President George W. Bush: Thanks for the (pop culture) memories!
Say what you will about outgoing president George W. Bush, but the man certainly has left a mark on pop culture during the past eight years. As a final farewell to the man who inspired the entrance of words like “strategery” and “truthiness” into the national lexicon, here’s our best reckoning of all the movies, TV shows, music, books, and various cultural flotsam that Dubya has caused, influenced, or simply infused with that certain Bushian je ne sais quoi. (Yep, it’s officially okay to use French again!) But tell us, our fellow American PopWatchers, what did we forget? –Compiled by Saba Mohtasham, Adam B. Vary, and John Young
Oct. 7: Saturday Night Live — Will Ferrell, as George W. Bush, is asked in a presidential debate skit to sum up his campaign in one word. He chooses “strategery.”
Jan. 8: George W. Bushisms — The first edition of Slate.com’s paperback series documenting “the accidental wit and wisdom of our 43rd president” debuts before Bush’s inauguration. Sample: “I understand small business growth. I was one.”
April 4: That’s My Bush — South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s short-lived sitcom set in the Bush White House debuts on Comedy Central, starring Timothy Bottoms as the commander-in-chief.
Mar. 14: Journeys With George — A documentary directed by Alexandra Pelosi (daughter of future Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi) chronicles her time covering the Bush campaign during the 1999/2000 primary season.
July 23: “Son of a Bush” — The hip-hop outfit, Public Enemy, devotes a track of their Revolverlution album to the president. The song’s refrain: “He’s the son of a baaaaaad man.”
Jan. 29: State of the Union parody – President Bush delivers hissecond State of the Union address and presents his case for invadingIraq. Demonstrating the Internet’s ability to create pop-culturesensations at a moment’s notice, this reedited (and NSFW) parody of the speechquickly pops up all over the web.
March 10: “We’re ashamed the President of the United States is fromTexas” — The firestorm surrounding singer Natalie Maines’ commentscauses a boycott of the Dixie Chicks’ music and a massive backlash oncountry radio.
April 25: Entertainment Weekly — Our magazine’s famous nude cover of the Dixie Chicks hits newsstands.
Sept. 7: DC 9/11: Time of Crisis — To commemorate the secondanniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Showtime airs a TVmovie about the day and its immediate aftermath from the perspective ofthe president and his immediate advisers. And in the role of George W. Bush…TimothyBottoms, of Comedy Central’s That’s My Bush!
June 25: Fahrenheit 9/11 — Director Michael Moore’s scathingexamination of the Bush administration’s reaction to September 11debuts at the top of the box office and becomes the highest grossingdocumentary of all time, making $119 million domestically (and anadditional $103 million overseas).
July 9: JibJab’s “This Land” — The animated short set to WoodyGuthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” premieres on JibJab’s home page. Oneday later, the site’s servers crash due to the massive popularity ofthe video, which features Bush and presidential candidate John Kerryslinging insults at one another.
Sept. 21: American Idiot — Green Day’s Grammy-winning album reachesstores and receives as much criticism as it dishes out. The punk bandrefers to Bush as “President Gasman” on the track “Holiday,” and thetitle track infuriates the Killers’ frontman, Brandon Flowers, who findsit to be unpatriotic -– and you don’t want to irritate someone whoselast name is Flowers.
Oct. 26: “Mosh” – The music video (NSFW) for the song off of Eminem’sEncore album is released just a week before the 2004 presidentialelection and features lyrics such as, “As we set aside our differences/ And assemble our own army / To disarm this Weapon of Mass Destruction/ That we call our president, for the present.”
Jan. 17: Why We Fight — Eugene Jarecki’s documentary about themilitary-industrial complex premieres at the Sundance Film Festival.
Feb. 6: American Dad! — Fox debuts the cartoon series from FamilyGuy creator Seth MacFarlane, about a right-wing CIA agent and his quirkybrood (including a live-in alien who sounds suspiciously like PaulLynde).
Sept. 2: A Concert for Hurricane Relief — During NBC’s post-Katrinabenefit concert, rapper Kanye West stuns 8 million viewers (and oneMike Myers) by saying, “George Bush doesn’t care about blackpeople.”
Oct. 17: The Colbert Report — The Daily Show‘s Stephen Colbertlaunches his satire of blowhard right-wing pundits, and unleashes“truthiness” into the world as his very first “Wørd.”
March 30: “Great Moments in Presidential Speeches” — The Late Show With David Letterman unveils its first in a series of video sketchesthat open with clips of historic speeches by the likes of John F.Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and conclude with President Bushstruggling to formulate a coherent sentence. Letterman retired thesegment last Friday.
April 28: “Let’s Impeach the President” — The seventh song fromNeil Young’s Grammy-nominated protest album, Living with War, steersclear of any subtlety: “Let’s impeach the president for lying / Andmisleading our country into war / Abusing all the power that we gavehim / And shipping all our money out the door.”
May 24: An Inconvenient Truth — Al Gore’s Oscar-winning documentaryabout global warming — a movie that most likely wouldn’t exist if Gorehad become president instead of Bush in 2000 — first hits theaters.
Oct. 11: Lost — Ben Linus tells Jack that two months after theirplane crashed, George W. Bush was re-elected president of the UnitedStates. Jack seems incredulous.
Oct. 27: Death of a President — The British fictional documentary,which stages the assassination of President Bush through the use ofarchival footage and special effects, is condemned by all sorts of TVcommentators who haven’t seen it. Theater chains Cinemark and Regalrefuse to show the film, which ultimately grosses a paltry $519,000.
Dec. 21: “Dear Mr. President” — Pink releases her not-so-happy popmusic epistle to Dubya, with lyrics like “Dear Mr. President…How canyou say / No child is left behind? / We’re not dumb and we’re notblind.”
June 13: Lil’ Bush — Comedy Central’s animated show starring apint-size Bush premieres to derisive reviews but scores impressiveratings with college-age males, proving once again that young men willwatch anything.
July 27: No End in Sight — Charles Ferguson’s Oscar-nominateddocumentary thoroughly examines how the Bush Administration may havemishandled the Iraq War.
Sept. 28: The Kingdom — A thriller starring Jamie Foxx and JenniferGarner about an F.B.I. team that travels to Saudi Arabia after asuicide bomber attacks a private American compound there.
April 25: Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay — Aftercrashing through the ceiling of Bush’s Texas abode, the titlecharacters light up some “Alabama kush” with the commander-in-chief (NSFW).
Sept. 2: An American Wife — Author Curtis Sittenfeld releases herthird novel, which follows a fictional presidential couple remarkablysimilar to President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.
Oct. 17: W. — Oliver Stone’s surprisingly neutral biopic on Dubyaarrives in theaters a mere three months after the director finishedshooting. Although the film receives mixed reviews, critics praise JoshBrolin’s take on the president.