As part of an ongoing retrospective of the the first decade of the 21st century, Newsweek has ginned up a boatload of top 10 lists and assigned some Hollywood celebrities and Washington politicians to pen brief blurbs to accompany some of the entries. One such list, the top 10 "History-Altering Decisions" of 2000-2009 has at least two such entries that are worthy of addressing here: Actor/comedian Dennis Leary's "Florida Uses Butterfly Ballots" [ranked #6] and Sen. John Kerry's self-congratulatory "Kerry Picks Obama to Give Keynote 2004 DNC Address" [ranked #1].
Befitting Newsweek's biases, Leary and Kerry's entries point to Obama as an almost messianic figure, as though he were the literal object of history, or at least the last 10 years of American history.
First, Leary opined about how one dramatic moment can set in motion a chain of events can profoundly affect history, in effect comparing the assassin's bullet that ended John Kennedy's life with the butterfly ballots used in 2000 in some Democrat-friendly Florida counties:
Displaying a caricature of a celebrity enraptured by President Barack Obama, although apparently quite serious in the underlining attitude he conveyed in an over the top manner, on Friday's Larry King Live actor Denis Leary (IMDb page) proclaimed: “I think that President Obama is the greatest President in the history of all of our Presidents and that he can do no wrong in my book.”
Asked about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, Leary, co-producer and star of FX's Rescue Me, exclaimed: “Fantastic!” Guest host Joy Behar prompted him to affirm: “You love her?” He repeated his earlier mantra: “Everything you ask me about President Obama I'm just going to say it's the greatest thing ever. I love the guy!”
Leary, who made the appearance ostensibly to plug his book, 'Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid', as a Father's Day gift, also related how he likes to “torture” pro-Bush friends and colleagues by gloating over Obama. “I do have to say that I enjoy upsetting people -- friends of mine who might be in the Republican world” by telling them: “President Obama is the greatest thing that ever happened.”
Four weeks after FX's Rescue Me featured a New York City firefighter telling a French journalist how the 9/11 terrorist attacks were part of “a massive neo-conservative government effort” to enable “American global domination,” Tuesday night's episode gave the French character “Genevieve,” interviewing firefighters for a book on 9/11 first-responders, a platform to rail against how the U.S. failed to heed France's advice in starting “two new wars” in the name of “revenge.”
Discussing 9/11 with firefighter “Tommy Gavin,” played by show creator Denis Leary, “Genevieve” agreed “9/11 was a tragedy. To most of the world it was a tragedy,” but she fretted, “to Americans, it was the beginning of the end of the world.” As the two walked along a Manhattan street following a visit to Ground Zero, she lectured, presumably alluding to Iraq: “France warned the U.S. government because of their experience with Algeria. And then told them that maybe this was not a good idea and they didn't want to send their people to die.” As to why she wants to write about 9/11:
It's an amazing story, it's a story about how so many people in the world came to support America and its people, to say, “hey, you know what? You've done so much to help us and to support us, we want to give back to you.” But what did your government do with all that good will? Hell, you went right back to war. You started two new wars. In the name of what? Revenge?...Every goddamn war is about revenge -- and the French don't believe in guns.
“A coming episode of the acclaimed FX drama Rescue Me will tackle what may sound like a far-fetched plot line: that the attacks of Sept. 11 were an 'inside job,'” Brian Stelter reported in the New York Times, noting the ludicrous plot “may represent the first fictional presentation of 9/11 conspiracy theories by a mainstream media company (FX is operated by the News Corporation).” Actor Daniel Sunjata (IMDB page), who plays New York City firefighter “Franco Rivera” -- and who in a photo with the Times story sported a shirt emblazoned “INVESTIGATE 9/11” -- “predicted that the episode would be 'socio-politically provocative.'”
In the episode, the second in the new season starting in April, “Mr. Sunjata’s character delivers a two-minute monologue for a French journalist describing a 'neoconservative government effort' to control the world’s oil, drastically increase military spending and 'change the definition of pre-emptive attack.' To put it into action, he continues, 'what you need is a new Pearl Harbor. That’s what they said they needed.'” Now that's some crazy paranoia.