The State of the Union is more fun when it’s segregated like a middle school dance

Last night was kind of like my Super Bowl. Because once the Redskins are out of the running, my interest in football dwindles to the approximate level of my interest in Nascar, tennis, bowling and golf. (Although I have to admit that this year, I was quite relieved when the Redskins’ season ended because it meant I was being put out of my misery… it’s been a painful few years.)

Don’t get me wrong, I like the commercials during the Super Bowl and all. But I’m a total news junkie (which is probably a good thing considering that I teach journalism) and I’m kind of a political junkie as well. Which means that when I watch the State of the Union, the noises coming from my apartment sound like when I’m watching Redskins game.

Well, okay that’s a little misleading. With Obama in office, it sounds like when I’m watching a game that the ‘Skins are winning. When George W. Bush was giving the State of the Union, it sounded more like the most recent season, with me yelling “NOOOOO!” “COME ON!” and many less appropriate sentiments as well.

Of course, last year had one of those moments with the lovely, “You lie” incident, at which point I enthusiastically told Joe Wilson EXACTLY what he could go do with himself in far too graphic detail to print in this blog and still keep my teaching job. Let’s just say it caused Rosie to go hide under my bed.

The State of the Union causes me some stress though. Because it’s REALLY hard to decide what network to watch it on. I mean, I have picture in picture, which I tend to use exactly once a year for this event, because I LOVE seeing what Fox News says about it compared to what every other network says.

This year, I chose to watch it on NBC, mostly because I adore Brian Williams. Partially because he’s a huge Springsteen fan and his interview with Bruce when the Darkness box set was coming out cracked me up, but mostly because his cameos on 30 Rock as himself are my absolute favorite. There’s something about someone who’s THAT deadpan when they’re funny that I love. So even though the State of the Union isn’t typically funny, I still love Brian Williams’ introduction of it, monotone voice and all.

But I have to admit that Fox News is my favorite for oh-so-many reasons. I just love the ridiculousness factor. Granted, my favorite Fox News moment of all time was right after the Indonesian tsunami. I was in line at the dry cleaners and they had Fox News on. And there was this cute little blonde reporter covering the tsunami from Indonesia and she had her serious reporter face on and her serious reporter haircut, and she explained that while scientists had one explanation for the tsunami, “most people here do believe that the tsunami was, in fact, the wrath of an angry god.” And underneath her on the screen, Fox News flashed the message “Tsunami: Wrath of Angry God.”

I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that hard in my life. Nor have I ever gotten such weird looks while I was in line at the dry cleaners. Wait, that’s not true. I was on my cell phone with my grandmother one time and was trying to explain why you can’t use your computer’s cd-rom drive as a cup holder. I think I got weirder looks that time. But I digress.

Fox News declares the President’s speech a failure before it even happens. Which I find hilarious in a year like this year, when Obama’s speech didn’t go out to the networks in a finalized form in advance. How do they know it was a failure? Easy. If a democrat said it, it was bad. If Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin said it, it was good.

God help America. I think we need it.

The reason I love watching on a split screen though is because the different networks all show different people reacting during the speech. Most of the news networks do a mix of people loving it and hating it and make an attempt to show a fair and balanced mix.

Fox doesn’t bother with that. They just show Republicans. Which makes sense. Because except for me, they’re the only ones watching the speech on Fox. But if you watch Fox News, you’d think no one stood or applauded during the speech.

The big issue leading up to this year’s State of the Union wasn’t what Obama was going to talk about, it was the bipartisan seating. Now in theory, it’s a good idea. And it makes it a lot harder for there to be idiots like Joe Wilson yelling stuff out during the speech. Because I’d like to see him try that with Nancy Pelosi sitting next to him. Did you see the look she gave him last year? If looks could kill, he’d be deader than I think my neighbor is! And I mean, if she was next to him, she’d just stab him. I saw her in the pit at a Springsteen show one time. She may be little, but she’s tough.

I understand that the bipartisan seating presents the image of a unified front, but I like the State of the Union audience the way that I like a middle school dance—with opposing forces as far apart as they can get. The reason for this is simple: it makes it easier to see who the jackasses are when they’re sitting with the other jackasses. It’s hard to yell at half of the house when they’re mixed in with the half that I like.

Although I did think it was a little funny that John Kerry and John McCain were next to each other. It was like Loser’s Alley there. All they needed was Al Gore next to them. But he isn’t allowed to sit with them. Because his name isn’t John. And because he probably technically won the 2000 election. But that’s another story.

I had to finish this before the vultures descended to pick the speech apart (because some of us have to go educate the youth of America early in the morning—which Obama DID say we need more people to do), so I’ll leave the other bloggers out there to discuss the specifics of that, and I’ll end on this note:

Who’s impressed that I made it through a whole thousand word blog post WITHOUT making fun of John Boehner’s name?

Yeah, he’s never going to become President with that name. Can you imagine introducing “President Boehner?” I mean, I’d cry too if that were MY last name!

Damnit. Okay, well I made it through the FIRST thousand words without making fun of his name. Which, considering that I spend all day with teenagers, is a pretty big accomplishment.