Barack Obama became a drag queen yesterday in a new effort to secure the 2014 WorldVision title.
The United States president appeared as ‘Michelle’ in a heart-felt performance of #Bring Back Our Girls prompted by the abduction of more than 200 female students from a boarding school in north-east Nigeria.Produced by the White House (rumours that Apple Inc is poised to take over the visionary production company, are completely unfounded), the ‘first lady’ sampled Malala, the award winning women’s education campaigner who first came to public attention when she was shot in the head by the Taliban – and survived. Michelle/Obama also re-worked some of the best known themes in American culture, e.g. realising your full potential in the land of equal opportunities, giving these a new twist – pro-women’s education, anti-terrorism – in response to the kidnappings and bombings carried out by militant Islamist band, Boko Haram (rough translation: ‘Western education is forbidden’). White House Productions are thought to have launched Michelle as Barack Obama’s alter ego, in order to re-assert themselves at the top of the WorldVision rankings after their Ukrainian foreign policy number failed to chart successfully. There have been complaints that the Whites imposed their traditional House style on a supposedly new performer (the word ‘unconscionable’ jarred with the otherwise conversational tone of Michelle’s lyrics); nonetheless the Washington version of #Bring Back Our Girls has met with widespread approval. Wearing a powder blue top and sitting atop an antique chair with the Stars and Stripes in the background, Michelle put in a deliberately understated performance – in contrast to the Shirley Bassey-style torch song which last night won the Eurovision Song Contest for Austria’s ‘bearded lady’ Conchita Wurst (real name Tom Neuwirth). Michelle’s #Bring Back Our Girls was restrained even by her own standards: she previously gave an energetic performance of Let’s Move, an anti-obesity campaign which served as her White House white label in advance of yesterday’s official WorldVision release. In Africa earlier this week, from far up country where Nigeria’s oil wealth does not run to (northern Nigeria is now poorer than it was 50 years ago), the leader of Boko Haram (or perhaps a stand-in) released an hour long video of riffs and raps about selling thekidnapped girls into slavery. (The heirs of Ronald Reagan would no doubt disown his take on the vintage 1980s chorus, let the market decide.) As a band, Boko Haram is so far removed from the international performance circuit it will do anything to gain precious nanoseconds in the global attention economy. Insteadof the pantomime leer of ‘a brown eyed handsome man’ singing ‘Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl’, or the mythical depiction of the Rape of the Sabine Women, this group is actually acting out everyone’s worst nightmares. Not only piling on the hyperbole but also doing rhetoric for real. (Imagine Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan and The Dead Kennedys all rolled into one). Members of Boko Haram such as the gangly youth photographed in custody wearing an Arsenal football top, are acting out of desperation. As if their lives depended on it; not least because the West has created a media-centric way of life which does indeed depend on being uploaded, becoming part of the performance circuit, not being left to rot in the dark, dank dungeon of the invisible, the unheard of, the non-existent. Being in the medium by any means necessary – that is the message of the current Western WorldVision as rendered by everyone who is anyone, from Lady Gaga to Michelle/Obama and even Conchita Wurst (Tom Neurwith currently enjoying his best 15 minutes). The appalling irony is that heartless Boko Haram has already taken this message to heart.