Bérubé is back!

Michael Bérubé:

So no, Obama doesn’t curse like a blogger.  But he has brought some serious snark to the campaign trail, for maybe the first time ever in the history of everything ever.  Seriously: just try to imagine Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, or (bless her heart) Hillary “that’s not change you can believe in, that’s change you can Xerox” Clinton trying to pull this off.  (OK, maybe Adlai Stevenson—now there was a funny guy.) Obama’s fighting back, all right, but in ways no Democratic candidate has even attempted before.  He’s not post-partisan, and he’s not Olbermanian either.  He merely treats McCain’s attacks with the contempt they deserve, but lightly; and while he performs stability, he also manages to perform seriousness and snarkiness all at once.  It’s not easy.  But he’s really, really good at it.

As is Rachel Maddow.  What we’re seeing in Maddow and Obama, I think, are public figures who combine high seriousness and all-purpose unflappability with flashes of scary-smartness and moments of dismissive snark.  This M-O m.o. is qualitatively different from the 80-to-100 percent snark content of the Stewart/ Colbert demeanor, and vastly more effective than John Kerry trying to tell a “joke” about being born in the West Wing.  And it seems, for now, to be exactly what the public sphere needs.

Oh, how I have missed his writing.  It’s so deliciously good.

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One Comment on “Bérubé is back!”


  1. Agreed. He’s so witty. 🙂


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