12.21.08

The Old Zeitgeist Vs. the New Zeitgeist

When did 401(k) statements replace waterboarding as the primary instrument of torture?

As the French saying goes, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.” (Translation: “Is not our first lady hot?”) But is it really true that things never really change, they just stay the same? Herewith a guide to where things stand zeitgeist-wise as we usher in a new president, and with any luck, a new era. On reflection, perhaps the French have something there. They usually do.

 

Old

New

Worst U.S. President

Buchanan

Bush (II)

Reassuring African-American Leader

Colin Powell

Obama

Menacing Ruskie

Stalin

Putin

GOP Clotheshorse

Nancy Reagan

Sarah Palin

Toxic Substance

Asbestos

Collateralized Debt Obligation

Three Stooges

Moe, Larry, Curley

Detroit Auto CEOs

Spurious Casus Belli

Tonkin Gulf Incident

WMDs

Supremely Self-satisfied Talk Show Host

Bill O'Reilly

Keith Olbermann

Over-The-Top Crooked Pol

Duke Cunningham

Gov. Blagojevich

Eponymous/Onomatopoeic Financial Scoundrel

Ponzi

Madoff (MAY-Doff)

Martin Luther King Wept

Sharpton

Wright

Fugitive

Richard Kimball

Osama bin Laden

Wise Man

Greenspan

Buffett

Hunky Aussie

Russell Crowe

Hugh Jackman

Downed Aviator

Amelia Earhart

Steve Fossett

Oxygen-Depleting,Single-NamedBlonde Divorcée

Diana

Madonna

Caribbean Hell Hole

David's Island

Guantanamo

Sapphic TV Personality

Ellen de Generes

Rachel Maddow

Cancer Phobia

Cell phones

Bottled water

UnfortunateSanguinaryPhoto Op

Saddam Execution

Sarah Palin at Turkey Slaughterhouse

Illegal Substance

Meth

Canadian Lipitor

Guilty Pleasure

Downloading Napster

Leaving Lights On

High-minded Catchphrase

Compassionate Conservatism

Audacity of Hope

Cool Brit

Tony Blair

Boris Johnson

Politically Incorrect Gas guzzler

Hummer

Gulfstream

Texan Wind Bag

Ross Perot

T. Boone Pickens

Weirdo Actor

Christopher Walken

Joaquin Phoenix

Scary Weather Event

Perfect Storm

Katrina

Potty-Mouthed Illinois Pol

Rahm Emmanuel

Gov. Blagojevich

Repugnant African Despot

Idi Amin

Robert Mugabe

Crown Kennedy

Ted

Caroline

Cupcake

Sarah Jessica

Jen

$6 Million Book Advance

Colin Powell

Tina Fey

Ubiquitous Historian

Douglas Brinkley

Niall Ferguson

Hyper-Adoptive Actress

Mia Farrow

Angelina Jolie

Tantalizing Opener

Please to contact me most Very immediately re: $16 Mil Dollars (US) In Your Bank of Nigeria Acct!

In the event of an erection lasting more than four hours...

Creepy Pol

Larry Craig

Eliot Spitzer

Village Atheist

Madalyn Murray O'Hair

Christopher Hitchens

Hot Wheels

Boxster

Tesla

Frigid, Cash Strapped Landmass

Russia

Iceland

Presidential Reading

My Pet Goat

Team of Rivals

F--- You VP

Rockefeller

Cheney

Cute NASA Gizmo

Mars Rover

Orbiting Tool Box

Fun Clinton

Bill

Hillary

Torture Device

Water-board

401(k) Statement

Chicago G-Man

Eliot Ness

Patrick Fitzgerald

Hot First Lady

Carla Sarkozy

Michelle Obama

Christopher Buckley’s books include Supreme Courtship, The White House Mess, Thank You for Smoking, Little Green Men, and Florence of Arabia. His journalism, satire, and criticism has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Esquire. He was chief speechwriter for Vice President George H.W. Bush, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Forbes FYI.