We Spent an Afternoon with Louis Ortiz, America’s Most Convincing Barack Obama Impersonator
Imagine waking up one day to discover that you look so much like one of the world’s most famous faces and that there may be job opportunities and fame waiting for you—if you play your cards right. That’s what happened to an unemployed 45-year-old Puerto Rican man in the Bronx named Louis Ortiz, whose striking resemblance to President Barack Obama is so uncanny, he began getting used to being stopped and approached for pictures with strangers on the street in early 2008.
See more photos + read the interview
Warren Ellis’ Last Post About the Election
So I wrote this book called Transmetropolitan, set in the US, and partway through there’s a Presidential election between a man nicknamed The Beast and a man nicknamed The Smiler. The thing about The Smiler is that, in the dozen years since I wrote that book, people seem able to map half of all politicians on to him, dependent on their personal politics. Anyway. It’s clearly going to be a close-run election, and that gets even tighter when a huge, freakish storm strikes the biggest city in America.
So you can imagine what my week’s been like.
It was bad enough when Romney’s “47 percent” talk eerily echoed a speech The Beast gave inTransmetropolitan. Now I’m being blamed for a lethal storm striking New York City.
I write this about eight days before voting day. US Presidential politics are a favorite spectator sport of mine, and I’m sad to see the cycle end, even though this one hasn’t really been a good game. President Obama’s fairly grim, toothless, meandering and perfunctory presidency gained excellent contrast from an assemblage of GOP candidates so demented and corrupt that even to describe them as such would be an insult to the many hard-working demented and corrupt politicians extant today. It was an array of desperate, shambling criminals (and Jon Huntsman, who presumably was there on a bet) that may have been unprecedented, even in the stinking cesspool of American politics, in its lunatic evil. The “winner” of the GOP race was always going to be the one who didn’t shit themselves on stage. But the GOP itself couldn’t win, because, considering the bunch running, the best you could hope for was a candidate who didn’t shit themselves on stage.
Barack Obama isn’t a Muslim. What some conservatives suppose is… maybe he is? Yup, calling Obama a Muslim is back in style, because why criticize the president over the economy or civil liberties when you can spread rumors that he likes a different imaginary guy than you do? This week, the right-leaningWashington Times published a five-part series by Islamophobe Daniel Parts about how Obama attended a Muslim school in Indonesia, might have thought of himself as a Muslim when he was a kid, and has a “H-S-N” name so BLARGHA BLARGHA BLARGH REPEAL OBAMA BIN HUSSEIN’S GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF OUR JOBS. (And did the Times plan the release of the story to coincide with September 11? Ew.) Then there was the time last month noted musician and taint Hank Williams was like, “Obama is a Muslim and hates farming!” (Farming?) So yeah, welcome political discourse in the 21st century, y’all. But even if he were a Muslim—which he’s not—would anyone care? We walked around New York to find out and ran into an Occupy protest.
VICE: Would you care if Obama were Muslim?
Marvin, retired: Why would they say he’s a Muslim? If he says he’s a Christian, how come they don’t believe him is the question.
So you wouldn’t care if he was?
I could care less.
The Most Depressing Things in the Democratic Party Platform
Last week I went over the Republican Party platform and made fun of some of the craziest bits. There were a lot to choose from, because portions of that thing were clearly written by ultra-conservative Christians and conspiracy theorists. But it would be unfair to point and laugh at the GOP’s policies and beliefs and then ignore the Democrats’ platform, so last night I went through it searching for similar wackiness. (The full platform can be found here.) The problem is, the Democrats aren’t as crazy as the Republicans. Maybe that’s my blue-state bias talking, maybe that’s because I feel like it’s obvious that gay marriage and abortion should be legal, but whatever the reason, I didn’t find as much to mock in their platform.
The most notable stuff in the 59-page document is what isn’t there. As conservative bloggers have pointed out , the word “God” doesn’t appear anywhere in the platform, which is proof, I assume, that the Democrats hate Christianity or something. On the other hand, when the man upstairs gets involved in public policy, the positions he turns out to be in favor of are stuff like, “Commit genocide against the Canaanites” and, “Wander around the desert for 40 years.” So maybe it’s a good thing he wasn’t consulted when the Democrat bigwigs got together to write this thing.
What’s more of a bummer is that the word “marijuana” doesn’t appear on the platform at all, despite more and more Americans being in favor of it being legalized, and despite numerous states putting legalization on the ballot. You’d think it would be something to mention, at least, even if all the platform said was, “The issue of marijuana legalization deserves more study and consideration, as do questions of how to best tax and regulate it should it ever become legal,” or some dodgy bullshit like that. Instead, the platform just follows Obama’s longstanding policy of pretending that marijuana doesn’t exist and that people aren’t getting arrested and being thrown in jail for smoking, producing, and selling it. If the Democrats actually said what their policy on marijuana is—the War on Drugs is fine and dandy and we’re OK with putting smokers in jail—they would alienate a lot of young voters, so they’ll just keep their mouths shut. (Making videos where Kal Penn is high, LOL, is fine though.)