Comedian, practical solutionist
Thu Apr 30 2009
What's significant about the President's first 100 days?
Well, you know, I was noticing that the cable news networks have been all over Obama's first 100 days. Like I was watching CNN the other day, and they've actually branded it. It says, "Obama's First 100 Days: Brought to you by Taco Bell." I didn't realize that there were naming rights to be given away for your first 100 days. If FDR had only known. Maybe the whole Bay of Pigs invasion would've been fine if we had said, brought to you by Xbox 360.
What I loved about it was that they're basically turning his first 100 days into a TV series. One that only lasts 100 days. I thought that if they're going to be that glib and dumb about it, I can certainly live up to that quality. I'm comfortable with my role as a commentator, if that's all that's being required.
Glibness is the only currency that matters anymore.
Exactly. My philosophy in doing my website and stuff is that the most important thing is to be first rather than right. It's the opposite of what they teach you about journalism. Just strike first. We're giving no time for reflection.
I like it. Let it rip.
I've actually surrounded myself with people who are better at analyzing current events, like Rick Hertzberger and Jonathan Alter, who has actually written a best-selling book about FDR's first 100 days called The Defining Moment. It's sort of The First 100 Days for Dummies. He's the expert. I had just been thinking about how dumb this whole phenomenon is, this 100 days, because I was thinking about every job that I've ever had, and I haven't had many, but what my goals were for my first 100 days. They'd probably be like how to work the microwave. Try to break down the firewall for Internet-porn-downloading purposes, and pretty much mission accomplished.
Obama has kind of gone the other way.
Yeah, his is more, convert economy to socialism. Allow people to travel to Cuba. Remove troops from Iraq. Put troops in Afghanistan. He's making moves.
Who would've guessed that Obama's first 100 days would involve pirate attacks?
It almost seems like it's a TV show during sweeps. You know, the ratings aren't so good, so we can do an episode about pirates. No, let's have him get a new dog! They're really kind of throwing everything out there. And now the pirates have declared war on us. What I don't understand is that the natural way to defeat pirates is with a really awesome ghost ship. In every example I've known, pirates seems really fearless until they see ghost pirates coming at them.... During the Cold War, we had to worry about other superpowers aiming nuclear weapons at us, and now it has come down to somebody demanding doubloons.
That's only because the dollar isn't worth jack.
Exactly. They want to have doubloons wired to them. It just feels a little bit like we've been degraded somehow.
I saw a funny headline on your website that read, “Wall Street salary caps driving away assholes.” It's funny because it's true.
That's gotten a lot of play. Nothing like hitting an easy target, to have something go viral.
You're harnessing populist anger.
I am. They have never seen a more populist guy at the Y. Now that we're living in this environment where so few people are actually going into the office, there are a lot of people onto the Internet and they're looking for someone to put out fake, populist news stories, to channel all of this rage. That's how I see my role in all of this.
It's an important one.
I like that the implicit threat is that these people will not go into banking, and will be forced to do something less useful, like doctoring or teaching.
Well, what I want to know is, where are all these bright people that we're so terrified of losing that almost brought us to the brink of the apocalypse. Can we get them to work for some other organization that we want to bring down, like al Qaeda. Get them to talk to human resources at al Qaeda. Or maybe, as I suggested, get them to work with the pirates. The first thing they would probably do is overleverage the pirates. Like they'd make them buy a much, much too expensive raft or something. And the pirates would just immediately be hemorrhaging money.
Yes, doubloons. I don't know about you, but I don't think a New York where we have fewer of the people who populated Wall Street in our midst would be a bad New York. I actually got a very angry email from somebody who said these so-called assholes are New York's tax base. I love that as an argument lacking any moral center whatsoever. If our economy was totally based on crystal meth, for example, these people would be saying, "Well yeah, good luck getting rid of the meth labs. You'll be living in Detroit then."
We need to send them to help the pirates' tax base.
Maybe that's the future. I think that, clearly, we want to put the Somali pirates out of business, but we just have to get them hooked up with some guys who have just been kicked out of AIG.
Recycling. Don't get rid of them. Reuse them.
And just so they could impart their culture to the pirates, like after an unsuccessful raid where they lose two ships, and they're all wiped out, the surviving ones would demand enormous bonuses. In doubloons. We've just got to fuck with their business model.—Interviewed by Drew Toal
Borowitz appears with Hendrick Hertzberg, Jonathan Alter and Judy Gold Thu 30 at the 92nd Street Y for "The Borowitz Report: Obama's First 100 Days."