Barack Obama is visiting Indonesia this week to talk about American-Muslim relations (have fun, buddy,) discuss Asia’s role in world economics, and maybe check in on his alma mater, State Elementary School 01 Menteng.* That’s great news for the people of Indonesia, who will finally encounter a man in a suit who does not exhort them to detonate night clubs or answer customer service calls. It’s less great news for Ilham Anas, who will suddenly find himself the second-best Barack Obama impersonator in town. Frankly, it’s another setback in a bad year. According to Anas, the President’s declining popularity has meant less work for him, as the mere sight of a man who strongly resembles Barack Obama is no longer sufficient to delight everyone. “This year, it’s definitely not like it was at the beginning,” Anas said in an interview with Reuters. “I still get jobs, but most of them are overseas.” And with that, Ilham Anas definitively establishes himself as a funnier Barack Obama impersonator than Fred Armisen.
It’s a shame the way Obama’s star has waned over the last two years, partly because desperately needed health care reform and economic recovery programs are likely to be torpedoed by a party of xenophobic nationalists, but mostly because Anas is unlikely to make any more commercials like this:
Come to think of it, no one is likely to make any more commercials like that, ever. I have no idea who that woman is, why it was necessary to move her across the room on a dolly at the :19 mark, or why she thinks it’s a good idea to offer the President an enormous cup of coffee immediately after he has suffered a gastrointestinal attack.* Also, shouting “it’s corn!” is not how you get people to eat things, but that’s not important now. What’s important is that this shit is wonderful, and if we don’t do something to burnish the President’s image—back to at least the level of early 2009, when he couldn’t sleep in on a Tuesday morning without finding out he won the Nobel Prize—the world will be denied a great light.
It’s the little people who get hurt in a climate of irresponsible political rhetoric. While America’s conservatives were busy attacking health care reform and branding the President a socialist, they forgot the people they were sworn to protect: the producers of weird Filipino anti-diarrheal medicine. Now no one can safely eat curried corn, and Ilham Anas is nearly out of a job. I don’t want to alarm you, and it’s only in certain lights, but he actually looks a little more like Jimmy Carter every day.