Two of the president's most odious ceremonial functions must be the elevation of scoundrels and the ritual humiliation of true cultural heroes with medals of degraded alloy.
On May 31 there was the unveiling of the twin portraits of George W and his little mouse. My mind often wanders while watching such undignified ceremonial attempts of patent insincerity to fantasies of Justice Department officials jumping from behind the curtains and dragging W off in cuffs. "We got ya now - never thought this was a set up did ya?")
This travesty was preceded by the Tuesday "knighting" of Bob Dylan. In the "60s, the singer songwriter, who has been called the conscience of a generation, would have welcomed just such an opportunity to spit in the eye of a Master of War like President Obama and toss this worthless Medal of Freedom back in his smirking face. Now the enigmatically sun-glassed poet placidly allowed this symbolic albatross to be hung around his neck.
Dylan received his dubious award at Obama's blood-stained hands the same day the New York Times reported the president's personal supervising of a "kill list," of those to be illegally assassinated by the US military or CIA.
Would this appalling confirmation that Obama was a war criminal have deterred Dylan from appearing at the White House? Homeland Security officials no doubt make certain that recipients have either agreed not to cause a scene or have been properly medicated for the occasion.
Still remembered with embarrassment is the time Eartha Kitt disrupted an official White House function and took Lady Bird Johnson to task for her husband's conduct of the Vietnam War.
No journalist noted the irony that the composer of some of the most militant antiwar songs was receiving this award from one of our greatest warmongering presidents.
Dylan hasn't written anything memorable in 40 years. But I was hoping, for old time sake, to catch at least a glimpse of the old Tambourine Man.
Was the joke on Obama after all? A friend quipped that he heard that it was not Dylan himself who received the honor but a clever animatronic developed by the Disney imagineers.
Perhaps the times still are a changin' after all!
One of Obama's fellow war criminals, Shimon Peres failed to show up to receive his Medal of Freedom at the official ceremony. (Do you think he suspected a trap?)