Obama’s Fly Move
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: June 20, 2009
In Maureen Dowd's last column she packed it full of her trademarked alliterative alertness but it was missing her equally famous references to old movies. To compensate, she has used her latest missive on a trivial Obama related news item to pack in as many cinematic Movies With Maureen® moments as possible.
While being interviewed, Obama, annoyed with a fly, swatted at it and killed it. Maureen finds transcendental meaning in it.
And there are others who see a mystical, metaphorical dimension to the way the president nonchalantly lasered in on the meddlesome insect after it ignored his admonition, “Hey, get outta here.” Without even uncrossing his legs or lunging about, the Chill One caught it, crushed it and kicked it aside and then said to Harwood, “Now, where were we?” before returning to his point about regulatory reform.Jon Stewart, her late night faux news crush, gave her an opening with his reference to the Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick.
“It’s like he’s got one of those Fly Terminator targeting systems in his eyes,” marveled Jon Stewart.So that allows her to trump it with a call-out to a insect themed comic book movie franchise.
Maybe the president who collected Spider-Man comics as a kid couldn’t resist the age-old face-off with a fly.Echoing her nickname from the campaign that evokes the Eddie Murphy stinker, she invokes a certain mysticism.
The moment had echoes of parables in which the ordinary one becomes the golden one.But the most famous filmed fly swatter is the zen master Mr. Miyagi.
In “The Karate Kid,” a teenager whose father has died learns lessons about the body and spirit from his surrogate father and karate teacher, Mr. Miyagi. His lessons are about not going to the dark side, the importance of discipline, and catching flies. “Man who catch fly with chopstick,” Mr. Miyagi says, “accomplish anything.”This bit was so obvious even Jimmy Fallon found a way to use it.
But for our Maureen, it's not enough to mention one famous fly-swatting scene. While obviously inspired by the Disney Mickey Mouse version, she cleverly disguises it by referencing the original Brothers Grimm version.
In the Grimms’ fairy tale, “The Brave Little Tailor,” a tailor brandishing a rag kills seven flies swarming around his jam-smeared bread. The little man admires his own bravery so much — “For joy his heart wagged like a lamb’s tail” — that he wants the whole world to know of it. So he stitches up a belt for himself embroidered with the legend “Seven at one blow!” and saunters out.We even get a little Clint Eastwood bravado out of the Flyswatter In Chief.
Then [Obama] solicited more snaps for what Harwood called his “ ‘Make my day’ moment” from his press secretary off camera: “Whaddya think, Gibbs?” After the interview was over, he continued his superfly moves by cleaning up the carcass with a napkin.But wait! There's more! Having already namechecked Jon Stewart, she gets to also mention her occasional guest writer Stephen Colbert.
The “shocking murder in the White House,” as Stephen Colbert dubbed it, was a small moment. “All they want is to be loved and to feed on our waste,” Jeff “The Fly” Goldblum said in a dry defense of the exoskeletal creatures on the Colbert Report.Dowd tries to tie it all up with some mumbo jumbo about acheiving agendas, but it's clear she's proud to make as many movie allusions as possible. Perhaps even seven in one blow.