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Welcome to 2000-and-Why-Do-We-Give-A-Fuck.

Posted in humour,journalism by YTAH on January 21, 2009
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2009 American Inauguration Special.

Welcome back fuckers, and say hello to the 21st of January 2009, the first day that the world woke up to an African-American running the White House. In my previous post, I mentioned Barack Obama’s election victory in the U.S. as, well, one of the positive changes we could look forward to in 2009. This was just over three weeks ago, when 2009 still seemed like such a promising year, full of potential and sweetness yet to be savoured.

But having been back at work for just over two weeks, I realize that my optimism may have been a tad premature. And it’s not just because I didn’t have much of a holiday, or that I’ve returned to find my life pretty much as it’s always been. It’s because what initially looked like a ripening pomegranate turned out to have been a rock all along, which is something you only discover once you’ve tried sinking your teeth into it and broken your face.

Now that my own excitement has died down, it strikes me that getting excited about Barack Obama is like looking forward to your annual check-up. That’s if you’re like me and you only remember about it every four years.

Perhaps it’s my renewed faith in the virtue of cynicism, but I no longer understand the fuss. Maybe it’s because we’re Africans (sans hyphenate), and we’ve had black presidents before. Fuck, we’re on number 3 already. (Count ’em.) Whatever the reason, the post-Bush Novocaine has started to wear off, and we’re left sitting in the dentist’s chair, waiting for the root canal that’s coming. The drill is out and we’re waiting for that miracle, but we know what’s really going to happen next.

So okay, maybe it’s a historic occasion and we should savour the momentary excitement. But when you get right down to it, the new guy is just one more politician. And we all know what they’re like, don’t we, kids? A bunch of lying, double-dealing, two-faced triple-crossers, who’ll do anything to get elected, promising the earth and when, once firmly entrenched at the top, delivering nothing except a fat, juicy worm. The only difference between the outgoing administration and its replacement is the ludicrously high expectations hanging bat-like from the rafters of the Oval Office.

At least the second Bush administration didn’t come with any promises. (Except maybe, “Hi. I’ll try not to fuck up too much. Oops, sorry, too late. What’s that about Katrina? Katrina who? I can’t hear you, you’re saying Katrina and… waves? I loved that band!”) But the new guys sold themselves as the dustpan of change, who were going to sweep out everything bad of the last eight years and just keep the good stuff. To which my response is: “Oh yeah?” Personally, I believe in Obama’s ability to change the world as much as I trust Helen Zille – and that’s not fucking much, let me tell you. (And I like her even less than Pikes does.)

To all those who think Obama’s the next great hope, I hope you’re ready to get your illusions trampled and crushed, because you’re sadly mistaken. Like the thin soapy bubble of consumer confidence deflated by the sharp pin of global financial instability, your optimism is about to come to an abrupt and unpleasant end. But since there’s nothing I like more than spreading despair and disillusionment, I’ll happily be the bearer of bad news: keep those blinkers on much longer and you’ll find you’ve been led like a horse to slaughter.

Don't Drink the Water.

Don't Drink the Water.

Although really, kids, by this stage of life we shouldn’t need to tell you this stuff. You ought to have had ample warnings against politicians and electioneering promises in particular. Not least there’s The Great Thom Yorke, musical cynic extraordinaire, the soles of whose shoes the likes of Coldplay and Muse don’t deserve to suck the dogshit from. (If you’re still caught up in the post-election hype, heed the warnings on “Electioneering”, from the third of the magnum opuses that Radiohead calls albums.)

You might as well face it: everyone’s still doing the political two-step, and the dance hasn’t changed – it still involves the high rollers getting ahead and everyone else getting left behind. But if you’re confused and you prefer your politics in faux-profound, pithy-sounding non-sequiters like the rest of the Chris Martin-loving crudmunchers, I’ll engage in a little indie rock doublespeak: “You can lead a horse to water, but don’t buy the cow if you can get the milk for free.”

Okay, so there’s that whole business of him stopping the Gauntanamo Bay prosecutions on his first day of office. But that’s a far cry from his promise to close the whole place entirely. You ask me, this is just the first of the avalanche of smaller, increasingly insistent disappointments in store. And yeah, so you’ll say that there are many politicians who’ve improved the world somehow: Lincoln. Mandela. Ghandi. But remember folks: flies can pollinate flowers, but it doesn’t make them butterflies.

And so I’ll leave you with the wisdom of Jarvis Cocker, who said, most eloquently and astutely, all the way back in ’06:

“Cunts are still running the world.”

Welcome to the new world. Exactly like the old world. You know what I’m excited about? Coldplay just disbanded. Talk about positive change – now that’s something to celebrate.

Sayonara, bitches.

[Originally posted on on January 21, 2009.]


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