Rhonda Robinson

The End of the Obama Mystique

Posted on January 22 2010 12:36 am
Rhonda Robinson is part of NewsReal's editorial team. As a columnist, Rhonda has provided readers with thoughtful insight into social, political, and parenting issues since 1995.
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By J.R. Dunn

It’s been a few years since the release of The 13th Warrior. The film was that rarity, an intelligent actioner. Adapted from Michael Crichton’s novel Eaters of the Dead, it was a retelling, and rationalization, of the ancient Beowulf legend.\

In Crichton’s version, the monsters of legend comprise a tribe of human cannibals preying on Viking settlements. The story is told through the eyes of an educated Arab visitor driven to the far north by circumstances. He witnesses an attack by the cannibals in which the Vikings panic and run for it, sustaining heavy casualties in the process. But then, with the assistance of their Arab visitor, the Vikings begin to analyze the behavior of their enemy, piercing through the supernatural aura to the actuality within, learning their enemy’s weaknesses and the means of capitalizing on them. The Viking defense improves and becomes formidable. At last they assault the cannibal stronghold itself, where Beowulf confronts and destroys their unsavory queen-goddess, losing his life in the process.

The film is an examination of the power of intellectual analysis. Utilizing their brains, along with their swords, the Vikings pierce the mystique of the cannibals, seeing them no longer as demons erupted from Hell but merely as men whose mother goddess dresses them funny. From that point on, it’s only a matter of time, effort, and tactics.
The same process has occurred many times in history. In 1814, somebody — it’s unclear who — persuaded the Allies that the smart move was to stop chasing Napoleon from battlefield to battlefield and instead to march directly on Paris and deprive him of his power base. That did the trick — with his mystique as the Unconquered Conqueror punctured, Napoleon was soon without an army and within weeks in Elba, playing solitaire and planning his big comeback.
To read the war reports and commentary of 1942 is to step into an alternate universe. People really expected the Japanese Imperial Navy to sail over the horizon any minute. Predictions were made for the loss of Alaska, attacks on the West Coast, an invasion of the Pacific Northwest, the utter destruction of the Panama Canal. None of it happened, of course, and the legend of the Japanese superman died at last in the hard fighting at Midway and Guadalcanal, and was never regained.
We saw it again this Tuesday in Massachusetts. In a nearly unimaginable upset, a seat that “belonged” to the Democrats in a state “owned” by extreme liberals was taken by an underdog Republican candidate. Scott Brown’s victory over Marsha, Marcia, Ms. Coakley was substantial – 52% to 47%, with the balance going to a third-party pest. The results have shaken the political cosmos. It is impossible to see the long-term results at this point.
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