Friday, February 06, 2009


I know I should be addressing serious issues, but my eye fell on this New York Times review of You're Welcome, America, Will Ferrell's new one-man show about George W. Bush:

...Toward the end of this largely unsurprising, uh, celebration of one man's life and accomplishments, Mr. Bush, reincarnated by the comedian and movie star Will Ferrell, asks theatergoers to tell him their occupations, so he can give them the gift of his own pet names.

"Occupational therapist," called out one woman at the performance I attended. "Helen Keller," answered Mr. Ferrell as Mr. Bush, without pausing to think. "Bike messenger," said another person. "I'll call you Lance Armstrong," responded Mr. Ferrell....

I like Ferrell's take on Bush, but are these nicknames, er, stupid enough? I don't think they really capture the combination of disrespect and sheer infantilism we saw in Bush as he doled out nicknames. An occupational therapist? My guess is that Bush would call that woman "All Thumbs," or maybe "Squeezy." A bike messenger? I'm sure Bush would say "Pee-Wee," in reference to Mr. Herman and his famous bike.

How infantile was Bush the nicknamer? I'll repeat something I posted a long time ago, from Bill Minutaglio's George W. Bush biography, First Son. It's based on an interview Minutaglio did with Israel Hernandez, who's worked with Bush and Rove since the first gubernatorial campaign:

... Now Bush was cackling as the limousine sped downtown and the striking Houston skyline, an Oz on the Gulf Coast, began rising before them. Bush was trying to think of a nickname, something better than Israel. The new aide was worried, not saying the obvious: "Shouldn't you be thinking of your speech?" A satisfied sound to his voice, Bush announced it: "And your name is now ... Izzy!"

The bewildered aide asked, "Isn't that the Olympic mascot?"

Bush roared back: "No, no, no, your name is Izzy!"

As the Team Bush caravan pulled closer to the Houston hotel and the horde of reporters, Bush suddenly burst into song: "Izzy Fuzzy? Wazzy Fuzzy? Izzy?" His aide began singing with him.

Holy crap. That man was president of the United States for eight years.

No comments: