His Tears Have Tiny Cages

The Simpsons’ Rodd Flanders said lies make baby Jesus cry. Guns do it for Obama.

By Daniel Riccuito

My letter to President Obama: I wrote it after he turned on the weeps over deadly shootings. Certain kinds of deadly shootings anyway – apologies in advance if I sound like Rod Serling, that quintessence of mid-century mansplaining. Well, a tired, drunk version of Serling at best. My arrogance, which I confess up front, is just frustration in disguise. Everyone debating gun control sounds like some fucking retard, you see. Here goes... A few lines fired off after angry solitary drinking... Beer is to be trusted!!

Okay, Mr. President. You’re weeping. A good look on you, really.

Without presuming to question the sincerity here, some of us want to know: For whom do you feel such deep sorrow? And given how swiftly our national debate has taken up slogans like “gun violence,” we may also seek to define terms. Perhaps kids gunned down by cops simply don’t count in this country. A cynical thought –and plausible explanation for the Dadaist event you’re staging.

Each of your tears has a tiny cage around it. Presidential sideshows depend on parameters. How can anyone cry for the victims of something generic like "gun violence" without acknowledging that Chicago cops are basic to the problem? Oh, yeah, you’re a U.S. President; and "gun control" never addresses state-sponsored killing, systemic racism, or the prison industrial complex. I forgot.

Ironic you mentioned Chicago, since your former Chief of Staff is now that town’s Mayor – Rahm Emanuel covered up the murder of unarmed teenager, Laquan McDonald, by police. THAT’S not gun violence, Mr. President? I take it back. Your crocodile tears make you suspicious indeed. Which goes for your political party, your brand-loyal constituents, and the so-called culture wars they fight.

Without, I’ll mention, posing a challenge to the real powers at work in our society.

Hell, that’s the goal: keeping out of harm’s way... Pretending that politics is always and everywhere a binary truth – the Repubs versus the Dems. Are voters and other “progressive” imbeciles ever ready to call bullshit? Baseline hostility toward gun control of any kind defines GOP opposition. Sure, but how about snarky supporters, sympathetic media tongue-heads like Jon Stewart – where do they actually stand on the issue? Beyond gratuitous odes to self-congratulation, that is.

Back to Rahm Emanuel: When you made this mook your right-hand man, did it occur to you that the symbolism might be kind of weird? His father (speaking of dead kids, guns and racist ideologies) was an Irgun terrorist who killed Palestinian babies with Nazi glee. Well, now he’s off your hands.

Published January 7th, 2016


Daniel Riccuito is an artist who runs The Chiseler, an online publication dedicated to obscurity—forgotten authors, lost languages, and neglected stars. Riccuito has written a book on Great Depression slang, The Depression Alphabet Primer, and contributed to Cineaste. He lives in New York City.