February 7, 2009

NY Times readers share their fantasies about the Obamas

Here's an apparently serious column in the NYT by Judith Warner that's beyond the powers of Christian Lander, Tom Wolfe, Evelyn Waugh, or Jonathan Swift to satirize:

The other night I dreamt of Barack Obama. He was taking a shower right when I needed to get into the bathroom to shave my legs, and then he was being yelled at by my husband, Max, for smoking in the house. ...

The other day a friend of mine confided that in the weeks leading up to the election, the Obamas’ apparent joy as a couple had made her just miserable. Their marriage looked so much happier than hers. Their life seemed so perfect. “I was at a place where I was tempted daily to throttle my husband,” she said. “This coincided with Michelle saying the most beautiful things about Barack. Each time I heard her speak about him I got tears in my eyes — because I felt so far away from that kind of bliss in my own life and perhaps even more, because I was so moved by her expressions of devotion to him."...

I launched an e-mail inquiry. ...

Many women — not too surprisingly — were dreaming about sex with the president. ...

There was some daydreaming too, much of it a collective fantasy about the still-hot Obama marriage. “Barack and Michelle Obama look like they have sex. They look like they like having sex,” a Los Angeles woman wrote to me, summing up the comments of many. “Often. With each other. These days when the sexless marriage is such a big celebrity in America (and when first couples are icons of rigid propriety), that’s one interesting mental drama.” ...

There was a dream, sent from Minneapolis, about buying Barack the perfect sandwich, and a dream from Westport, Conn., about inviting Michelle and the girls over for lunch and a play date. ...

One woman wrote that when she couldn’t get to sleep at night, she “lay in bed and thought about the Obama girls in their rooms at the White House. I thought about Marian Robinson up on the third floor. And about Barack and Michelle, a couple who clearly have a ‘thing’ for each other, spooning together in bed. It helped me relax.”

I understood perfectly where these cozy dreams of easy familiarity came from. It was that sense so many people share of having a very immediate connection to Barack Obama, whether they’re black or biracial, or children of single parents or self-made strivers; or they’re lawyers or community organizers or Ivy League graduates or smokers or basketball players or Blackberry users or parents or married or Democrats. A lot of people share the fantasy that having the Obamas over for “dinner and a game of Scrabble,” as one daydreamer put it to me, is something that really could just about happen.

“This is the first president I’ve known who looks, talks and acts like a peer,” is how one Washington man explained it to me. “Notwithstanding his somewhat exotic life story, I feel like I understand what he’s like and where he’s coming from. And despite his incredible achievements, he still seems like a lot of people I know. If you stopped the clock in 2004, in fact, or maybe a couple of years earlier, he’d feel roughly like a peer in terms of accomplishments, too." ...

Sometimes this sense of close identification turns a bit dark. There’s a subcategory of people who feel that they really should have true intimacy with the Obamas. Because they went to school with them. Because they used to dream like them. Because, with one or two “different turns,” they maybe could have been them.

These are not the people made most happy by thinking about the Obamas.

“They do seem to have it all together — a great marriage, beautiful children, a modern day Norman Rockwell family,” said a divorced Harvard grad with children in a top D.C. private school. “Why them, not me?”

These are people for whom the Obamas are not just a beacon of hope, inspiration and “demigodlikeness,” as a New York lawyer put it, but also a kind of mirror. And the refracted image of self they see is not one they much admire.

“I keep thinking about how I squandered my education and youth,” the New York lawyer wrote to me. “I went off to college from high school being completely community-minded, doing a lot of volunteer work for the homeless and for hunger and tutoring poor kids. Then I got to college and forgot my ideals. Barack was my year at Columbia. Why wasn’t I hanging out with him and being serious and following my ideals instead of hanging out in clubs? Same with law school. I partied my way through instead of taking advantage of all that I could have. Both Obamas were there when I was. I feel like if I’d been a better person I would have gotten to know them.”

A Washington lawyer expressed similar sentiments: “I feel like I know Barack, that I have worked grassroots and have created change in the way that he has. I [also] have feelings of a mom who had possibility but ended up running school auctions and mediating family business matters rather than having the opportunity to be out there on a national level creating change. So when I watch Barack I feel like: I can do that … and what am I doing with my life? Even though he is way smarter and more articulate than me.”

Another Washington woman, a global health care consultant, expressed her sense of Obama-inadequacy in a dream: “I dreamed I was an Obama girl. I had a chance to be in the same room with him for the first time. There were dark velvet chairs and he was standing there with all this dark and mist around him. His lips so purple and sensuous as if to be otherworldly,” she wrote to me. “I moved gently toward him and then I said the wrong thing. Obama tamped it down like some vapor that didn’t register. He wasn’t even flattered.”

(“Like a lot of folks, I have anxiety about being outside of the Obama administration universe right now,” she then explained to me. “Even though I was at the ‘it’ ball of inauguration balls, I still felt like other balls were greener, or more purple, or with credentials completely out of my control — more young. I really feel like I’m scrambling internally … to deserve Obama cred and all I’ve got is this over-my-head wonder for the man that amounts to being an Obama girl.”)

For some, not knowing the Obamas has almost turned into a feeling of being snubbed or excluded. Like in middle school. It’s funny. Almost.

“Why won’t my kids be sleeping over at the White House? And as my daughter noted, why couldn’t she get to sit front and center and see the Jonas Brothers and Miley perform at the kids’ inaugural concert? If she went to Sidwell, then she might have these chances, she said …” wrote a mother whose kids are not at Sidwell Friends school with Sasha and Malia.

“Will Michelle stay down to earth? She could prove it by joining our book club,” wrote a Sidwell mom.

This is, perhaps, the price of faux-familiarity. If I were Barack Obama (or Michelle, for that matter), I’d be a little scared. After all, when people are wearing their egos on their sleeves, it’s so easy to bruise their feelings. What will happen if fantasy turns to contempt?

If I were in charge of the Secret Service, I'd be forwarding this column to all my agents with a note saying, "Stop worrying about Al Qaeda and the KKK, these are the people we really have to worry about going over the edge and shooting President Obama. New York Times subscribers are scary, scary folks."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. God.

Anonymous said...

Wow. The best part:

"Sometimes this sense of close identification turns a bit dark. There’s a subcategory of people who feel that they really should have true intimacy with the Obamas [a menage a trois? Better we didn't know]. Because they went to school with them. Because they used to dream like them. Because, with one or two “different turns,” they maybe could have been them.

These are not the people made most happy by thinking about the Obamas."

And then several paragraphs about people who feel an aching sense of loss because they could have been closer to the Great Man.

I would say this is astonishing except, well, everyone knew this was going on. Seeing it all spewed out in front of me is a bit gross, though.

Would it be too crude to say something in this connection about the American public receiving a very large Stimulus Package from Mr. Obama? I thought so....

dearieme said...

President Pyjama indeed.

Anonymous said...

ewwwwwwwww

Anonymous said...

WTF?!?!?!

I cant even believe what Im reading.

Please, Steve and other commentors, explain to me the meaning of this because I really am too culturally and morally separate from these people in my thinking to understand this.

Am I meant to understand that certain portions of the liberal intelligencia are so ecstatic about Brown Wonder coming to power that they basically want to have an orgy with him and his family? Is that what this writer is implying?

Anonymous said...

It got really, really creepy a long time ago. My only question is, can they keep this up for four years? or four years from now, will it be even worse!

agnostic said...

omg, playing Scrabble against Michelle Obama would make my heart sing. The test score chip on her shoulder would knock her off her chair.

"Innateness. Triple word score. Be a dear and mark that down, will you Michelle?"

That New York lawyer is gay -- he's wishing he'd been organizing a bunch of losers rather than hitting the 1983 NY nightclub scene?

And why aren't the guys admitting to fantasizing sexually about Michelle? What, are they racists? Sexists who fear a women with power? For shame.

Anonymous said...

What is most outrageous about the BO worship is the reality of BO's mediocrity. He's not a talented person. JFK, another mediocrity, also attracted similar attention from the media.

Harry Baldwin said...

You're not responsible for your dreams, but you are responsible for what you choose to share with others. Does a man tell his wife every fantasy that passes through his mind? I don't think the people quoted in this article are mature enough to be allowed to vote. What's really scary is that most of them seem to be kind of proud of themselves.

Dennis Dale said...

Please note that the NYT offers Warner as a "science" columnist.

rob said...

I think first anon put it well. I'll second the 'ewwwwwww' as well.

We should also remember the women in the NYT who went public with Bill Clinton fantasies, pre-Monica. And on the other ender of the political spectrum, I would hate to see fanfic about Palin. How long before Obama/Biden 'slash' stories come out? Yeah, ewwwwww.

Anonymous said...

I confess to having a dream once in which George Bush appeared. All I remember is he was friendly and shook my hand. Dream-Bush's apparent good-natured sincerity surprised me because at the time I was not a Bush admirer and was rather suspicious of him.

Anonymous said...

Steve, please ban "rob said..."'s ip from your site. He has just hurt my brain very badly.

Anonymous said...

1. Whoa!
2. Ms. Warner should widen her circle of acquaintance.
3. What planet are these people from?
4. Self awareness is not Ms. Warner's forte.

dollmaker said...

What scares me most isn't even the creepy Obama fantasies these people have, but that these people are representative of the American elite, who make our policy decisions regarding, say, immigration. If this is the kind of fantasy-land these people live in, then what hope is there for us when they steer our ship?

Anonymous said...

Lord, that was fricken weird. And gross.

Anonymous said...

This article is a product of our demented matriarchy. Mass fantasies of sex with the president? Sure, just like with JFK. Who cared that JFK almost got us all killed with the Cuban Missile Crisis? Only the men. The ladies never held it against him.

JFK nearly got all of their kids immolated but the mothers never held it against him.

If Dear Leader is handsome enough, and silver-tongued enough, the ladies will forgive him even getting us all nuked! Yes, they will. It's in their DNA. Women are frequently attracted to utterly poisonous males as moths are to a flame. The Clinton years were a national exercise in wife-beating.

Matriarchy is an unstable state. Matriarchy will elevate immoral and callow men to power. Men like Clinton, Edwards, Obama.

I just saw a headline about more women being employed now in the U.S. than men. Good luck with that! Extreme chaos is just over the next hill because matriarchy always yields to harsh patriarchy.

Stopped Clock said...

Barack Obama the superhero

Anonymous said...

dennis dale: Please note that the NYT offers Warner as a "science" columnist.
we can no doubt expect fair and accurate reporting of race and gene issues from Mrs. Warner.

Glaivester said...

We should also remember the women in the NYT who went public with Bill Clinton fantasies, pre-Monica.

Maybe in some cases their fantasies came true.

Anonymous said...

I feel like if I’d been a better person I would have gotten to know them.

That sentence would probably feel at home in a translation of a letter to the editor of a North Korean newspaper. I've never read any North Korean or Mao-era Chinese press, but that's what I've always imagined their style to be.

Svigor said...

Funny, I was thinking about the laughable sex appeal of the O-man just yesterday.

It's 100% metrosexual. Let's face it, the guy's a wuss, with a masculine, probably overbearing wife. He's the underwear model (much diminished) from the ad on the bus in Fight Club. The sort of fella the media proffers precisely because he's a wuss. GW would probably kick his ass, LOL.

testing99 said...

THis is an exclusively female/gay phenomena.

More evidence of the profound feminization of the culture and politics.

The flip-side, is that the more Obama is the Teen Idol of middle aged women, the more men hate him.

Anonymous said...

This is truly unbelievable. How can there be anyone who does not know by now that what goes on inside people's marriages has nothing to do with what you think you're perceiving on the outside? I might decide whether I do or don't like either parties of a couple in question, but it's useless to speculate on what's actually going on between them. I'm sure I'd have it all wrong.

"A modern day Norman Rockwell family" ?? Cut it out! With a polygamist for a papa and a promiscuous wanderer for a mother? With subsets of siblings, some known, and some yet unknown? Hardly Rockwellian!

Are purple lips "sensuous?" They kind of make me want to puke.

-- Victoria

cranky matron said...

whoa. I don't get it.

"They look like they have the perfect marriage?"

To me, it all looks a bit forced.

But even if you did think the stagecraft was convincing, surely some corner of your mind would remind you that it IS stagecraft.

robert61 said...

I look at BarryO and see a shyster lawyer with a glib tongue. How far I have fallen from cultural consensus of my NYT-soaked SWPL youth.

Roger Chaillet said...

Wet dreams with Michelle O?

Ya gotta be kidding.

Imagine, say, the late Sam Francis writing something like this, even as satire.

Oh, the furor would have been intense.

Too bad Sam ain't around to skewer such tripe.

Bill said...

Pure perimenopausal hysteria. These are confused women going through a profound hormonal transformation.

As a funny aside, my son attends an inner-city preschool where Barack Obama is practically worshiped as a god. They have these coloring books with Barack Obama, and indeed his lips were filled in by some teacher with a purplish hue. I thought he looked a bit like a drag queen (the young teacher must still be learning about cosmetic application).

Anyway, my son has had to listen to so much about Barack Obama that one time when Barack showed up on TV my son started hollering "NO MORE BARACK OBAMA!"

I swear I've never said a thing about politics around the kid, but he's clearly sick of the hype.

There is hope yet...

Reader said...

I assume everyone's seen the MAD TV "Under Barack Obama" video by now.

This NYT article got me thinking that if a sex scandal occurs during the Obama administration (and, big if, it were actually given attention by the mass media), it would probably be some kind of super-mega scandal, like the OJ trial meets Monica Lewinsky.

Svigor said...

Only the men. The ladies never held it against him.

JFK nearly got all of their kids immolated but the mothers never held it against him.

If Dear Leader is handsome enough, and silver-tongued enough, the ladies will forgive him even getting us all nuked! Yes, they will.


You've got me nodding, but something doesn't fit. Maybe it's more precise to say women couldn't even process the nuke thing? Unless they walk out of their houses onto a hot sheet of glass, they can't get their heads around it? With women it seems more like you're not supposed to mention the possibility of glassification, than it seems to actually have anything to do with enabling said possibility.

Anonymous said...

“I dreamed I was an Obama girl. I had a chance to be in the same room with him for the first time. There were dark velvet chairs and he was standing there with all this dark and mist around him. His lips so purple and sensuous as if to be otherworldly,”

This reminds me of one of those Hammer House of Horror Dracula films ...

What a bizarre range of feelings are described in the article.

Mostly, they're just sad.

Anonymous said...

"A modern day Norman Rockwell family" ?? Cut it out! With a polygamist for a papa and a promiscuous wanderer for a mother? With subsets of siblings, some known, and some yet unknown? Hardly Rockwellian!

NYT's cut back on copy editors they of course, meant Orwell.

Anonymous said...

OK, so they hype miscegenation, and then in countries where it just happened because there were too few white wimmenz, like Angola, the light-skinned are considered more beautiful. We are going around in circles.

headache said...

well, it proves t99's assertions about modern wimmenz, don't it?

Anonymous said...

"If Dear Leader is handsome enough, and silver-tongued enough, the ladies will forgive him even getting us all nuked! Yes, they will."

OK, now I'm convinced t99 had it right. Wimmenz wanting to orgy with da prez, and nukes in suitcases going off in NY. The Slimes just proved t99 was right!

Lloyd G. said...

The election of Obama proves that America has moved past racism. Or something.

Bonus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsAg_yodQtU

Ronduck said...

Am I meant to understand that certain portions of the liberal intelligencia are so ecstatic about Brown Wonder coming to power that they basically want to have an orgy with him and his family?

I think many of them want to have his child.

Anonymous said...

"It's 100% metrosexual."

In my search for a correct designation of Obama, I've been calling him a skinny, hairless twit. But, you're right. The correct term is "metrosexual."

-- Victoria

colleen said...

testing99 wrote:

"More evidence of the profound feminization of the culture and politics."

I'll second this. And add also that it's a symptom of the general indulgent nature of that feminization -- it's always okay to talk about your *feelings,* and in fact any feeling, no matter how private, ought to be *shared*.

But, uh, in the NYT? Bizarro.

SWPL Fan said...

Truth should chime in here with what's undeniably true - most of these dingbat fantasizers are white women. In my northern ski town's tiny parade the other day, the local Democrats marched with their red float, staffed entirely by women, and with two of them hugging an Obama cut-out in the most awesomely creepy display I'd seen in a while. It was like something out of Babylon 2400 years ago.

The good news for us is that these people, as CLander points out, have reached the stage of utter ridicule, and they're particular to only a single race. The fetishization of the black male by half-wit white females - absolutely racist in every sense - must run its course, and instead of concerned onlookers being infuriated, as they previously were, they can get a good laugh at the preposterousness of it all while biologically showing these broads the door. That's evolution.

We're in the midst of an absolute divvying up of what are blandly called "whites". If you agree with the logical explanation that the economy is not tanking, but stabilizing itself, then you can probably grasp what's happening to the bloated Caucasian race.

d.c. watcher said...

my take on this article, as the queasiness subsides, is that is more propaganda. They've still got it going on people. MSM is up these peoples' ass and the powers that be want us to keep thinking they are some sort of magic thing. Without this hype, the vast majority of whites would forget about them; certainly only a few hopeless cases would indulge in fantasies. Purple lips my but.

But as for JFK. He got in a tangle with Cuba but he vetoed a false flag operation called Northwoods, dreamt up by pscyho Gen. Curtis Lemay who absolutely hated JFK. Bobby was briefly interested in this plan though.
I also learned from an acquaintance who was going to be sent to Laos in 1961, that JFK also vetoed a plan to send them because it would have certainly resulted in huge casualties. He always had a soft spot for Jack after that. This acquaintance lives near Sen. Teddy and says he's a fat, smelly old guy. Maybe it's true. The good die younger.
JFK did care more about the young because he'd actually been in a war and lost a brother. Chickenhawks are almost always the most heartless war mongers. I never had a lick of hope in ol' Purple Lips. I don't see how any sane white person could.

Anonymous said...

Get over yourself, Svigor, you don't know any women to discuss nuclear war with, or anything else.