This article was originally published on August 12, 2015, and satirises Obama’s underwhelming response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre:
Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, has brilliantly harnessed the power of new media and social media to communicate and interact with younger generations, both in the US and abroad. His finely-tuned instincts for new trends in the digital marketplace were well on display when his aides approached the fast-growing XYZ for an interview:
XYZ: Mr President, of all the qualities we admire in you, it is your sense of humour. Your handling of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris at the start of the year is a case in point. Would you care to expand on this?
Obama: Thank you! Yes, it is one of my pet hates, that people just don’t get how funny I am. When those cartoonists were executed for their blasphemy, I wanted to find a creative way of responding to the affair.
XYZ: Which is why you responded to the shooting of cartoonists with a reference from a cartoon?
Obama: Well, no, The Simpsons were an animated sitcom, not a cartoon. I wanted to find a unique way of communicating my position by utilizing a complementary art form. That is why I chose to reference the episode “Deep Space Homer,” from The Simpsons’ fifth season, by sending James Taylor, accompanied by John Kerry, in place of myself, to sing, “You’ve got a Friend,” to the French.
XYZ: Could you expand more on the context?
Obama: Yeh, what you seem to be missing here is the fact that in “Deep Space Homer,” when James Taylor sings, “You’ve got a Friend,” he has to make it clear to to the astronauts that despite their preoccupation with a passing in-flight emergency, it was more important that they absorb his message to them. Likewise, I wanted to point out that although the French seemed absorbed with their own perceptions of personal loss, it was important that they reflect on how their own actions were responsible for the retribution inflicted upon them, and, when they were ready, I would be there to help them understand this truth. But of course, I wanted to find a humorous way of doing this, to, you know, soften the blow, because I’m not an asshole.
XYZ: Exactly. And there is more to it than this. We know your humour works on multiple levels – were you also referencing the Overlord Meme?
Obama: Look, nobody does humour as well as I do, seriously. That episode is the source of “The Overlord Meme” – when an ant, which has escaped from an ant colony which has been brought on the shuttle mission, gets close to an onboard camera, viewers on earth, including news anchor Kent Brockman, mistakenly think the shuttle has been overrun by giant ants. He responds:
“One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the ants will soon be here. And I for one welcome our new insect overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.”
What people need to be made to understand is that this is basically what I do every time there is an outburst of violent extremism, whether in the US or overseas. I have no problem when the oppressed subvert traditional political channels to express their resistance against the dominant white-imperialist narrative. I welcome the way they are challenging our outdated cultural practices, and I am using my position to promote tolerance and inclusivity toward them.
And hell, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi! They could have been me 35 years ago!
XYZ: Thank you, Mr President. As aspiring satirists, we could do worse than pick the brain of the most powerful satirist on the planet.
Obama: Great! I think you learned something today. ¡Adiós!
Photo by stevegarfield