals in various stupidly violent ways.

While I am somewhat loathe to criticize a woman based on appearance or clothing, she has worked so hard to earn our opprobrium that it would be a shame to deprive her of the fruits of her labor. After all, MTG’s humanity, as revealed by her expressed preferences and cruel behaviors, is rather in question. As the harpies were half-human, they may not be the proper comparator.

For a bit more verisimilitude employing a full vulture, I commend to your attention the juvenile Egyptian white vulture, shown inset for your comparison. (The vulture is the one whose mouth is closed, not spewing nonsense at us.)

The Weekend Conclusion

This is all frightening enough, until you consider an even more frightening thought: about 1/4 of the US electorate likes this, and votes for people like her, repeatedly.

Honestly, I dunno. This is so badly broken I have little clue how to fix it.

Notes & References

1: U Haque, “That Was No Ordinary State of the Union — It Was an Historic Moment for America”, Eudaimonia and Co., 2023-Feb-08.

2: J Hardy, “Out of Control”, The Mirror of My Madness, various copyrights 1965 - 2004.

3: EP Calabro, “Why is Marjorie Taylor Greene like this?”, The Atlantic, 2022-Dec-05.

4: P LeBlanc, “Video surfaces of Marjorie Taylor Greene confronting Parkland shooting survivor with baseless claims”, CNN, 2021-Jan-28.

5: J Mueller, “Greene says Jan. 6 Capitol attack ‘would’ve been armed’ if she planned it”, The Hill, 2022-Dec-11.

Published Thu 2023-Feb-09

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