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the Obama float

July 19, 2014

Before I explain the offensive parade float in Nebraska, let’s just joke about the phrase “Obama float”.

To float on water is an indication of buoyancy but also a metaphor for relaxation and laziness. It is the hallmark of a ship’s structural integrity but less forceful than rowing oars or running motors or sailing on a gust of wind (see also Zombie Boats in a rising tide). If the government is doing ‘the Obama float’, that’s a good thing compared to his inauguration when the ship was taking on serious water, and floating is definitely better than being sunk. Still, is there an implication that we can’t just float along forever and must find a way to do more? [consider also: ‘floating a loan’]

Consider the river float in the new Pepsi commercial, “Lost Cooler”. Incidentally, if it were Diet Pepsi it would float by itself. The “real” sugar version is more dense – hint to the nation: it’s the sugar weighing us down! Of course if it were real life, that pepsi would be a beer, because a river float requires beer! Zombie Beer? You’ll have to go to Chicago for that, see Chicago Tribune: “5 essential Chicago beers” by Josh Noel featuring “Zombie Dust” beer from Three Floyds Brewery Co.


It is only a available in a few states so Noel describes Zombie Dust as a “destination beer” for Chicago. Could that be a metaphor for the tourism money (fairy dust) that would come from location of the Obama Presidential Library in Chi-town? That library might be better protected in Hawaii but in Chicago people could more easily float over from other states … like Nebraska…

Ok so now the Nebraska July 4th parade float:

The Journal Star “Editorial, 7/10: ‘Obama float’ was disgusting“:

Standing in front of the outhouse was a dark-skinned mannequin with a walker that Remmich claimed was a caricature of himself as a zombie.

The Journal Star editorial board thinks the float was crude, disgusting, indecent and open to an interpretation that it was bigoted. It had no business being in a parade celebrating our nation’s heritage.

Builder of Controversial Nebraska Parade Float Claims “I’m Not a Racist”” by William J. Grabowski. Because of course, no one that’s racist ever says that. So maybe time for a sensitivity workshop or a replay of Avenue Q.

KMTV: Federal Government Looking Into Norfolk Parade Float by Ashlee Pitzl:

Mayor Sue Fuchtman confirms to KMTV Action 3 News that Department of Justice officials are in Norfolk to discuss a controversial parade float.

Mayor Fuchtman told KMTV Action 3 News that she and the city administrator would be meeting with a representative of the Department of Justice before the meeting with the NAACP.

Lincoln Journal Star: Justice official, NAACP meet with Norfolk over float“:

Four representatives of the NAACP and the U.S. Department of Justice met with Norfolk Mayor Sue Fuchtman Thursday to talk about a controversial float in the Fourth of July parade. The meeting included the mayor, city administrator Shane Weidner and members of the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows, which organized the parade.

RT: “Obama library toilet parade float prompts Justice Department investigation

Washington Times: “DOJ investigates Nebraska parade float critical of Obama” By Jessica Chasmar

BizPacReview: “Justice Dept finally finds ‘real’ scandal; looking at Obama outhouse parade float” by Michele Kirk – OH, it’s “real”!

Daily Caller: “Eric Holder Gets Serious About Limiting Speech, Investigates Obama Outhouse Parade Float” by Eric Owens

The Norfolk Daily News reports “NAACP: Norfolk meeting was ‘beneficial’” by Kent Warneke.

But still some are peeved about the federal government making an investigation out this;

Washington Times: “EDITORIAL: Humorless Holder parades for justice in the outhouse“:

Some Democrats just can’t take a joke. They’ve summoned a torrent of outrage over a float in a Fourth of July parade in Norfolk, Neb., because it featured an outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library.” The “head librarian” was portrayed by a zombie doll. Everyone else had a good laugh about it. (Bathroom humor always works.)

Some are less fond of “potty humor” but still disapprove the heavy-handed government investigations of free expression.

JSOnline: “The eggshell President” by Rick Esenberg:

At a holiday parade in Norfolk, Nebraska, someone entered a float that depicted the Obama Presidential Library as an outhouse. There was some kind of mannequin – described as “zombie-like” – that the proprietor of the exhibit said was supposed to be himself and not the President. He says he is a veteran and was depicting himself as dismayed by the poor care at VA hospitals.

Let’s assume it was the President.

I would have thought that we were permitted to mock our Presidents.

But, no. The Department of Justice has actually sent representatives to Nebraska to address this potential violation of our civil rights laws.

I could explain all of the reasons why this is wrong, but I shouldn’t have to. If you aren’t bothered by the idea that the federal government would send agents to investigate and “mediate” criticisms of the head of the federal government, you are not a civil libertarian.

National Review: “ Free Countries Mock Their Presidents” by Charles C. W. Cooke:

Are outhouses racist now? Are zombies? Or was it perhaps the overalls in which the zombie was dressed?

The float’s maker has insisted that the zombie represented himself and not the president. “I’ve got my bibs on, my walker, I’m covering my ears and I’m turning a bit green; I intended it to look like a zombie who has had enough,” he explained. Unsurprisingly, the NAACP didn’t buy it. “Looking at the float, that message absolutely did not come through,” the president of the outfit’s Iowa and Nebraska chapters griped. Fair enough. Arguendo, let’s presume that some of the spectators misunderstood the piece and believed that the president of the United States was being compared to a toilet-dwelling zombie. Again: Who cares? Are we now so hopelessly epicene that we expect federally funded conflict-resolution teams to swoop in on the hinterlands if the locals mutter too loudly about the government?

Government investigations can chill speech. This is a silly story but overall concerning. We need more satire!

Someone should photoshop an image of President Obama in a river tube colored like an Obama campaign logo, just casually floating along with a cooler of Pepsi and Zombie Dust beer. Eric Holder should be in a tube nearby towing a bunch of guns in his cooler and calling everyone racist. And since it’s Nebraska, Chuck Hagel should be there too, flying an R/C drone overhead. Maybe Kerry is off on the shore BBQ’ing, with plenty of Heinz Ketchup and suggesting again a ‘two steak solution’.

Modest Mouse: “Float On”

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