This time though, something was different. There seemed a greater appearance of confidence and strength. In the past Bush's speeches to anyone other than the handpicked rubes on the campaign trail seemed to always contain small hints of self-doubt or at least a defensive braggadocio followed by a frightened little smirk not unlike a small boy that knew he had gotten away with the contents of the cookie jar, but still couldn’t shake a vestigial fear that his crime might yet be discovered.
I have not seen the video, but the voice seemed that of a man transformed, confident and certain beyond doubt, he has now fully assumed the reality. There is no more man left. Like his mentor Ronald Reagan, he is now totally and only the mask.
I thought of my favorite poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, who was almost obsessed with masks, or at least the appearances people assume to hide from the world and their ultimate reality. As I listened to our newly-created president, freshly emerged from the room of smoke and mirrors, I thought of Rilke’s words from his Fourth Duino Elegy:
“I cannot take these half-invested masks.
Better the puppet.
That is full, and honest.
Out with pretence.
I can accept the wires,
The stuffing and integuments,
That face of mere appearance.
On with the show.”
Karl Rove’s NEW MAN is finally, fully ready to assume the world.