April 14, 2004
Bush's Unintentionally Cinematic Rhetorical StyleOur friend Andrew sends in his analysis of the press conference:
Last night the President dared to face a firing squad of reporters. For so famously a gaffe-prone fellow as George W. "He's Not as Dumb as He Seems" Bush (who is probably as dumb as he seems), this would appear to be political suicide. Indeed, if the White House was the setting for a horror movie (and isn't it?) then the lectern before the assembled press corps would be the basement our brainless cipher would blunder into.
I will not recount here the numerous slips of the tongue, tangled sentences, or perplexing twists of logic he displayed. Instead, I thought it would be fun to compare the President's remarks to some similar speeches from the movies:
The Drunk Guy Speech(as delivered by George W. Bush)
The people know where I stand, I mean, in terms of Iraq. I was very clear about what I believed. And, of course, I want to know why we haven't found a weapon yet. But I still know Saddam Hussein was a threat. And the world is better off without Saddam Hussein. I don't think anybody can -- maybe people can argue that. I know the Iraqi people don't believe that, that they're better off with Saddam Hussein -- would be better off with Saddam Hussein in power.
The Drunk Guy Speech(as delivered by James Dean in Giant and transcribed by my sister, Kathy):
Ladies and gents . . . ladies and gentlemen distinguished guests I . . . I just want to count the blessings that this great domain has bestowed upon her humble son. [mumbles] This . . . this man. Old mother Texas what did she give to me? Not a goddamn thing. You work and sweat and see no [incoherent]. But I got mine right out of the ground. Poor Jett. Fight for what is good. Lucky lucky for Bick Bennedict. Her husband. Poor Jett. Pretty Leslie. Pretty Leslie. Pretty Leslie wonderful beautiful girl bride. [incoherent] Rich Mrs. Bennedict. She's beautiful lovely the woman a man wants. The woman a man's gotta have too. Governor! [to nobody] [incoherent] [falls down onto some tables and chairs]
The Dying Old Guy Speech(as delivered by George W. Bush)
Let me put that quote to Woodward in context, because he had asked me if I was -- something about killing bin Laden. That's what the question was. And I said, you know, compared to how I felt at the time, after the attack, I didn't have that -- and I also went on to say, my blood wasn't boiling, I think is what the quote said. I didn't see -- I mean, I didn't have that great sense of outrage that I felt on September the 11th. I was -- on that day, I was angry and sad. Angry that al-Qaida -- I thought at the time al-Qaida, found out shortly thereafter it was al-Qaida -- had unleashed this attack. Sad for those who lost their life.
The Dying Old Guy Speech(as delivered by Jason Robards in Magnolia):
Hey come here. Come here. I'm . . I'm gonna try talk. You know, I'm trying to say something . . . something . . . Do you know Lily, Phil, do you know her? She's my love my life love of it. In school I'm 12 years old in school . . . in 6th grade I saw her. I didn't go the school but . . . but we met. My friend knew her. I said, "Uh, what's that girl how's the Lily?" "Oh she's bad she sleeps with guys." Yeah he said this, but then sometimes . . . I went to another school, you see. But then when high school at an end--what's that? What is that when it gets to an end? No, no, the grade. What grade are you in? So went to her school for that grade. Grade . . . that's grade12 and we meet. She was fucking like a doll. A beautiful porclain doll. And the hips the child bearing hips you know what I mean. So beautiful.
The Crazy Commander Speech(as delivered by George W. Bush)
Finally, the attitude of the Iraqis toward the American people -- it's an interesting question. They're really pleased we got rid of Saddam Hussein, and you can understand why. This guy was a torturer, a killer, a maimer. There's mass graves. I mean, he was a horrible individual that really shocked the country in many ways, shocked it into a kind of a fear of making decisions toward liberty. That's what we've seen recently. Some citizens are fearful of stepping up. And they were happy -- they're not happy they're occupied. I wouldn't be happy if I were occupied either. They do want us there to help with security.
The Crazy Commander Speech(as delivered by Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now)
I went down that river when I was a kid. There's a place in the river.. I can't remember... Must have been a gardenia plantation at one time. All wild and overgrown now, but about five miles you'd think that heaven just fell on the earth in the form of gardenias... Have you ever considered any real freedoms ? Freedoms - from the opinions of others... Even the opinions of yourself. They say why, Willard? Why they wanted to terminate my command?