(Weak Beginning 13 Jan 2002)
In an episode of the Simpsons recently repeated on British terrestrial TV, good old Marge starts a pretzel-selling business. By significant synchronicity or, more likely, meaningless co-incidence, only days later, pretzels cropped up again in an altogether more serious context. (Did the programme planners know something we didnt?) By now few will not have heard of the calamity which befell our beloved Dubya, when he choked on a pretzel & fell to the floor unconscious, in the process grazing his photogenic face if not losing it completely.
From pretzel to pratfall, the president revealed a comic talent easily the equal of any mere cartoon character. A satirical cartoonists wildest dream made flesh Mr Bush may be, but the joke I fear is on us (the US & them in the rest of the world) & its no laughing matter. It would be hysterically hilarious if not for the fact that some of the less-cynical still take this guy semi-seriously & let him get away with murder, capital punishment & collateral damage. The harmless knockabout fun of cartoons would have us believe death can be painlessly undone. Instant resurrection of the terminally injured, flattened, squashed, 50,000-volts-electrocuted, smashed-to-smithereens, exploded etc. is commonplace. But the violence inflicted by & in the name of this so-called leader of the free world is all too bleeding real. One need not invoke karma to see in the wound on his face (& to his pride) our fearless hero hubristically receiving just a tiny taste of his own sweet medicine. After the surfeit of horror of late, its only human to savour some rare schadenfreude along with the Leibfraumilch of human kindness. Our own best medicine may well be heartfelt sardonic laughter. So Bravo brave Pretzeldent Bush & encore encore! O the pathos, the bathos, the gollygosh, how-are-the mighty-falleness of it. All we need now is the cartoon caption announcing thats all folks & the illusion will be complete.
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