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September 14, 2007

Not just bad, Britney bad.
Posted by Moira Whelan

First, I’ve got to share this piece offering Dave Petraeus’s assessment of Britney’s career. It was awesome to see after IM-ing with friends last night the critical question about the President’s speech:

Who did worse, Brit at the VMAs or Bush in prime time?

After friends who were busy taking the speech seriously ignored me, I have to say others came through, offering sound assessments about career longevity, comebacks, network vs. cable, spouses and children. (The final decision incidentally was that Bush would fare better because of Jenna’s wedding. We all basically think Jenna’s wedding will be better than any weddings good or bad of present or former members of the Federline family.) All did note, however that we do understand this isn't really funny...because Bush is sending Americans to their death, while Britney is simply killing her career. We were a bit punchy and angry you understand, hence the dark humor.

I also wanted to note my other observation of the speech. At one point, President Bush refers to an email he received from the family of a soldier killed in Iraq. After giving the entire speech with the assistance of the teleprompter, he reads the email off of a piece of parchment paper.

Let’s back up. It’s an email. If he’d slid over to his computer to read it, that would have been much cooler. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for a second and assume that the President probably doesn’t read his own email. Fine, but someone still printed it out on pretty nice paper. If you have Tivo and go back and watch the segment, you’ll also notice that whoever printed it did so in pretty big font…that like, took up the whole piece of paper---that the President didn’t really need. Cuz he had a teleprompter.

My point to all of this? Political theater. The whole email thing probably originated from a “brilliant idea” of some junior staffer who is thrilled to have a job in the last throes of the Bush Administration—and his mom told him it was “moving.” Maybe it's just me, but I find the deaths themselves moving, and I don't need them dramatized for me in the Oval Office. I get it, but it worries me that the President seems to think that the death of a solider he ordered to Iraq needs to be given a little theatrical oomph.

Generally, I don’t have a problem with political theater. I kind of like it actually. I do have a problem with BAD political theater, however. For that alone I am glad this week is finally over.


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Moira, I also thought that having to claim to read off an email in order to get the cliche "freedom isn't free" into the speech showed a certain scraping of the bottom of the ol' rhetorical barrel.

The only difference between Britney Spears and G.W.Bush is that G.W.Bush has more fans that support him no matter how low he goes. Bush can engage in cheap political stunts and tell as many lies as possible and still get a great deal of support from the mainstream press and the Republican party.

For the life of me I cannot, nor could I ever see, any comparison between Britney Spears, the controversial musician, and the President of the United States. Any comparisons are just in the realm of the ridiculous (unless the President decides to shave his head and sell the hair on ebay...)

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