||Okay, let's see what this colonization has given us...
- Lede: 5/10. Not a very strong start, in my opinion. There really are very few jokes here; it's mostly just... true. I can't figure out whether the sentence about going from "Illinois Senator" to "Senator from Illinois" is a joke or just the result of some very peculiar phrasing. The oval/elliptical office joke is extremely throwaway. As for 1984 being his favorite book... I don't know, so what if it is? It's a good book. If the implication is to take a cheap shot at him at the end of a balanced-looking paragraph, I think it's going to have to be a little more explicit than this. Also: some of these sentences are weird. Like, "his accomplishments are embellished and an imminent totalitarian state is his plan" - it's an awkward sentence, because in the first half, the possessive pronoun is attached to the subject, and in the second half, it's attached to the object. The whole lede, really, needs rewording: it's not ungrammatical, but it's clunky.
- Early life and career: 7/10. The "allegedly born in Hawaii" footnotes point out that there are some lunatics who believe Obama was born abroad. Thing is, they don't really satirize that, much. Besides the "My dad says Obama wasn't born in America," the only joke here is recognition of a controversy. If this was stripped down to a single footnote citing "my dad," that would actually be funnier, IMHO. I grinned at the sentence "Early on in his life, Obama was confronted with a variety of views, be they religious, philosophical or political," just because it's so pointlessly vapid. I hope that was the point. Saying that Obama spent his childhood in terrorist training camps - well, we've really got a concept problem here. The footnotes just told us that only an idiot would believe crazy right-wing conspiracy theories, but two sentences later, we're hearing that crazy right-wing conspiracy theories are true. Kind of inconsistent, don't you think?
- I'm kind of amused by the idea of Obama growing up in a tribal, pre-American Hawaii, but this is a weird introduction of a new concept: an America with a fictional history, where Hawaii was admitted to the Union twenty years later. I get a chuckle out of the idea of wiretapping a coconut, though. The bit about it being a statistical impossibility that Obama converted to Christianity is the first thing in this article I found truly laugh-worthy.
- Volcano Worship Prep School is funny. With the "state-regulated, strictly controlled life in Hawaii," the concept is drifting again: now Hawaii is starting to resemble, you know, classical Sparta. Minoring in redundancy and redundancy is a very funny line. The rest of it ends all right, with a little bit of a right-wing slant, suggesting Obama's "community organizer" stint was basically putting together Little League games. This article is really swinging back and forth on the political spectrum, slanting right, then slanting left, then right, then left. I can see where it was a good idea to try to keep it balanced, but I'm not sure two extremes at the same time add up to "balanced." We found ourselves unable to do that with the George W. Bush article, which is why we split it into the "Bush is great" article and the "Bush sucks" article. Maybe we had the right idea.
- Senate career: 5/10. The first paragraph is... I don't know... okay. Baseball fans as warring factions fell a little flat to me. The paragraph is really pretty dry until we get to Ayers, when we assert right-wingedly that Ayers worked closely with Obama, and then assert left-wingedly that Ayers was literally a meteorologist. I feel like, you know, that joke just doesn't go for it - it's like it's about to take a cheap shot at Obama and then backs off quickly. It feels timid.
- By the second paragraph, I'm really getting the feeling that I've read the phrase "regulating the lives of every class of citizen," or similar, far too many times. This isn't the funny kind of repetition for me. The "cameras in pineapples" makes me laugh. Honestly, my favorite things about this article have been about Barack bringing Hawaii-style ancient technology to America. If we rewrote the whole thing with that concept in mind, we might have a really funny, tight article. I'm not sure I get the "top 100 most liberal senators" joke - I mean, obviously, every senator is one of the 100 most liberal senators, but the question is: why is the article saying this? To dispute the claim that he was the most liberal senator? To just sort of passingly make a reference to it? See, the concept of this article is so blurry that sometimes I'm not sure what joke is even being made.
- Rise to power: 4/10. There's nothing in here I haven't heard fifty times before, and it's not even one of the better-phrased implementations. Yes, Obama said "hope" and "change" a lot, and it was silly. No, his slogan wasn't "Vote Obama-trust him." In fact, his slogans were arguably sillier and funnier than that. I would just take the knife to this whole section and either start it over or expand it. One idea: go with the "ancient Hawaii" thing I've enjoyed so much, and say something like "Obama's campaign slogan 'A pineapple in every pot; a pig corpse in every sandbox' tested poorly, and was rapidly changed at the last minute to the half-assed 'Can we hope for change? Yes. Yes we can.'" I don't know. Something like that.
- Cementing of power: 4/10. Bleah. I fucking hate the censored template. I just hate having to read anything slowly, moving my mouse across the screen as I go. It's a very stale joke: censor the horrifying truth and leave only words that paint a glowing picture. Obama having murdered Joe Biden is yet another shift in concept: I mean, obviously, that hasn't happened. How fictional is the history of the United States supposed to be in this article? The idea of the HOPE poster with shifty eyes that follow you is pretty damn funny, although I think it's funnier without the censored template. That would make a pretty funny Photoshop, too... the eyes of that poster cut out with real eyes behind them. The final sentence is just a mess; without scrolling over the censored boxes, it isn't even capitalized.
- Personal life: 5/10. More concept weirdness. The idea of someone vanishing from society except that Google tracks their exact whereabouts is funny, but in this article, it's just confusing. So now we have a fictional version of the U.S. where Obama is a recluse and never seen in the media? I see the sarcasm, but the concept! The concept! It's so stretched out of shape!
- The second paragraph is a lot better: Obama comparing his race to Thomas the Tank Engine is very funny. The "great Lord" stuff just isn't going to work if it doesn't start up until the very last paragraph. The fact that Obama forces everyone to call him "The Great Lord" would have to be a prominent part of the article's concept; you just can't get away with introducing it this late.
- Cultural image: 3/10. To me, this seems like little other than a long-winded and clumsy way of saying that Obama is the antichrist. Huh.
||Okay, I'm going to give this a "1," just to drive the point home. This article really has no concept at all. We hear that Obama is the greatest thing to hit the planet, that he's the antichrist, that right-wingers are morons, that right-wingers are correct, that Hawaii was a weird tribal country in the 70s, that Biden is dead... the concept of this article seems to be "keep making stuff up and throwing it at us."
I mean, people are free to disagree with this, but in my opinion, if you've got four concepts, write four articles. Write "Barack Obama (messiah)" and "Barack Obama (big brother)" and "Barack Obama (former grand Kahuna of Maui)" and "Barack Obama (murderer of his running mate)" But don't try to write them all at the same time. That's just incoherent.
|Prose and formatting:
||The prose is a little uneven. Some sentences are punchy and deadpan and delivered in a funny way; others run on too long and get confusingly and excessively grammatically complex. The formatting is not good at all. We've got four unevenly space pictures and a template on the right; one lonely picture on the left that half-overlaps another picture (at least on my monitor), section breaks that run into pictures, and then a big weird brick of a centered picture at the bottom. Plus, the first two paragraphs are chock-full of hyperlinks, the third paragraph eases up on them, the fourth contains none, but a ton of black text, and the fifth has a mere two blue links and one red one.
All in all, guys, this is an ugly-ass article right now.