The hottest, most viral video scooting around the Net right now is something on You Tube called Baracky: the Movie, and all I can say is that give that writer a contract, because it’s absolutely brilliant. Starring my guy, B. Hussein Obama Jr., as Rocky Balboa and Vampira as Apollo Creed, it’s dead-on in its summation of the Democratic race thus far. Or at least until Tuesday night.
It’s also, alas, way too close to home. Because, as we all remember — warning: spoiler alert! — Rocky lost. And now, after that ten-point blowout in Rocky’s home state, I think Barry’s gonna lose, too.
Not that this endless, protracted campaign, which makes the Russian defense of Stalingrad look like Saddam Hussein’s “elite Republican Guard” vs. the Marines outside Baghdad, shouldn’t be compared to a boxing movie. As Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd prove weekly, every single aspect of American politics can be expressed in terms of either a movie or a Broadway musical, and it’s a rare Sunday that I don’t put down the oped page of the New York Times without a showtune on my lips and a host of unrelated similes rattling around in my brain.
Still, there’s nothing wrong with genre pictures, as long as both you and the audience get the ending you want, but not the ending you expect. If you watched Count Orlok’s victory speech last night in Pennsylvania, you surely spotted the Rocky fan standing behind her with the boxing gloves on his hands and the smile on his face; that guy’s seen this picture a thousand times and knows exactly how it’s all going to turn out at the bitter, bitter end.
When this 15-round heavyweight bout started between the Wendigo and the Punahou Kid, I didn’t give my guy much of a chance. It was the boxer against the puncher and, as we all know, the boxer can be way ahead on points and still abruptly find himself flat on the canvas with little birdies circling his head as the ref counts him out. Given that Punahou guys are famously known to be a bunch of spoiled crybaby elitists who bowl like little girls, I didn’t expect he’d last a single round with Grendel’s Mom.
Whaddya know? He bloodied her nose in Iowa. It was like that moment in Rocky when Sly breaks one of Carl Weathers’s ribs with a bone-crunching left hook and all of a sudden the entire audience started screaming: “We’ve got a fight on our hands!”
And so we did. It, the Terror From Beyond Space, punched him out in New Hampshire, evening the score, and then the long slow Bataan death march began, Barry nimbly racking up points in the caucuses while Godzilla stomped him in the big states. Every time Barry seemed about to put her away, the Mummy rose again from the tomb, stalking him relentlessly, always moving forward . . . forward.
What a fight — old vs. young, black vs. white, male vs. whatever. Something for everybody and fun for the whole family! Great ratings, too — a ten on the Obamamometer. But he couldn’t do the one thing a challenger must do to wrest the title from the champ: he couldn’t knock her out. And we started to worry that maybe, just maybe, he had a glass jaw, too.
When Gentleman Junior reeled off a string of wins, it looked like the end was nigh for the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Stop the fight, we cried — throw in the towel. In true Democrat-party style, Barry’s Official Fan Club — Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and an Amen Chorus of unbiased newsmen and women everywhere — declared that the match was over. Because, in our party, once we get the electoral result we want, we stop counting (just ask the governor of Washington State). They were just like Talia Shire shouting at Stallone from the top of the stairs: “You can’t win!!”
Yo, Adrian — shut up and eat your waffles.
Because a funny thing happened on the way to the glue factory. That movie moment when the beleaguered champ realizes that the title isn’t about the fancy cars and the sharp clothes and the huge retinue of yes-men; that he has to get back to basics, train hard, live right and even fight dirty if he must. Rabbit punches, eye-gouging, kidney punches, low blows, hitting coming out of the clinches, even a little liniment on the gloves to get in the other guy’s eyes. All’s fair in love, war, and politics and besides, it’s only cheating if you get caught.
Oh my God, this isn’t Rocky — it’s Rocky III. And Barack Obama is Mr. T.
So now we see how this movie’s going to end. Sure, Howard Fineman — a worthy challenger to David Broder’s title as the pundit most incapable of a single original thought — and the others will tell you Barry’s still ahead on points. They’ll tell you that there’s no way our party will snatch Obama’s victory from him and hand it to the Golem, no way we’ll risk a Chicago ’68-style convention in Denver, this time with a race riot thrown in for extra value.
But I know better — hey, I write these things for a living. Ever since Barry began whaling on her, Michael Myers has been hunched up against the ropes, lying doggo, playing possum, biding her time, waiting for him to slip, stumble, and otherwise fall on his face. Pastor Wright — wham! Professor Ayers — blam! Gordon Getty’s cocktail party — thank you, Ma’am!
Barry’s cut now. He’s dazed and bleeding. Visions of Gibson and Stephanopoulos are dancing in his head. He’s no longer just fighting one opponent — he’s fighting Them!
I wish I could turn it off. I wish I didn’t have to see what happens next. Hannibal Lecter’s going to hit him hard, again and again. Break his nose. Stave in a couple of ribs. And then, with one last punch, she’s going to break his jaw.
And break our hearts.
– David Kahane is the nom de cyber of a bitter, unemployed writer in Hollywood who is most definitely not David Zucker. You can commiserate with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.