aleph symbol with title UNSONG

Interlude ש: Obama

In 2008 Dick Cheney declined to pursue a third term due to his failing health. A delegation of the nation’s civic and religious leaders entered the National Archives after several days’ fasting and purification and, after lifting the Shroud upon the Constitution, declared that the proper thing to do in this sort of situation was to hold an election.

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.

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.

Obama laughed off people’s fears. But when his detractors asked him to produce a birth certificate, to prove that he had in fact been born, he expressed outrage and declined as a matter of principle. He said that his father had been a goat-herd from rural Kenya but was now dead – a claim which was suspiciously convenient, even ignoring the symbolic connotations of goats. He 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.

Luke 10:18 says “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” “Lightning” in Hebrew is “barak”. Isaiah 14:14 describes Satan’s fall from “the height of the clouds”; the word for “height” in this passage, referring to Heaven, is “bama”. Thus “lightning and heaven” would be “barak o’bama”. Sure, all of the bigshot Bible scholars point out that Jesus would have been speaking in Aramaic rather than Hebrew, and that there are many terms for Heaven more common than Isaiah’s idiom, and that you would have to be a raving lunatic conspiracy theorist to make the connection. But did not Jesus say only three verses later, that “You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children”? And that “I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it”?

On the other hand, the previous president had been Dick Cheney, so all of this sort of paled in comparison and Obama was elected in a landslide. Some people vaguely remembered that before it was Shrouded the Constitution had received an amendment saying something about a medical examination to make sure the president was human. But everyone agreed this would be extremely racist under the circumstances and could be skipped.

Only a handful of scholars and kabbalists remembered the words of the poet, who had prophecied almost eighty years before:

And at the last from inner Egypt came
The strange dark One to whom the fellahs bowed;
Silent and lean and cryptically proud,
And wrapped in fabrics Red as sunset flame.
Throngs pressed around, frantic for his commands,
But leaving, could not tell what they had heard:
While through the nations spread the awestruck word
That wild beasts followed him and licked his hands…

Or that the same prophecy ended:

…then, crushing what he had chanced to mould in play,
The idiot Chaos blew Earth’s dust away.

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76 Responses to Interlude ש: Obama

  1. Daniel Blank says:

    The poem referenced is Lovecraft’s, and is about Nyarlathotep. Also I wonder who Kaine lost to in 2016.

  2. J says:

    Didn’t Reagan also have that sort of charisma, but turned out to be a golem instead of a demon?

  3. YumAntimatter says:

    “but when his detractors asked him produce a birth certificate” – missing the word “to”

  4. The coment king says:

    A reminder that shirt orders are now open for another week. (Looks like we’re also doing a white-on-green “I went to theodicycon and all I got was this shirt and I don’t understand how a just God would allow this to happen”, which I’ll keep open a bit longer since it’s a late addition).

  5. Metacelsus says:

    Lovecraft would have had a major mental breakdown if he had known about Obama.

    Remember “On the Creation of N——“?

    That was seriously horrible.

  6. Kolya says:

    Just looking at The Outer Gate Interlude – ‘And it’s not just Adam. What about Noah’s sons, who right after they were saved from a giant flood caused by God being really really vengeful about sinners in the most conspicuous way possible, decided to celebrate with some kind of weird debauched incestuous rape orgy?’

    This isn’t quite right as 1) it was Noah who got drunk, not the sons, so they hardly were in an ‘orgy’ 2) Ham didn’t have sex/rape Noah, just mocked his nakedness 3) the sources say it was just Ham who transgressed, not the other two sons. But it would fit perfectly in it became Lot’s daughters.

    • The coment king says:

      I just realized, I didn’t know this story and the Noah story that I subconsciously assumed it was referring to was the joke about the adders who need logs to multiply.

  7. Marvy says:

    Goat herd? This part does not happen in our world, right?

  8. Marvy says:

    This is probably a coincidence (famous last words) but we know another Malia…

  9. Deiseach says:

    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.

    1907 Catholic religious apocalyptic (literally the End of the World) novel by Robert Hugh Benson, “The Lord of the World”:

    He tried to remember what Mr. Varhaus, the American senator, had told him of Felsenburgh; yet it did not seem sufficient to account for the facts. Felsenburgh, it seemed, had employed none of those methods common in modern politics. He controlled no newspapers, vituperated nobody, championed nobody: he had no picked underlings; he used no bribes; there were no monstrous crimes alleged against him. It seemed rather as if his originality lay in his clean hands and his stainless past — that, and his magnetic character. He was the kind of figure that belonged rather to the age of chivalry: a pure, clean, compelling personality, like a radiant child. He had taken people by surprise, then, rising out of the heaving dun-coloured waters of American socialism like a vision — from those waters so fiercely restrained from breaking into storm over since the extraordinary social revolution under Mr. Hearst’s disciples, a century ago. That had been the end of plutocracy; the famous old laws of 1914 had burst some of the stinking bubbles of the time; and the enactments of 1916 and 1917 had prevented their forming again in any thing like their previous force. It had been the salvation of America, undoubtedly, even if that salvation were of a dreary and uninspiring description; and now out of the flat socialistic level had arisen this romantic figure utterly unlike any that had preceded it…. So the senator had hinted…. It was too complicated for Percy just now, and he gave it up.

    And maybe this has some bearing on the Trump election? (This is about the English politician character in the novel) 🙂

    “They are pig-headed,” he added fiercely; “pig-headed and selfish; they are like children who cry for food ten minutes before dinner-time: it is bound to come if they will wait a little.”

    “And you will tell them so?”

    “That they are pig-headed? Certainly.”

    Mabel looked at her husband with a pleased twinkle in her eyes. She knew perfectly well that his popularity rested largely on his outspokenness: folks liked to be scolded and abused by a genial bold man who danced and gesticulated in a magnetic fury; she liked it herself.

    • Deiseach says:

      More about Felsenburgh, who turns out to be literally the Anti-Christ:

      “I don’t understand in the least,” she said. “Who is Felsenburgh, after all?”

      “My dear child, that is what all the world is asking. Nothing is known except that he was included in the American deputation at the last moment. The Herald published his life last week; but it has been contradicted. It is certain that he is quite a young man, and that he has been quite obscure until now.”

      “Well, he is not obscure now,” observed the girl.

      “I know; it seems as if he were running the whole thing. One never hears a word of the others. It’s lucky he’s on the right side.”

      “And what do you think?”

      Oliver turned vacant eyes again out of the window.

      “I think it is touch and go,” he said. “The only remarkable thing is that here hardly anybody seems to realise it. It’s too big for the imagination, I suppose. There is no doubt that the East has been preparing for a descent on Europe for these last five years. They have only been checked by America; and this is one last attempt to stop them. But why Felsenburgh should come to the front—-” he broke off. “He must be a good linguist, at any rate. This is at least the fifth crowd he has addressed; perhaps he is just the American interpreter. Christ! I wonder who he is.”

      “Has he any other name?”

      “Julian, I believe. One message said so.”

    • boris says:

      Reminds me of Jack Burden’s instructions to Willie Stark (essentially Huey Long, Depression-era proto-Trump):

      Hell, make ’em cry, make ’em laugh, make ’em think you’re their weak erring pal, or make ’em think you’re God-Almighty. Or make ’em mad. Even mad at you. Just stir ’em up, it doesn’t matter how or why, and they’ll love you and come back for more. Pinch ’em in the soft place. They aren’t alive, most of ’em, and haven’t been alive in twenty years. Hell, their wives have lost their teeth and their shape, and likker won’t set on their stomachs, and they don’t believe in God, so it’s up to you to give ’em something to stir ’em up and make ’em feel alive again. Just for half an hour. That’s what they come for. Tell ’em anything. But for Sweet Jesus’ sake don’t try to improve their minds.

  10. ChronoMager says:

    Typo thread:
    He tried to prove he was a family man by showing off his daugher Malia, […].
    – daughter

  11. Archon says:

    A single tear from Obama’s cheek can slay demons and cure vitiligo and impetigo. His stride is as of a titan’s, seven leagues at a time, and while he holds a microphone in his hand he canst take no mortal wound nor shed a single drop of his own blood. He speaks the native tongue of birds, and converses happily with all beasts of hoof and paw, even to the lowliest vole and marmot. Gracious as the kings of old, Obama carries no money nor answers unkind word with like. Peonies spring up where his feet trod, and were he to lay his weary head upon the ground a mighty cedar, like unto the old father trees of Bsharri and Barouk, would spring forth to shade his noble brow. In the elven tongue he is Lothlornienel, which means “Laughter in the High Places”, and the dwarves call him earthfriend, as well as “Khazad ak Manu”, which means “He who does not wear patriotic lapel pins.” His is the drill that shall pierce the heavens: believe in him believing in you!

    I can’t rember where I found this – maybe a sig quote somewhere. It seems appropriate.

  12. simoj says:

    Oh god, if Lovecraft counts as prophecy, there is absolutely no way this will end well.

  13. Ninmesara says:

    So, besides Obama, “what kind of person would name their firstborn after the abstract concept of evil”?

    • zaratustra says:

      Hard to say. But Lyndon Johnson’s second-born was named Luci.

    • Sniffnoy says:

      Could she have changed her last name for some reason? A marriage perhaps? But the timeline doesn’t seem to work, you’d think that would have been mentioned, and Ngo’s description doesn’t match Obama…

  14. Aegeus says:

    People forgot that elections were a thing after just eight years of Cheney?

  15. BMountains says:

    Malia is the Hawaiian equivalent of Mary and there is a Jewish tradition of naming children after deceased relatives…

  16. Good Burning Plastic says:

    He 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.

    Whose daughter is Malia Ngo?

    • Daniel says:

      Malia Ngo is almost certainly Lilith, noted devourer of babies and bride of Satan; now that Malia Obama might be the daughter of Satan, it seems plausible that it’s the same person. (Bride of Satan, daughter of Satan, whatever. For it is written, “I want to defy the logic of all sex laws.”)

  17. tcheasdfjkl says:

    I’ve been assuming the 2016 election is not a thing in this story since it seems extremely unrealistic for people not to be talking about Trump all the time in 2017. Including Tim Kaine here breaks that somewhat :/

  18. Daniel says:

    So, I’ve been thinking maybe Barack Obama is a demon.

    previously, on LiveJournal

    Of course, that stranger inevitably turns out to be a demon, with the power to charm minds. As soon as he’s become the king’s right hand man, he destroys the single talisman that maintains the magical protection over the land…. (in the case of the US, this is a copy of the Constitution written in George Washington’s blood that keeps Aaron Burr locked in his extradimensional prison)

  19. Allen K says:

    Note, as well, that “barack” means “blessing” in Swahili. Backwards it is hiding an “Arab.”

    “Obama” is “amabo” backwards — Latin for “I will love.”

    His full name — Barack Hussein Obama — anagrams to “SHAMANIC AURAS EBB, OK?”

    The kabbalistic implications of this are obvious.

    • Not-Telling says:

      Barack backwards is kcarab, or carab – the tree on which Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his son lived while they were trapped in a cave writing the Zohar. The kabbalistic implications are obvious.

  20. Free Seers says:

    Love the anagram. Amazing, really. The whole discussion and community and coming here. Moving forward, it’s hard to say what will happen. But all the Blake and Milton references are fantastic! And it’s current – as far as recent comments. This is an active site.

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