In an interview broadcast Sunday night on “60 Minutes,” Lady Gaga admitted that she wrote most of her songs under the influence of marijuana.
“I smoke a lot of pot when I write music,” she told Anderson Cooper, then demonstrated the side effect of short-term memory loss by adding, “I smoke weed when I write.”
It’s long been known that drug use can encourage the creative flow in many writers and other artists, from jazz musicians to novelists to rock stars. The lack of inhibitions it promotes can give rise to innovative thought patterns and lead to ideas that might not have been considered in the fog of sobriety.
Now, taking his cue from both the immensely successful pop star and from political observers who say we need “outside-the-box” perspectives to solve many of the nation’s chronic problems, President Obama told reporters yesterday that he wrote the $3 trillion 2012 federal budget submitted to Congress Monday while he was totally blitzed.
“Not just stoned, mind you,” he said. “Really, really stoned.”
Obama paid numerous homages to Lady Gaga in the 216-page document delivered to Capitol Hill yesterday. He titled the chapter devoted to cuts in military spending “Bad Defense,” an obvious reference to Gaga’s hit “Bad Romance.” He addressed the need to put reductions in Medicare and Social Security benefits on the table in a section called “End-End-Entitlements, End Entitlements,” sampling the rhythms and phrasing of the chorus from “Poker Face.” He even gave a shout-out to now-departed chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who helped draft the massive document before leaving the administration late last year. The “Acknowledgments” page at the end thanks “Rahm, Rahm, oo-la-la.”
The President offered his proposals for increasing some budgets while slashing others in an often-rambling style. He credited this stream-of-consciousness writing technique with allowing him to float improbable ideas and then build on them with hallucinations and illusions “that made sense at the time, though now a couple of days later, I’m not always sure what I meant.”
In one example, Obama suggested a way to rein in health care costs among aging Baby Boomers about to enter their Medicare years.
“Wouldn’t it be cool if we could get everybody who was sick into one big stadium, then have them describe their symptoms to each other, without having to get doctors involved?” he asked on page 158 of the proposal. “Everybody could bring a bag of the medicines they’re currently taking, and we could do a big swap meet kind of thing where patients could shop among these partially used prescriptions and try to find something that would work for them. We’d have a bunch of magazines sitting around the room with all those ads from the different pharmaceutical companies and all the potential side effects, and people could use these for reference about what they might need. Some participants would find exactly the medicine they need and get better, and some would end up with life-threatening allergic reactions that might take them out of the Medicare pool altogether. And some even might get a little high. That would be really cool.”
Obama used a similar blue-sky approach to address other domestic issues such as immigration and the mortgage foreclosure crisis.
“What if all the illegal Mexicans doing landscaping work could help keep up the outward appearances of these abandoned homes blighting many suburban neighborhoods?” he speculated. “If they worked hard enough, cut the grass really good, kept the leaves raked, and everything, then they could earn points toward owning that home themselves. And if there are any Edward Scissorhands types out there who could make some of that fancy topiary — maybe eagles and unicorns and tigers and puppies — they could move to the front of the line to achieve full citizenship status. And the original homeowners who couldn’t make their payments would be deported to Mexico. It’d be like a circle-of-life kind of thing. It would be awesome.”
Republicans in Congress were quick to attack many of the President’s proposals, charging that they did little to reduce the voluminous federal budget deficit.
“Some of these may have seemed like good ideas at 2:30 in the morning, with your belly full of pizza and your head full of funny smoke, but in the light of day, then just don’t make sense,” said House Speaker John Boehner. “I think that our proposals to eliminate aid to the poorest Americans while increasing tax breaks for the wealthy and the corporate elite represent a much more practical approach to the problems faced by our economy.”
“That’s cool, that’s cool, we can work with that,” Obama said in response to Boehner’s criticism. “Let me listen to ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ a few more times and see if we can’t work some of that in there. I’m in a very bipartisan place right now. ‘Come on people now, smile on your brother,’ they say. ‘Everybody get together, try to love one another right now.'”