88小不是

January 21st, 2009

The only thing I’m going to write to explain the title of this piece is that although W.’s name in Chinese is usually 小布什, I think 不是 is a better rendering. And I like how the pronunciation of both loosely approximates the English word ‘bullshit’.

I s’ppose there’s already a lot written on the Bush presidency, but I don’t really care. He’s gone. That’s good enough. And besides, I always had trouble seeing him as actually the president. I’ve always seen him as some kind of sinisterly clownish marionette, and I never quite could figure out who was pulling the strings. He wasn’t quite a figurehead, more like a make-believe president, the disarmingly absurd face of some obscure, malevolent beast. And I’m having trouble blaming him for anything he did wrong. I just don’t believe he has the introspection necessary to realise either that he screwed up or that he wasn’t really president. He reminds me of a Far Side cartoon in which some jumped up little dictator in a kitschy pseudo-military uniform is standing in front of a desk being informed by a psychiatrist that actually, he was Joe Bloggs and his whole dictatorship was just some psychological experiment- escept that Bush hasn’t made it to the psychiatrist’s desk yet, and I doubt he ever will. For me the “Bush presidency” is an abstraction somewhat akin to “Mitterand’s innocence in the Rainbow Warrior affair” or “Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone to assassinate John F. Kennedy”- a convenient, if somewhat translucent, fiction.

But on the whole, I think Arctosia has by far the healthiest response to the whole thing, in both English and Chinese editions.

I’m just glad the whole thing’s over.

3 Responses to “88小不是”

  1. Lucas Says:

    Well said, although as an American, I’ve got to say that I’ve had no trouble blaming him for what’s gone wrong in this country and this world over the last eight years.

    He may only be the spokesman for his administration, but his foolishness has been a facade calculated, I think, to clear him from any blame. Whether George Bush or Dick Cheney or Karl Rove was the political mastermind doesn’t really matter; the fact is that a mind was at work, and it worked to be supremely destructive.

  2. Paul Spence Says:

    A long overdue changing of the guard in Washington. It will be good to have a liberal technocrat in the bosses chair.

    But when I saw the thousands of well wishers lining the Mall I could not help wondering where they all were at the last election when Gore missed out by such a small margin.

    BTW Chris, speaking of 88, I thought the following site may be of interest to you:

    http://www.88-bar.com/

  3. wangbo Says:

    Thanks, Paul, that’s an interesting-looking site.

    The word ‘technocrat’ hadn’t occurred to me, but it seems very appropriate. And it’s not just Obama himself, he seems to be gathering a fair bit of intellectual fire-power around him. I’m still a bit apprehensive about what policies will actually be adopted, but so far I’m impressed.

    As for Gore, I suspect the two key differences are charisma and timing- although charisma-wise Gore seemed to find his niche with global warming.