2.03.2005

Why I didn't watch the State of the Union Address

My dad called a little while ago, hoping to swap critiques of the State of the Union Address. He seemed surprised and disappointed when I told him I hadn't watched it live, and had no intention of watching any West Coast rebroadcast or excerpts.

The fact is, I no longer give a rat's ass about what George W. Bush says. I don't mean that I'm unconcerned about the consequences. It's just that I don't see any value at all in paying any attention to his words. We all know perfectly well what he's going to say, right down to the faux Texas drawl and studied mispronunciations. We can all picture, in our minds' eyes, the alternating sneers and deer-in-headlights poses. At this point, watching George W. Bush speak is like watching a Gilligan's Island rerun for the 15th time. It was stupid the first time, and it doesn't get any better with age.1

From a simple cost-benefit perspective (I was, after all, trained at the University of Chicago, where, despite my best efforts to inoculate myself, I couldn't avoid being exposed to the Epstein-Becker virus), the marginal utility of hearing George W. Bush mouth the same platitudes, lies and nonsense yet again doesn't come close to compensating for the opportunity cost of not devoting my time and attention to anything else at all--writing for P! or Red Harvest, grading student papers, working on my research, reading a fly fishing magazine, playing with Alfie, or just drinking a beer and scratching my buttocks (hey, everyone needs a hobby). Sure, if Bush defies expectation and actually takes responsibility for the disasters his administration has created at home and abroad, I'll be a little disappointed not to have watched him squirm as he said it. Just like I'll be a bit chagrined if the Rapture comes and I'm left behind. But I'm not about to spend time reading those Tim LaHaye novels.



1Reader Competition: Match the Bush administration figure to the Gilligan's Island character. Here' s my entry to get things started:

Gilligan=W
The Skipper=Karl Rove
Thurston Howell III=Dick Cheney
Lovey Howell=Lynn Cheney
MaryAnne=Laura Bush
Ginger=Condi Rice
The Professor=Donald Rumsfeld (he'd be the Evil Professor, like maybe after having a coconut fall on his head)