Daily Archives: August 28, 2006

Fictional Presidents for Whom I Would Happily Vote

It is an absolute shame that we have fictional presidents in our popular media who seem more  trustworthy, not to mention more intelligent and more clued in, than the real one.

I have been watching “The West Wing” for the past week and keep coming across the fact that this fictional president seems far more likeable than the current office-holder.  Now, I realize that anything is possible in fiction, and that real life is more problematic, at the same time, fiction represents ideals and archetypes that have a place in the public conciousness because people want to see them realized.

This is, of course, nothing new.  Many fine actors have played popular, likeable presidents.  Michael Douglas in “The American President” and Kevin Kline in “Dave” both come to mind as examples of fictional presidents who are portrayed as good men in a difficult, thankless job.  I could accept that they were mere characters if it was not for the fact that they seem so much more intelligent than the Shrub.  I find it appalling that these fictions are never portrayed as buffoons or fools when the leader of our country acts like one at every given opportunity.  There is something wrong with an archetype being so far removed from the truth.

Other stock characters at least seem truer to reality.  The honest, hard-working fireman with a drinking problem and two divorces under his belt is believable.  The flat-foot cop who shot a kid by accident and now works the desk is believable.  The high school teacher who tries so hard to make just a single child understand the value of education that they sacrifice their home life in pursuit of that goal is believable.  The kid who wants to play so bad that he accepts the unappreciated role of team manager just for a chance to sit on the bench at game-time is believable.  But a president who is honest and wants only what is best for his country and who will do whatever he can to better the lives of the people in his country?  Only on TV.

I am tired of being represented by a president who seems like he is trying for the part of comic relief on a sit-com I wouldn’t watch.  The Shrub’s constant misuse of the English language and apparent disregard for the will of the American public, combined with a desire to enable tax dodging and hinder education at home, in addition to squandering the goodwill of other countries speaks volumes to the fact that he is as far removed from the good president archetype as can be.

In fact, the character that most resembles our president is that of the villain of the piece and god but that needs to change.

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QotD: I’m reading (or about to read)…

What books are on your nightstand?

My nightstand, well, shelf in my closet, is divided into two sections – books in progress, and books to read next.

Books in Progress:
The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
30 Days in the South Pacific – Sean O'Reilly
The Traveller – John Twelve Hawks
The Modern Gentleman – Phinneas Mollod & Jason Tesauro
The Wizard Hunters – Martha Wells

Books to Read Next:
Alaska – James A. Michener
Travels with Charley – John Steinbeck
The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis
Leaving a Trace – Alexandra Johnson
Birthday Stories – Haruki Murakami

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