‘Thank You’ Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry
…or something equally pretentious.
Well…I want you to know that I, your Humble Dispatcher, strapped on my helmet, cocked my weapon, climbed out of the safety of my trench and ventured alone into the No Man’s Land that is the excerpt from David Maraniss’s new biography of Barack Hussein Marshall-Obama that had been published in Vanity Fair. I read the whole damn thing. I took one for the team. Those are precious minutes of my life I will never get back again and my intestinal tract will spend many years recovering from. Perhaps the most damage was inflicted in my brain — I will seek counseling immediately in anticipation of the PTSD I most assuredly will be experiencing. And I have ordered an extra case of Brain Bleach [The images!...the images!...MAKE THEM STOP!!!!!!!].
I think some kind of award is in order…and I want a dinner in my honor [preferably a liquid one] with Michelle Malkin, Dana Loesch, S.E. Cupp, and Mary Katherine Ham taking turns sitting on my lap, easing my worried mind.
The following are some excerpts — read on, if you dare [the Ick Factor is pretty damn high]…
-Regarding the title of this post: it was inspired by this [emphasis mine]:
Genevieve [Cook, one of his white girlfriend in New York, who was an ingredient
in the composite girlfriend he created in Dreams From My Father]] was out of her mother’s Upper East Side apartment by then. Earlier that spring she had moved and was sharing the top floor of a brownstone at 640 Second Street in Park Slope. The routine with Barack was now back and forth, mostly his place, sometimes hers. When she told him that she loved him, his response was not “I love you, too” but “thank you”—as though he appreciated that someone loved him. The relationship still existed in its own little private world. They spent time cooking. Barack loved to make a ginger beef dish that he had picked up from his friend Sohale Siddiqi. He was also big on tuna-fish sandwiches made the way his grandfather had taught him, with finely chopped dill pickles. For a present, Genevieve bought him an early edition of The Joy of Cooking. They read books together and talked about what they had read. For a time they concentrated on black literature, the writers Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Toni Cade Bambara, and Ntozake Shange.
What can you say about a twenty-two year-old boy who said ‘Thank You’? That he was an idiot and a dickwad? That he loved Toni Morrison and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, sarongs [I'll explain that one a bit later], and himself?
-From a letter he wrote to girlfriend Alex McNear who was far away in California [cue the Francis Lai music]:
Moments trip gently along over here. Snow caps the bushes in unexpected ways, birds shoot and spin like balls of sound. My feet hum over the dry walks. A storm smoothes the sky, impounding the city lights, returning to us a dull yellow glow. I run every other day at the small indoor track [at Columbia] which slants slightly upward like a plate; I stretch long and slow, twist and shake, the fatigue, the inertia finding home in different parts of the body. I check the time and growl—aargh!—and tumble onto the wheel. And bodies crowd and give off heat, some people are in front and you can hear the patter or plod of the steps behind. You look down to watch your feet, neat unified steps, and you throw back your arms and run after people, and run from them and with them, and sometimes someone will shadow your pace, step for step, and you can hear the person puffing, a different puff than yours, and on a good day they’ll come up alongside and thank you for a good run, for keeping a good pace, and you nod and keep going on your way, but you’re pretty pleased, and your stride gets lighter, the slumber slipping off behind you, into the wake of the past.
Man, Barry missed his calling as a writer of bad romantic fiction [and, it seems, as a pirate]. Of course, we now know once and for all that he obviously writes his own speeches — he has never changed his proclivities or style.
As ‘Fellatin’ Dave’ Maraniss comments on this passage:
Obama was the central character in his letters, in a self-conscious way, with variations on the theme of his search for purpose and self-identity….
No shit, Sherlock.
-Here’s the explanation for the sarong reference above:
A few weeks into January 1984 they [Barry and Genevieve] were seeing each other regularly on Thursday nights (when she would be up in his neighborhood, finishing one of her Bank Street classes) and on weekends. He was living then as a boarder in a fourth-floor walkup at 622 West 114th Street. It was a rent-controlled three-bedroom apartment. She remembered how on Sundays Obama would lounge around, drinking coffee and solving the New York Times crossword puzzle, bare-chested, wearing a blue and white sarong. His bedroom was closest to the front door, offering a sense of privacy and coziness. Genevieve described it in her journal this way: “I open the door, that Barack keeps closed, to his room, and enter into a warm, private space pervaded by a mixture of smells that so strongly speak of his presence, his liveliness, his habits—running sweat, Brut spray deodorant, smoking, eating raisins, sleeping, breathing.”
Okay, look, I’m a hep cat when it comes to different cultures and their habits. I know that, in places like Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Pacific Islands, a sarong is worn by men as well as women – I’m hip to this, man, but a guy wearing a sarong in America is…well…is gay.*
-Mzzz. Cook kept a journal that ‘Knee Pads’ Dave quotes liberally from [pun intended]. Here’s one telling entry:
Saturday, February 25
The sexual warmth is definitely there—but the rest of it has sharp edges and I’m finding it all unsettling and finding myself wanting to withdraw from it all. I have to admit that I am feeling anger at him for some reason, multi-stranded reasons. His warmth can be deceptive. Tho he speaks sweet words and can be open and trusting, there is also that coolness—and I begin to have an inkling of some things about him that could get to me.
As John McLaughlin would say: ‘Genevieve! You have stumbled into the truth!’
-Throughout the whole excerpt, David Maraniss relieves us of any doubt [if you had
any after his Clinton book] that he is one of the most talented literary fellators alive today. However, it seems that ‘Rug Burns’ Dave knows it and this leads him to unwittingly provide we normal folks with some disturbing insights into who Barry is. An example, with my comments in brackets:
By early 1984, Obama was absorbed with Genevieve and with figuring out his place in the world. Whatever and wherever that would be, it would certainly not involve Business International or anything like it. He had turned away from the rhetoric of the left, dubious of its practicality and turned off by radical remnants of the 1960s [tell that to Stanley Kurtz], but was also leery of succumbing to the allure of the business world [it's never been about the money]. Genevieve knew that he harbored faintly articulated notions of future greatness, of gaining power [oh yeah] in order to change things. Once, when they were in Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, they saw a young boy in costume, playing out a superhero role. They started to talk about superheroes, the comics he enjoyed as an adolescent in Honolulu, and intimations of “playing out a superhero life.” ['Faster than a
speeding Bolshevik / More powerful than noble motives / Able to leap
tall Constitutions in a single bound / 'Look! Up in the Sky!' / 'It's a
turd!' / 'It's insane!' / 'IT'S SUPERBAM!'] She considered it “a very strong archetype in his personality.” But he was not to be drawn out—he shut down [constipated brain, eh?] “and didn’t want to talk about it further.” [perhaps those shady people who were funding his education and
living wouldn't let him]
Mr. Maraniss: There’s a new invention out called ‘Self-Awareness’, try it sometime.
-More unwitting revelations [emphasis mine]:
…He was pushing away from [his Pakistani friends (or, 'friends'?...IYKWIMAITYD — NTTAWWT!)], too, politely, for a different reason, she thought. He wanted something more.
Beenu Mahmood saw a shift in Obama that corresponded to Genevieve’s perceptions. He could see Obama slowly but carefully distancing himself as a necessary step in establishing his political identity as an American. For years when Barack was around them, he seemed to share their attitudes as sophisticated outsiders who looked at politics from an international perspective. He was one of them, in that sense. But to get to where he wanted to go he had to change
Mahmood remembered that “for a period of two or three months” Obama “carried and at every opportunity read and reread a fraying copy of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. It was a period during which Barack was struggling deeply within himself to attain his own racial identity, and Invisible Man became a prism for his self-reflection.” There was a riff in that book that Mahmood thought struck close to the bone with Obama. The narrator, an intelligent black man whose skills were invisible to white society, wrote: “America is woven of many strands; I would recognize them and let it so remain. It’s ‘winner take nothing’ that is the great truth of our country or of any country. Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in the face of certain defeat.” His friend Barack, Mahmood thought, “was the most deliberate person I ever met in terms of constructing his own identity, and his achievement was really an achievement of identity in the modern world. [That] was an important period for him, first the shift from not international but American, number one, and then not white, but black.”
‘Deliberate’ being the operative word.
From later in the excerpt:
Genevieve and Barack talked about race quite often, as part of his inner need to find a sense of belonging. She sympathized and encouraged his search for identity. If she felt like an outsider, he was a double outsider, racial and cross-cultural. He looked black, but was he? He confessed to her that at times “he felt like an imposter. Because he was so white. There was hardly a black bone in his body.” At some point that summer she realized that, “in his own quest to resolve his ambivalence about black and white, it became very, very clear to me that he needed to go black.”
Well…you know how the old saying goes: Once you go black, you never go back.
-You can read the whole thing by clicking here…but, please don’t — not if you value your sanity [remember: what has been seen can never be unseen].
I will never be the same again…aargh!