Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cult of personality

On a few occasions lately, it has come to light that school children are being led in singing the praises of our President.

Lots of people find this deeply creepy. We always would consider it a hallmark of authoritarian places that they would have billboard sized posters of their leaders in public places. In the West the leaders were often in military uniform, in the East they would go for the more bland look. East is East and West is West & etc.

As if to answer the concerns, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, trotted-out footage of school kids singing some kind of pro-President Bush song. On a very superficial level this would seem to indicate that we live in a big country and you are bound to find pretty much every conceivable thing taking place. Hence, the songs for Obama mean precisely nothing. Not so fast!

I never got the impression President Bush wanted to be worshiped and I didn't see much evidence that many on the left thought that either. Plus, given that the education, entertainment and news media are almost monolithically to the left of center, it is not realistic to think any Republican could achieve cult of personality status, even if they wanted to.

Another question occurs to me: Why wasn't video of children singing the praises of GWB seen before now? That is, why is it only shown now and only as a counterpoint to the Obama videos? Obviously, because it didn't say anything "interesting" back when Bush was President. A huge number of things happen and they can't all be on the news. Nobody worried about a Bush cult of personality back then or it would have been in the news for the purpose of bolstering that meme. Why else put it on? It might seem odd that schools dominated by Democratic teachers would allow/lead students in a pro-Bush song, so there is a whole man-bites-dog angle but I suppose nobody thought of it till now...

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