Al Gore, strutting and fretting: A liberal tale told by an idiot
Just in case those youthful days of studying Shakespeare’s Macbeth in high school have dimmed into a distant yet pleasant memory, please allow me to remind you of one of the tragedy’s most well-known, oft-memorized snippets:
“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
These words, spoken by Macbeth himself in Act V, scene 5 were originally penned to express sorrow at the death of Lady Macbeth. However, I have discovered that by inserting the name “Al Gore” in place of the contraction “Life’s,” we can have a pretty clear picture of the final debate between the two presidential candidates, as in “Al Gore’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage…”Okay, so it was more like an hour and a half of strutting and fretting and leaping from his stool as if he’d sat on a thumbtack. Let me tell you, it seemed like twice that long. Maybe even thrice.
The debate seemed exhaustingly long not only because of the interruptions, the tangents, the histrionic body language and the heedless disregard for the rules which Gore himself helped to set, but also because of his words, which signify nothing more than what we’ve already had under the current administration for the past eight years: “We will tax you until you scream for mercy and use your confiscated dollars to make the government bigger and bolder and more brazen than ever!” There’s nothing new here at all, unless you count that sharp, shooting pain that runs up the back of my neck every time I see Gore in what he obviously considers to be his Alpha Mode. It used to be just a dull ache before I watched Al’s performance at the first debate.
I believe Al’s Alpha Mode could translate as Shakespeare’s “walking shadow” from the Macbeth quotation. It was amazing to watch the vice president sneaking around on the stage behind George W. Bush early in the debate as the governor spoke about HMOs. Gore lurked ominously, looking as if he had a “Kick Me, I’m a Republican” sign hidden in his hand to slap on Governor Bush’s back. An odd moment, turned into comedy by the deftness of George W., who gave Gore a brief and bemused glance over his shoulder, causing the audience to giggle appreciatively. There is no word on whether Tipper, sitting in the audience along with the Gore brood, dived under her seat in embarrassment at Al’s antics. It was an awkward moment for Gore at best, made even more so by the weird military stance the vice president took when he perceived that the audience was laughing at him.
The second incredulous moment of the debate occurred as Governor Bush finished up his remarks on the moral trend of our country. Those remarks were preceded by a question posed to him by audience member Joyce Klinger, who expressed concern about the filth that our children come face-to-face with every single day. “I want to know if there’s anything that can be worked out with Hollywood,” Ms. Klinger asked.
The governor’s answer was slow and thoughtful and gave the impression that he understands what an overwhelming task it is to parents to turn back the aggressive tide of our deplorable popular culture. But barely had he finished when Al Gore was performing that amazing leap off the stool and aggressively stating, “MY turn” and striding up to the front of the stage, throwing out his elbows and his chest in an unconscious imitation of the Warner Brothers Cartoon cock-of-the-walk, Foghorn Leghorn.
“I care a lot about this,” Gore began in that smarmy, lickspittle way he has and went on to prattle about Tipper’s involvement with the music industry and the warning labels that were put on record albums that had offensive lyrics — he didn’t mention that Tipper’s program got an unceremonious heave-ho when the Clinton-Gore administration took the helm in 1992. The vice president went on to add that he and Joe Lieberman have given entertainment companies “six months to clean up their act,” also neglecting to remind us that three days after their scary ultimatum, he and Senator Lieberman partied hard with those very executives they chastised and gladly accepted millions of dollars in campaign contributions from them. Conflicts of interest have rarely loomed so large.
The vice president ended the debate by expressing his thoughts on the record of the Clinton-Gore administration: “We’ve made some progress during the last eight years. [Yes, impeachment is quite an accomplishment; congratulations]…But I’ll make you one promise here: You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Thanks for the warning. Out, out, brief candle.