I’m not the first person who while watching the political rise of Barack Obama has been reminded of Chauncey Gardiner or Chance the Gardener, played by Peter Sellers in Being There which was based on a novel by Jerzy Kosinski. Chance is a “simple man” who finds himself in the public limelight where his simplistic utterances are mistaken by the politicians and the people for profound statements. “In this Obama frenzied age you can’t help but draw a few parallels between the characters mocked in Being There and the most rabid of Obama supporters,” is the way one critic put it. Joel Stein makes a similar point. “Obama is Peter Sellers in ‘Being There,'” he writes, quoting a marriage therapist:
You feel young again. You feel like everything is possible. He helps you feel that way and you want to feel that way; it’s a great marriage. Unfortunately, the divorce will happen very quickly.
Indeed, after watching Obama’s very, very mediocre performance since his inauguration, I’ve been making calls to my divorce lawyer. Yes, I can.
Update: I haven’t filed for divorce yet… I’ll give the man a chance.