Bing, Bong, the Bush is Gone / 1-20-09: END OF AN ERROR.

Boing Boing pal and frequent Boing Boing Video collaborator Eddie Codel is in Washington DC today, and has been videoblogging from the inauguration. Above: He shot this amazing, simple little video of the "helicopter of happiness" carrying George W. Bush and fellow war criminals out of DC, and back to the hell that belched them forth.

As I watched Eddie's chopper clip just now, I couldn't help but think of that scene in the Wizard of Oz where the wicked witch zooms off on her broomstick, then everything turns into dancing munchkins and everlasting uptempo musical numbers.* I poked around on YouTube and couldn't find the clip where the witch flies off to screaming violins, but I remember it looking a little like Eddie's video above. I did find the Oz clip that follows, which feels a little like America does tonight, with all the inaugural balls and "END OF AN ERROR"** keggers erupting throughout the land.

I suspect the next four years won't quite live up to the massive, collective, candy-colored orgasm of hope we experienced today. But progress, not perfection, is enough for me right now.

Incidentally, Wizard of Oz came out in 1939, in the waning years of our nation's first Great Depression. I don't think the present one's anywhere near over for us. But I hope its ending is as happy as this.

* I am not insinuating that Obama is Dorothy, or a friend of Dorothy.
** HT: Scott Shulman


☛ BB Video: Shepard Fairey and the Obama Poster, on Inauguration Day
☛ BB Video: Sean Bonner reports from Obama Inauguration in DC

Update: Boing Boing commenter THEQUICKBROWNFOX points out that for them, Obama's inauguration ceremony hearkened back to the inauguration speech of Nelson Mandela in 1994. Mandela was, of course, South Africa's first black president, and his ascendance marked the end of apartheid. Link to video of that speech, over at (I couldn't find anything embeddable that included his speech in entirety).


  1. Oh my, Xeni, shouldn’t this, “I suspect the next four years won’t quite live up to the massive, collective, candy-colored orgasm of hope we experienced today.”, look more like this:

    sspct th nxt fr yrs wn’t qt lv p t th mssv, cllctv, cndy-clrd rgsm f hp w xprncd tdy. ????

  2. Wait. I thought this new guy was the Messiah. You mean he isn’t? What a disapointment. And on his first day in office, too…

  3. Watching the inauguration I was reminded of Nelson Mandela in 1994, assuming the presidency of R.S.A.

    No particular similarity, except the worldwide expression of joy and relief.

  4. The helicopter scene was the most moving for me. In many countries, Bush/Cheney would have held power for decades.

    Contempt radiated from that helicopter as it lifted off. With frightful inevitability, the Constitution swept away those who would harm the Republic.

  5. The depression ended in 1939 – not so fast:

    Encarta says:

    Great Depression in the United States, worst and longest economic collapse in the history of the modern industrial world, lasting from the end of 1929 until the early 1940s.

    It concludes with:

    Although economic conditions improved by the late 1930s, unemployment in 1939 was still about 15 percent. However, with the outbreak of World War II in Europe in September 1939, the U.S. government began expanding the national defense system, spending large amounts of money to produce ships, aircraft, weapons, and other war material. This stimulated industrial growth, and unemployment declined rapidly. After the United States entered the war in December 1941, all sectors of the economy were mobilized to support the war effort. Industry greatly expanded, and unemployment was replaced by a shortage of workers.

    The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics says:

    The American economy had yet to fully recover from the Great Depression when the United States was drawn into World War II in December 1941.

    But hey, if it get Xeni a Glinda costume, I’ll happily amend my post ;^)

  6. Has any president (besides Nixon, maybe) left DC with as much nose-thumbing fanfare? I would guess not. (And count my nose and thumb among as part of the departure committee.)

    I actually feel a “little” sorry for W. His skills were outmatched by the job, and he knows he left town without many fans. Cheney, on the other hand, I couldn’t care less about. In fact, every time I think of him ending his vice presidential career stuck in a wheelchair, I feel some sense of justice.

  7. Obama may not be Dorothy or a Friend of Dorothy, but I sense that he is a Friend of Friends of Dorothy, much more than Formerly.

  8. @ eap – there was no reason for them to stay, the treasury is empty and we’re 10 trillion in debt. For the moment it’s a happy day. Tomorrow we survey the wreckage.

  9. @#11 Travelina: Ok, I’ll bite: How many Africans are dead because of his insistence on ‘Abstinence Only’ prevention programs? How many are dead for his refusal to provide aid to organisations that also give family planning advice?

  10. The coolest part about that helicopter video is if you watch it while listening to Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them”, it totally matches up.

    1. would fusking up the oath of office count as an error?

      Diana Spencer bungled her vows and that all worked out just fine.

  11. @ #18

    I HAD to post this Geldof/Bush exchange…

    I gave the President my book. He raised an eyebrow. “Who wrote this for ya, Geldof?” he said without looking up from the cover. Very dry. “Who will you get to read it for you, Mr. President?” I replied. No response.

    Outsmarted and outclassed once again.

  12. My favorite part of watching the inauguration was seeing Barry, Michelle, Joe, & Jill standing on those steps waving goodbye to the past as it flew away. Joe even gave a charitable ‘salute’.
    #2 commenter and GWB43 give mountain biking a bad name.

  13. if it weren’t for the crew, I really would have liked to have seen an RPG kiss them goodbye.

    Harming Bush only would have made him a martyr. I would have been satisfied to see the secret service just walk away and leave him to hail a taxi out of town on his own.

  14. Obama understands that he can’t do anything alone. I just wish that the people will become a factor in the reconstruction, rather than passively watch him fight and loose. The US has accumulated a lot of bad Karma during the last 8 years.

  15. @#12- Well he sure as hell wasn’t going to bomb and torture them…they don’t have any oil or remind him of Bin Laden. Also, I hear that Josef Stalin was a pretty good tipper.

  16. if it weren’t for the crew, I really would have liked to have seen an RPG kiss them goodbye.

    Which one? An online thing like WoW or single player like Oblivion?

    Personally, I’d vote for Star Wars Galaxies. Awful. Just awful.

  17. #6, I hope that’s the only similarity. Have you noticed the difference in life expectancy in .za from 1994 to now? Not to mention poverty, crime, etc. I don’t think we can stand that much joy.

  18. @#24 – it is sad to get out-ballbusted by the guy whose best song is “I Don’t Like Mondays”, I agree, but class was certainly lacking today in the crowds reaction to the new ex-Prez.

    you whippersnappers enjoy this little unspontanaeous & self-congratulatory little Woodstock you so wanted to recreate.

    now, Barry, here are the car keys, don’t mess up the paint job. be careful & don’t worry – we’ll be here to fix everything up again

  19. @ #33 posted by jjj

    With all due respect, do you really think Obama will do worse than what we’ve experienced over the last few years? When you say “we’ll be here to fix everything up again,” you make it sound like things aren’t broken now. I can think of 69,456,897 people that would probably disagree with you. (And 57,190,899 that are likely to agree with you.)

    There is no paint job to mess up.

  20. Hurray! Bush & Co. are going back to their mansions, yachts and oil wells! The poor little guy is ready for a break after the last 8 years. Ahh, I can only imagine the party that’ll be held when George Jr. finally returns home – tomorrow on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous!

  21. @20:
    “would fusking up the oath of office count as an error? if so, an inauspicious beginning… :p”

    He didn’t ‘fusk’ it up. Listen to it again, I’ll put a youtube link at the end of my post. Justice Roberts forgot to say faithfully, then added it to the end. Obama gave him a chance to correct himself. Of course, then Obama went on to repeat it the way Roberts originally stated it…but he wasn’t the one that messed up.

  22. (ALL): Sing out the wiz has fled.
    He was no Wiz, a phony Wiz.
    All sing: the wicked Wiz has fled.
    Now let the word be spread,
    we’re finished with this sorry biz,
    sing out the wicked Wiz has fled.

    He’s gone where bad wizards go,
    to be a C.E.O.
    Let the world note that the vote’s
    the way to kick them out.

    Go spread the word the wicked Wiz has fled.

  23. I seriously expected a million throats to rise up in a spontaneous “na na na, na na na, hey hey hey…” as the heli burned up however many thousands of dollars in ceremonial petrol over their heads. Was disappointed.

    Oh well. Peaceful transfer of power, gloating not appropriate, war criminals have feelings too, blah blah blah.

    Also: I KNEW it’d be a good speech!

  24. #44 posted by Takuan

    A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
    Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu
    Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

  25. Whadda speach. I almost pity Dubya, I mean… his wife is going to get a book deal on her memoirs way before he is. He is not so insulated as to be unaware of how much he is depised, leaving office with an approval rating matching Stalins, ohsnap. And now, with cautious optimism, we march on to a new era, please for the love of god, I hope anti-intellectualism is dead and buried.

  26. Then Nelson went on to profess HIV/AIDs denialism until it was far too late.

    I don’t think Obama is going to be like that.

  27. Obama didn’t flub the oath, Roberts tried to be a hotshot and recite it from memory (or so the story goes). Regardless, it was the CJ who made the mistake.

  28. From Obama’s inauguration speech:
    “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”

    At this point, Obama winked, which was the signal for all the jumbotron camera operators swivel toward W, and Bush simply shrugged.

  29. I find it extremely disturbing that comments about RPGs and hanging are just accepted here. Would there be such a flippant attitude toward those sentiments if someone were to express the same about the man who was sworn in yesterday?

    There really isn’t a place for that sort of thing, directed at anybody.

    “On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

    “We remain a young nation, but in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.”

    – The President of the United States

  30. One of my husbands co-workers wondered allowed while they were watching “I wonder what Bush is thinking about right now?”
    My husband answered in a Homer Simpson-esque voice:

    Chair Cold. Suit tight. Nice Ta-Tas on that one.

  31. I find it extremely disturbing that comments about RPGs and hanging are just accepted here. Would there be such a flippant attitude toward those sentiments if someone were to express the same about the man who was sworn in yesterday?

    Probably not, but we like the new guy. No, we shouldn’t be wishing RPGs on W. That said, Bush left with the most “don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out” sentiment since Nixon. Bush managed to alienate practically every single sentient human in the world. Normally in the process of alienating people who manage to win a enemy of an enemy as your friend. Bush failed to do even that.

    Even a right wing conservative have to step back and look over the Bush era with a certain amount of horror at the gross terrible violation of their principles. If you thought that the days of Newt Gingrich’s congress or Regan were awesome, you have to look back at the last 8 years and weep.

    Even if Obama turns out to be nothing more than a mildly competent administrator, I’ll call it a win. I’ll just be happy to be able to travel internationally without being embarrassed at what a dolt we had elected. I was going to burn my passport of Palin become the VP.

    As one of my Republican coworkers said, “Obama might not be Regan, but at least he isn’t Bush.”

  32. whether Americans can arrive at a consensus to try and hang the war criminal mass murderers Bush and Cheney or not, there is the 95% of the rest of humanity that has been impacted and also have rights to try their assailants. Take them to the Hague.

  33. #55 Beedie,

    Advocating punishment for war crimes is not a flippant attitude. The Nuremburg trials were soberly undertaken without a note of frivolity.

    I wish you luck weathering the storms of your extreme disturbance. Now you know how many of us have felt for the past six years.

  34. Someone a few posts up mentioned “right wing conservative.” I consider myself a conservative, but how would I know if I am a right wing conservative? Can one be right wing and not be conservative? Can you be a left wing conservative? How about a right wing liberal? And how do independents add in to all of this?

  35. @Tom Hale: I think the phrase “right wing conservative” is one way to distinguish one’s political philosophy from people who are only conservative on certain issues.

    For example, one could be socially liberal and financially conservative (“I think gay athiest drug orgies are fine as long as my tax dollars aren’t paying for them”).

  36. or one could be a free individual who stays informed and active and doesn’t pledge blind allegiance to any leader or party and always keeps in mind that any politician is less than the thickness of an onion skin removed from your own basic desires and motivations, specific abilities not withstanding.

  37. Takuan, “liberal” and “conservative” (generic labels as they may be) aren’t party affiliations. There’s a big difference between blind allegiance and carrying an internally consistent philosophical outlook.

  38. liberal and conservative are so polluted they should be abandoned as terms. Almost always, when you hear them on someone’s lips, it means the thinking is already over.

  39. As long as there are issues to be discussed there will be a need for SOME kind of terminology to use as shorthand for political philosophies. You are welcome to try your hand at coming up with new ones.

  40. I am sickened and appalled by the modern deification of Ronald Reagan (and, increasingly, of Joe McCarthy).

    The man sold guns and bombs to America’s enemies. He was a traitor, in the strictest constitutional sense of the word. He effectively created Usama bin Laddin. He betrayed every principle of conservatism, not least by building a huge bloated federal government with unprecedented powers of privacy invasion.

    Bush was less competent than Reagan, it’s true. (Reagan said Bush was a worthless drunk, incidentally.) They didn’t call Ron “The teflon president” for nothing! But W. never did anything that wasn’t simply an extension of Reaganism – spend, cut taxes, spend, spend, spend, bomb anyone without any chance of mounting an effective air defense, and bankrupt the country by bankrolling the most rapacious of the hereditary wealthy families.

    Reagan was just W. with more luck and better acting skills. In the future Washington and Jefferson envisioned, he would have been hung by the neck for his complicity in the arms for hostages deal. Reagan supplied the bullets to terrorists who murdered nuns and aid workers in South America – look it up!

    For the record, I’ve been a registered Republican all my life. I’m in favor of limited government, personal freedom, gun rights, fiscal responsibility, capitalism, and most of all for personal and national honor. That makes me a true conservative, and that’s why I hate Reagan and his brain-damaged clone George W. Bush. I voted for Reagan the first time; but then I learned, because you can only judge a politician by what he does, not what he says.

    The so-called “republicans” that worship Reagan are the people who brought you Bush. They are evil and certainly not conservative. Unless you consider big-government fascists conservative, which I don’t.

  41. Thx Brainspore,

    I’ll list my politically related beliefs and maybe you can tell me what kind of conservative I am.
    1. Anti Abortion – except in cases where the mother’s life is put in danger. I don’t base this on my religious beliefs, I just think that once a human fetus has a heart beat it should be considered a person – and should be protected by the same laws that protect everyone else.

    2. I believe US citizens should have the right to bear arms – I think all existing gun laws are fine and should be enforced. I don’t believe people should be able to purchase assault weapons
    without an extensive background check and an expensive license that has to be renewed annually.

    3. I consider myself a Christian, but think that a lot of the Bible was written in a way to reach the simple minds of men back in those days. I don’t think God cares what I do as long as I try to be a good person. I don’t push my religious beliefs onto others. And if one of the guys at work finds a good pic of a nude woman on the web, I’ll still go look and follow links to more pics of said naked babe.

    I believe the earth is around 4.5 billion years old and I believe in evolution within a species.

    4. I think illegal immigrants that have made a good live for themselves here and are productive citizens should be allowed to stay and pay taxes and social security like we do. The ones that aren’t should be made to go back where they came from.

    5. I voted for McCain/Palin – but I thought they were horrible choices, I have no idea how they made it as far as they did. (don’t tell anyone – I’m glad President Obama won).

    6. I think that healthy people that currently live on welfare should be given an incentive to go find a job. Starting by raising the minimum wage high enough that a new worker can actually pay for a home, food and whatever else he needs for his family to live more comfortably than one living totally at the tax payer’s expense. Why go work a job that pays you less than what you can make sitting around the house?

    7. As far as homosexuality is concerned, more power to em. Especially the hot babe lesbians. Gotta love em!

    I’m sure I left some stuff out, but I’m not really into politics very much.

    So, am I right wing, left wing, middle wing, or what?


  42. Tom Hale: hell, I dunno. I’m not even the one who called you a “conservative” in the first place. But I think it’s safe to say most people wouldn’t dump you into the “right wing conservative” box.

    Personally I find it more useful to use the “liberal” and “conservative” labels on an issue-by-issue basis, if at all.

  43. ((Adapted from an old Russian joke about the KGB burning down.))


    “White House switchboard, how can I direct your call?”

    “I’d like to speak to President Bush.”

    “Sorry, Mr. Bush is no longer the president.”

    “Ah, thank you.”


    “White House switchboard, how can I direct your call?”

    “President Bush please.”

    “I’m sorry, Mr. Bush is no longer the president.”

    “I see, thank you.”


    “White House switchboard, how can I direct your call?”

    “I’d like a moment with President Bush.”

    “I’m sorry but . . . HEY! I recognize your voice. George Bush is NO LONGER THE PRESIDENT. Why do you keep calling?”

    “Please . . . just say it one more time. I can’t hear that enough.”

  44. “As long as there are issues to be discussed there will be a need for SOME kind of terminology to use as shorthand for political philosophies.”

    why? Why use shorthand? State your thesis and defend it.

  45. why? Why use shorthand? State your thesis and defend it.

    Ideally that’s what people do. And then they come up with a word that sums up that thesis so they don’t have to spend 45 minutes explaining which side of an issue they’re on every time someone asks.

    It’s an inevitable part of human nature that we try to put things into categories and to create abbreviations in order to communicate ideas more efficiently. In fact all language is made up of symbols that represent more complex ideas.

    The important thing isn’t that we don’t have shorthand, it’s that we don’t depend on it in lieu of real discussion.

  46. Takuan,


    “…and always keeps in mind that any politician is less than the thickness of an onion skin removed from your own basic desires and motivations, specific abilities not withstanding.”

  47. though Phil Hartman on SNL showed another side of Reagan…

    Dear Brainspore: as Noam said; reality don’t do sound bites (or similar). Shorthand only works when the parties agree on what the shorthand means. What passes for political philosophy shorthand in the USA today is just tribal epithets. So abandon it and go back to basics. It takes longer but better a single minor point be actually discussed by two engaged minds than people imagine they are making progress without understanding the words they use.
    I’m all for talk first. As some drunken old limey bastard said: “Better jaw, jaw, jaw than war, war, war.”

Comments are closed.