Friday, April 04, 2008

Token non-fictional commentary

A friend of mine decided last weekend to have a marathon of the Rocky movies. This didn't last long... or as she put it, "it consisted of me watching the first one, screaming at the tv, 'WHAT DO YOU MEAN HE DOESN'T WIN?!', and giving up".

My friend is not Hillary Clinton, who evidently has not even got that far. I think H-Clin's desperate attempt to graft herself onto the Rocky myth in the popular consciousness will go down in political history as one of the great legends of campaign lore - not as evocatively evil as the Willie Horton ad, but far more endearingly misguided than the Swift Boat Veterans.

Obama has responded to Clinton's perplexing attempt at narrative-hackery (which smack more than anything else of amateur hour - say what you will about the golden days of neg politics, at least Lee Atwater would never have let his candidate do anything so clunky), and the flaws in her metaphor have been noted, but...

Well, look. Did anyone in the campaign just say, at any stage, "okay, look: this is a story about a borderline-retarded dunderhead who uses pluck and gumption to go up against a threateningly showy, talky - hell, let's just say it, uppity - neegra of a champ, and despite all his grassroots back-to-the-streets hardscrabbling (which, ahem, our candidate is not exactly known for), he gets the shit beat out of him by said uppity chatterbox? A story in which the good old white-bread backbone of America is threatened by a cadre of articulate blackness, and shows its pep and verve by, having survived a bout in which both competitors damn near kill themselves, reassures his opponent that he's not after a rematch?"

Because, I mean, I don't even know whether that metaphor's supposed to be prescriptive or descriptive. Maybe neither: apparently for Hillary, the big moment in Rocky is when he runs up some stairs. Okay, sure, but he then had the, you know, rest of the story to get through.

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