Like most rational people, I’ve spent the past 10 years hiding in a bunker drawing cartoons of Osama bin Laden getting raped by hell-pigs.
So when I heard about his death, I was elated and immediately switched from radio to televised news, predicting someone would mistake “Osama” for “Obama,” and within five minutes, Geraldo Rivera told the Fox News audience, “Obama is dead.” He quickly corrected himself and, following President Obama’s address, ended up hanging out with a bunch of shrieking college kids who had gathered outside the White House and were shouting, “Whoo! He’s dead! USA! USA!”
Geraldo promptly managed, amid the monumental news, to mention his mustache—twice. He’s always the guy to keep things in perspective, most notably when he declared: “This is bigger than the moon landing.”
Really? Traveling to and landing on a celestial body orbiting 240,000 miles from Earth in a rickety rocket isn’t as big of a deal as shooting one of the world’s most recognizable villains in the head with an old-fashioned pistol?
By the way, the crowds in Washington, D.C., and New York City assembled very fast, complete with prepared songs and patriotic props. Were these people just waiting around for a decade holding flags, like hillbillies with hurricane-preparedness kits? (“He’s dead, Martha. Let’s go!”) One of the chosen songs was Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye. Yes, they sang the song usually reserved for moments when Dwight Howard fouls out of a game.
Switching from Fox to MSNBC to CNN, it quickly became apparent that we still haven’t agreed on how to spell the guy’s name—“Usama,” “Osama,” whatever. The same thing happened recently with Moammar Gadhafi. For 30 years, we agreed that it was “Qaddafi.” Then it became “Kadafi” or sometimes “el-Qaddafi.” It’s like Elvis Presley announcing in 1976, “By the way, my name is actually Elvish.” (“All right, well, you probably should have gotten that straightened out sometime during the Eisenhower administration, Elvis.”)
While Obama’s momentous speech signaled one of those rare moments when people of all political persuasions can agree, he still did something annoying.
“Osama bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims,” Obama said.
Well, it kind of seems like everything bin Laden said or did was motivated by Allah. He was a Muslim leader, just not a good one. Hell, even pedophile priests allow their victims to live, and they certainly don’t make empty promises about additional sex with angelic virgins in the afterlife.
Everybody thought Bin Laden was living in Bigfoot’s cave covered by a camouflage sleeping bag. Meanwhile, he was apparently luxuriating on a golf-course resort in a very obvious mansion. Didn’t somebody in Pakistan ask, “Wow, who lives there?”
In fairness, though, it was Rivera who called it a mansion. While it’s big and conspicuous, it looks less like an opulent palace than a condemned YMCA.
But here’s the real news. Bin Laden was buried at sea a few hours after Obama announced his death to the world. That ought to keep the Sept. 11-conspiracy folks at bay. (“Do you guys think anyone will be interested in this body?” “Nah, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to confirm the identity of the world’s most wanted man—just toss the rotten fuckin’ corpse overboard.”)
So what began as a moment of unity, when we can all just come together and be glad that someone is dead, has been reduced to something with the credibility of a Joran van der Sloot story.
Speaking of tabloid news, it’s easy to pick on Rivera’s histrionic coverage, and it’s even easier to change the channel. But it’s just so unpleasant to look at Chris Matthews’ head on widescreen, and as for CNN—they hire too many correspondents with annoying British accents, none of whom have powerful mustaches.