Tuesday, January 31, 2006

On the State of... oh, whatever

Okay, so tonight is, of course, the State of the Union address. Color me underwhelmed, if I'm going to be completely honest. I'll probably watch out of a sense of duty (and a sense of all the good TV being preempted, although the Minnesota Wild are playing at Colorado if the entire experience gets too painful). Beyond his policy, even President Bush's voice and demeanor bug me to no end; whether he's chuckling at his own jokes or speaking in the short sentences and one-syllable words that make it seem like he's addressing a class of third-graders, I always feel really patronized. I hate that. I feel patronized, and every time he tells a blatant, flat-out lie (which, to his credit, is frequently more a result of him not knowing the truth than trying to conceal it), I feel angry. I hate that, too.

No matter who's in the driver's seat, though, the SOTU ain't what it used to be. Once 'pon a time, it was an opportunity for the president to actually let the country know how it's doing. People in New England were doing their New England thing, people on the west coast were getting tan, people in the south were eating delicious fried things and speaking slowly and perfecting the art form known as jazz, and this was their opportunity to know what had been going on with the whole country all year, and what would be going on next year. Now, with blogs and 24-hour news access and embedded reporters, some Americans are more informed on domestic and international issues than the president himself, and the SOTU has just become free airtime for the party in power to recite its agenda and assure us all that the world isn't going to end (unless the end of the world would work to their advantage).

Someone on Air America commented this morning on the fact that the SOTU falls on Groundhog's Day this year: "It is an ironic juxtaposition: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication, and the other involves a groundhog." A joke at President Bush's expense? Sure. But like I said, the entire SOTU is a joke these days. And if it's going to be a joke, why not make it a game? Games are fun, right?

Now, everyone and their crazy gay uncle has an SOTU drinking game, and you can certainly do that if you want. Or if you're more of a teetotaler, you can go with something tasty like candy or something fun like nudity. I tend to think, though, that if I'm going to have to sit through something like this, something good will have to come of it. So this is how it's breaking down:

$1 will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, a really fantastic organization that gives aid in a variety of forms to seriously injured servicemembers and their families, for every occurrence of the following:

- "stay the course"
- "terrorists"
- "Iran" ("moo-lahs" and "Hamas" each get you $5)
- "free elections" (Referring to Palestine? $5)
- "hard work"
- "nucular" ($5 if he actually makes up a word)
- "freedom" ("They hate our freedoms"? $5)
- "terrorist surveillance" ($5 if he comes out and calls it domestic spying)
- "protect" or "security" ("Social Security"? You must be drunk already. $5)
- "bi-partisan"
- any oblique reference to gay marriage without actually saying it
- any inappropriate smiling while mentioning something that shouldn't raise a smile
- plus 25 cents every time he's interrupted by applause, or 50 cents for every standing ovation
- $5 if he kindly offers to exchange your civil liberties for national security
- and $10 if he gets anywhere close to mentioning Osama bin Laden

As you can see, I've got my work cut out for me tonight. Anyone who feels like coming over to help me count, or counting from home, drop me a line. Tomorrow, I'll be back with the final count and WWP's take from the whole project. If I last that long.

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