Editor’s note: This article was first published on NSFWCORP.
Today’s Internet viral sensation: a parody video entitled “Wake The Fuck Up”, in which Samuel L Jackson delivers a version of the popular children’s book “Go The Fuck To Sleep”. The message: that apathetic Obama supporters should get up off the couch and vote, goddamit.
The video has high production values, funded by the Jewish Council for Education and Research, which is also behind those Sarah Silverman clips that everyone loves. But, as NSFWCORP’s James Kotecki writes today, the poem itself is a little clunky, which is odd given that it was written by Adam Mansbach who penned the original GTFTS.
I have to assume James is right about the rhyming. Despite being almost exactly the target audience (except that, as a British citizen, I can’t actually vote here) I made it precisely 1:04 through the video before slamming my laptop shut. Here’s the stanza that did it. The stanza, incidentally, that the video’s creators choose to pull out on the front page of their site…
“Sorry my friends but there’s no time to snore
An out-of-touch millionaire has just declared war
On schools, the environment, unions, fair pay
We’re all on our own if Romney has his way”
Let’s put aside the fact that, if recent events in Chicago are any guide, describing Obama as the candidate of schools, unions, fair pay or any combination of the above is something of a stretch. And let’s sidestep the fact that the word “environment” doesn’t even appear on the Obama campaign website’s issue list.
Let’s instead focus on the part that made me almost shatter my MacBook screen: the line about an “out-of-touch millionaire” who has just declared war.
One of the reasons I chose to move to America from the old country is a thing called the American dream. It’s little more than a comforting mirage, of course: that any old hick from any old town might one day become President. But it also highlights a fundamental difference between Britain and the US.
In Britain, even today, we have a rigid class system: no matter how well you do in life, you’re stuck in the class of your birth. A prince can go broke and he’ll always be a prince; a market trader can work hard his whole life, buy a big house and a car and … well … fuck that guy. Let’s run a key down the side of his BMW – who the fuck does he think he is?
But not in America. In America, at least the America I saw on TV, there was no greater achievement than to have moved from poverty to grotesque levels of wealth. “Look at me!” screamed the infomercials: “I used to live on a shit-heap and now I earn over a million dollars a second! Let me teach you how!” The kids in “Friends” – with nary a full-time job between them – lived in a million dollar apparent in Manhattan, reflecting the aspirations of their audience. “MTV Cribs” celebrated kids who had sung and danced their way into thoroughly revolting displays of consumerism. And so what? They weren’t harming anyone. Good for them. Superheroes like Batman, Iron Man, that guy in the X-Men with the big castle reinforced the message: being wealthy – even if you were born that way – doesn’t make you inherently bad. It just means you have more money with which to do good.
Britian’s most popular superhero of all time? Robin Hood.
Since the banking collapse, though, something weird has happened to the America dream. Thanks to the actions of a few dickhead bankers (the ultimate tautology) anyone making more than five figures is viewed with a mixture of suspicion and – yeah, let’s say it – resentment. The “Occupy” notion of the 99% vs the 1% makes the message even more explicit: If you earn more than $400k, you are the enemy. Bill Gates who has so far donated $28 billion to charity: the enemy. Warren Buffet who has pledged half of his fortune to good causes: the enemy. Mark Zuckerberg, another signatory to the “Buffet Pledge”: the enemy. Andrew Carnegie: the enemy. Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, Professor Xavier: the enemy.
And so of course Mitt Romney is the enemy. The guy is loaded – and worse still, he only gave $4 million last year to charity: a paltry 29% of his income.
But you know who else is loaded? Barack Obama. Motherfucker has a personal net worth of $11.8 million dollars. And you know who is absolutely fucking minted? Samuel L Jackson: $150m and counting. Behold our champions against the “rich, out of touch” Mitt Romney: a hectomillionaire who lives in Hollywood and a decamillionaire who lives in the goddam Whitehouse.
Liberals cry foul when the likes of Gretchen Carlson pretend to be dumb as dirt in order to pander to Fox News audiences, but when our own side displays the exact same hypocrisy – attacking Romney for his wealth before heading back to Beverly Hills and a solid platinum hot tub filled with thousand dollar bills – we forward the clip to a thousand of our friends, lol’ing and +1′ing all the way. We saw this same hypocrisy on the other side back when George W Bush was running for president. Ivy league republicans lining up to denounce Al Gore or John Kerry for being too smart; for reading too many books – like a goddamn Frenchman or something. But didn’t Bush Jr. go to Yale? Shhhhhh … go the fuck to sleep.
Here’s the horrible truth, America. Both candidates in this election are richer than you’ll ever be. Even poor old Ron Paul has more money than most people on the planet will earn in a lifetime: over $5m, according to CNN. And it gets worse: most of the people you see on TV supporting Obama are even wealthier. Just because Samuel Jackson says “motherfucker” a lot, doesn’t mean he’s any more like you than is Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Having money, like possessing a fully-stocked brain, didn’t used to be an inherently evil thing in America. What mattered was what you did with those assets. And, despite all the 99% class warfare bullshit, one still has to believe that most American voters don’t give a flying damn how many books or houses a presidential candidate owns if that same candidate can actually fix unemployment, deliver affordable healthcare and maybe bring a few more troops home. Like Obama promised to do that one time, long before we all fell asleep.
Then again, if one believes in that America, one would also have to believe in an America where liberals are smart enough to recognise when they’re being patronized by a bunch of out-of-touch hypocrites who can’t deliver a decent rhyme.
26,000 “likes” and counting. Wake the fuck up, indeed.