First, the woobie:
"A woobie (named for a child's security blanket) is that character you want to give a big hug, wrap in a blanket and feed soup to when he or she suffers so very beautifully. Woobification of a character is a curious, audience-driven phenomenon, divorced almost entirely from the character's canonical morality.
The Woobie's appeal lies in how it allows the audience to experience catharsis. The Greek philosopher Aristotle proposed that tragedy is popular because it allows people to experience and let out their negative emotions, "cleansing" themselves. The Woobie is popular for this same reason. A story with The Woobie allows the audience to vicariously experience relief from some pain by fantasizing about relieving The Woobie's pain..
Woobification can tie into a disturbing hurt/comfort dynamic, in which fans enjoy seeing the Woobie tortured, if only for the chance to wish the hurt away...
...An important aspect of The Woobie is that their suffering must have its genesis in external sources...
In Imperial Barack's speech, we encounter two Woobies, a live one, and a dead one.
The living Woobie, with whom you are supposed to identify, to take her suffering as your own, as an example not only of your vicarious urge to live an extraordinary life, where injury to the ennobled is injury to yourself, but as a reminder also of your failings, your sins, your many compromises, of your smallness. You did not do something noble, something which drew the attention of Evil. You do not lead. You follow, so follow some more.
Lest you think I fabulate, the Imperial Barack's own words:
"...There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts. But know this: The hopes of a nation are here tonight. We mourn with you for the fallen. We join you in your grief. And we add our faith to yours that Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy will pull through..."
Start right there. You are part of the story. Not a lead, or a supporting member, but the narrative needs you. You belong. There's a reason you're in this story, sinner. You share in these so-called "hopes of a nation," though we will find out soon enough why you are not worthy of them. If you don't mourn, if you don't identify with the nation, sinner, with the "hole torn in [the] hearts" of good people, perhaps you side with killers. Perhaps your sins have gotten the better of you. Or worse, perhaps you agree with those vitriolic opponents who poison the moral environment of a better nation. The Woobie needs you. She lies near death, this Woobie, wounded by your sins of omission, and by the greater sins of the evil priests who have occulted the broken mind of a broken man, and guided his anger towards the targets they have painted.
"(Applause.) Scripture tells us: There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. On Saturday morning, Gabby, her staff and many of her constituents gathered outside a supermarket to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and free speech. (Applause.) They were fulfilling a central tenet of the democracy envisioned by our founders -- representatives of the people answering questions to their constituents, so as to carry their concerns back to our nation's capital. Gabby called it "Congress on Your Corner" -- just an updated version of government of and by and for the people. (Applause.) And that quintessentially American scene, that was the scene that was shattered by a gunman's bullets..."
The Woobie was noble. She was bright. She was a bridge between you and the shining ones, bringing power down to your level, that you might be enlivened with it, might be elevated by her descent. Her constituents, her loyal followers were co-dwelling in that democratic holiness, and God himself has ordained it. Her mission was to save you, to save this holy nation by carrying your will forward, towards the center of all power.
Later, lest we remain clouded by doubt, unclear as to her purpose, and her role, her civilizing mission and the great project so dear to the Woobie's heart - and our own failings by comparison:
"And in Gabby -- in Gabby, we see a reflection of our public-spiritedness; that desire to participate in that sometimes frustrating, sometimes contentious, but always necessary and never-ending process to form a more perfect union."
So, that's the live Woobie. And she's sitting there in the heart of this tale as a contrast to the dead one. And as a foil to the great evil of the agents of discord, contention, of division which obstructs the teleological imperative, the more perfect union. The one with men like Obama at the top, and you, basking in the reflected glory.
But the dead Woobie, the pale corpse that power so often finds so very fucking useful?
She's there to keep you in line. She's your murdered future. She's your failings, manifest. She was going to be somebody - a first somebody, a better somebody, a best somebody. And the sins and crimes of rhetoric and vitriol and discord and obstruction murdered her as surely did the bullets fired from the gun, the sadly legal gun, of a broken, wounded, puppet of a man.
Take a moment, if you will, and ponder what manner of man hammers home this point with the following words. A man who orders the deaths of innocents at least on a weekly basis. A man who pillaged, and continues to pillage the receipts of common labor, and the Commons, in order to reward the deceits and depredations of his own class. A man who will, by the end of his term, have spent more money on weapons of murder than any other man in the two hundred year long, sad, tired, sordid history of this so-called nation. A man who has arrogated to himself the right and the power of fiat murder. A man can bomb children and attend a fundraiser in the very same afternoon. A man who can kiss his wife good morning, and then go to work murdering the wives and daughters, sisters and mothers of strangers who have never done him a moment's wrong. This man, then:
"...None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped these shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man's mind. Yes, we have to examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future. (Applause.) But what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. (Applause.) That we cannot do. (Applause.) That we cannot do. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let's use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together. (Applause.) After all, that's what most of us do when we lose somebody in our family -- especially if the loss is unexpected. We're shaken out of our routines. We're forced to look inward. We reflect on the past: Did we spend enough time with an aging parent, we wonder. Did we express our gratitude for all the sacrifices that they made for us? Did we tell a spouse just how desperately we loved them, not just once in a while but every single day? So sudden loss causes us to look backward -- but it also forces us to look forward; to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us. (Applause.) We may ask ourselves if we've shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives. Perhaps we question whether we're doing right by our children, or our community, whether our priorities are in order. We recognize our own mortality, and we are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame -- but rather, how well we have loved -- (applause)-- and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better. (Applause.) And that process -- that process of reflection, of making sure we align our values with our actions -- that, I believe, is what a tragedy like this requires..."
Do you get the message, yet? You have failed. You have put the still living Woobie at the brink of death. You have made the pale, white Woobie into a corpse. Your failures. Your sins. Your willingness to listen to the vitriol of the enemies of concord and agreement.
You weren't nice to your mother. You failed to agree with a coworker. You bitched about work aloud. You wanted fame, or wealth, or status. You did not have sufficient moral understanding. You were not expansive enough to know how to love, to make the world a better place.
Told to you, this tale of your own sinfulness and apathy, your failure as a person and as citizen, by the most powerful, highest status, most deadly and dangerous famous man in the world. A man with wealth you will probably never, ever have. A man who actively sought that fame, power and wealth - and used you to get it. A man who spent hundreds of millions of dollars of other people's money to get it. A man who uses that power to protect those with status, power, fame and wealth. A man who murders those who get in the way of his high status, high power patrons and friends.
But, because you failed, because the whole nation isn't good enough anymore to keep alive the pale, White, dead Woobie - because "We" all let her die with our vitriol and self-debasement, she will never get a chance to be one of the ennobled ones. She won't get to be more of this:
"...That's what I believe, in part because that's what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed. (Applause.) Imagine -- imagine for a moment, here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that some day she, too, might play a part in shaping her nation's future. She had been elected to her student council. She saw public service as something exciting and hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted. I want to live up to her expectations. (Applause.) I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. I want America to be as good as she imagined it. (Applause.) All of us -- we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations. (Applause.) As has already been mentioned, Christina was given to us on September 11th, 2001..."
The holy, sacred White dead Woobie - born on a day of consecration, a day when the more perfect union found its calling again - she died for your sins.
Barack fucking Obama just told you so.
Barack fucking Obama - the guy who did this to a boy you don't know, a brown, unpeople, burnt and broken nobody without a name: