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Obama in Unsong

Obama is described in the web novel Unsong:

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton originally looked set to sweep the national vote based on her connections and name recognition. Then things got interesting. People all around the country started talking about “hope” and “change” and “yes we can”. New political phenomenon Barack Obama inspired huge crowds wherever he went. The older, stodgier candidates were swept aside in the wave of enthusiasm at the revolution he promised.

Me, I figured he was probably a demon.

I mean, I’ve read enough folktales to recognize the basic arc. A mysterious tall dark stranger arrives in the capital and quickly gains the ears of the court. There’s no particular reason why anyone should like him, but everyone who listens to him can’t shake the feeling that he’s a trustworthy, intelligent figure. When he’s out of earshot, the nobles of the land plot against him, wondering how such a relative lightweight could dream of usurping their power – but as soon as he speaks to them in his smooth, calming voice, they immediately forget what they were going to do and join in the universal chorus of praise.

And in every one of those folktales, the stranger turns out to be a demon.

This post was necessitated by a conversation at Brian’s Friday.

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25 comments to Obama in Unsong

  • Mr Ed

    Rather like Saruman at the Scouring of the Shire.

  • Alsadius

    (For those not reading it, Unsong is a rather strange story based on taking a kabbalistic interpretation of the Bible literally, tossing in a bit of nerd comedy, and seeing what happens to the world as a result. I enjoy it, but it’s an odd one)

  • bobby b

    On the Republican side, Jeb Bush originally looked set to sweep the national vote based on his connections and name recognition. Then things got interesting. People all around the country started talking about “patriotism” and “honor” and “make America great again”. New political phenomenon Donald Trump inspired huge crowds wherever he went. The older, stodgier candidates were swept aside in the wave of enthusiasm at the revolution he promised.

    Me, I figured he was probably a demon.

  • Alisa

    Bobby B:

    Me, I figured he was probably a demon.

    And so I went and voted for him!

    😛

  • Mr Ed

    And what, may one ask, was Hillary?

    Not Shelob?
    “But still, she was there, who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dûr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness.”
    —The Two Towers

  • And what, may one ask, was Hillary?

    Troll-Wife

  • bobby b

    “Genesis 4:5 says that “The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.” The situation is kabbalistically reenacted every four years, when a candidate named some variant of “Cain” must lose at some stage in a US Presidential election. In 2016 it was Tim Kaine. In 2012 it was Herman Cain. In 2008 the unlucky role fell to war hero John McCain, who ran a strong race based on a platform of campaign finance reform and military leadership.”

    “(Obama) tried to prove he was a family man by showing off his daugher Malia, then categorically refused to answer questions about what kind of person would name their firstborn after the abstract concept of evil.”

    This really is good stuff!

  • Mr Ed

    What about Michael Dukainkis?

    James Earl Cainter?

    John Kainry? 😉

  • pete

    Self-proclaimed educated and clever lefties and ‘liberals’ tend to view politicians as messiahs or reincarnations of Hitler.

    Normal people realise they are just ordinary people.

    Obama is not a demon. He is just a disappointment as president.

  • bobby b

    “And so I went and voted for him!”

    It works best if I change the spelling to “daemon.” I can definitely picture Trump as a daemon, scurrying about outside of the control of the controllers, cleaning up messes, reconfiguring resources, and getting the OS back on track.

  • Mr Ed

    Normal people realise they are just ordinary people

    Ordinary? No, they are anti-Brians, all must have some form of Messiah complex.

    Normal people just get along, without wishing to control or dictate to others.

  • Alisa

    I know Bobby – so far I regret not having voted for him myself. We’ll see though.

  • Slartibartfarst

    @bobby b wrote (January 27, 2017 at 10:16 pm:

    “(Obama) tried to prove he was a family man by showing off his daugher Malia, then categorically refused to answer questions about what kind of person would name their firstborn after the abstract concept of evil.”

    Not sure that necessarily follows. Whilst I consider the biblical references you gave re “Cain” to be amusing (if neat), I understood that “Malia” was nothing more sinister than simply a female given name derived from the Hawaiian “Malia”. So one might be stretching a point there.

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    Slartibartfast: bobby b was quoting Unsong. In the universe of Unsong there are no coincidences.

  • bobby b

    Slartibartfarst, I should have been more clear that I was quoting someone else’s very humorous work at https://www.reddit.com/r/unsong/ . I only wish it were mine.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Thanks for the link, bobby. I’m quite curious to read this addition to our literary heritage, whenever I can get the boxes to stop, or rather start, moving.

  • Patrick Crozier

    Rasputin.

  • Stonyground

    As I recall, Abel’s offering was meat and Cain’s was grain. God didn’t care much for grain apparently. Cain should have learned to brew beer, that might have evened things up a bit.

  • Was this post “necessitated”, or “precipitated” by the conversation at Brian’s?

  • Don T

    I must be tone deaf. He always sounded like just another shallow hack to me.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    Didn’t Obama’s family come from Kenya/Cainya? Or was he the lesser of two evils?

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    Australia’s capital is, wait for it… Kaynberra! Oh, no! Time for a name-change! At least we don’t need to change the name of the whole country, unlike a certain country to the north of the US. (Caynada) And this would explain why everyone hates Americayns!!!

  • Paul Marks

    Than you Rob – now I understand.

  • Slartibartfarst

    @bobby b wrote (January 27, 2017 at 11:44 pm):

    Slartibartfarst, I should have been more clear that I was quoting someone else’s very humorous work at https://www.reddit.com/r/unsong/ . I only wish it were mine.

    Sorry, I did realise that you were quoting someone, but just wanted to point out that it might have been stretching a point. I did not ascribe it to you personally though.

  • Laird

    Rob, just a note of thanks for alerting me to the existence of UNSONG. Hadn’t even heard of it before, but I’ve started reading it and am finding it marvelously entertaining. 😀