free speech: hadley freeman gives barack obama a new kind of approval rating
Less than a week to go and an intriguing prospect awaits us all. Yes, a real change may be on the horizon. Forget about an improved economy, never mind a foreign policy that actually works—a shift of more seismic proportions is approaching fast: a political leader who is genuinely hot. It’s a simple statement of objective fact: Barack Obama is hot. And I don’t mean “hot” in the “relatively speaking” way it is generally meant when referring to politicians, e.g., “Al Gore is hot”—mmm, maybe compared to Newt Gingrich. Or, my personal favorite, “Tony Blair is hot.” Listen up, magazine writers: Just because someone is under 60 and has a full(ish) head of hair, this does not make them desirable. I don’t care what anyone says—Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Gordon Brown, Hamid Karzai, and Nicolas Sarkozy are not hot and, yes, I will take that last one up with Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
But Obama, on the other hand, is hot. Oh my God, did you see him dancing on Ellen the other week? That man can move like Timberlake! He is so hot that even if he wasn’t famous you’d find him attractive. Actually, if he wasn’t famous you’d fancy him a lot more. And that’s where the problem lies, really. You can fancy your boss, you can fancy your friend’s dad, but there is something weird about fancying the man you pay taxes to, isn’t there? I mean, it’s kind of like having a crush on your high school principal—just one step too far. It’s not that it detracts from his gravitas; instead, it detracts from yours. You’re there watching CNN and Obama’s talking ever so eloquently about Afghanistan this and Syria that and you’re trying to follow it because you know it’s, like, really important, but all you can think is, “Oh God, I so would—no wonder Michelle always looks so smug.” OK, enough of hiding behind the second person pronoun: I so would.
And it’s weird, because purely on a physical level he might not strike you instantly as hot material. There is something of the school nerd to Obama, particularly when he stands next to the second hottest man on the campaign, his delightfully named assistant Reggie Love. And that is because the man is just so damn cool, which is not an attribute one generally expects or even desires in a politician. But in the case of Obama, coming in the wake of an administration that has been crippled by ineptitude, clumsiness, and an apparent lack of any intelligence or awareness of the modern world, a bit of cool ain’t looking too bad. It’s like we’re all growing up in high school again: We’ve had the bad boy jock, we’ve learned our lesson, and now we suddenly see how cool the heretofore unnoticed head of the math club is.
I’m worried about the world’s subconscious. Everyone’s had sex dreams about a famous person, and most people, if they’re honest, have had a sex dream about a politician. Honestly, it’s not that we’re attracted to Gordon Brown, it’s just that we see him all the time on TV. Yes. Honestly. Um, anyway. The point is, imagine how many people are dreaming about Obama every night. Factor in his ubiquity, factor in his probable upcoming role as president, factor in his aforementioned hotness, and I would say it’s pretty much everyone in the whole damn world. Suddenly, on a nightly basis, the whole world is mentally possessed by Barack Obama. Well, I will say this: At least with him we get sweet dreams; with John McCain or Sarah Palin (not hot, incidentally, just female, and therefore different) we’d have full-on nightmares.