Saturday, February 09, 2008
Attack of the Ironists
If ripe supporters have not yet caught up to the phenomenon of Obama and become voters, our ever- present commentariat is feeling about for the pulse and begun the dissection.
The "L.A. Times'" Joel Stein, is ambivalent, which is perhaps the most responsible posture at this point. Obama has done nothing to deserve an outright discrediting. He has his message and he is truly singing it.
"You are embarrassing yourselves," writes Stein. "With your "Yes We Can" music video, your "Fired Up, Ready to Go" song, your endless chatter about how he's the first one to inspire you, to make you really feel something..."
He says Obamaphilia has "gotten creepy," but in the end can't bring himself to resist.
"All of this is clear to me, and yet I have fallen victim.".
At the "New York Times," David Brooks has "Questions for Doctor Retail," which labored much to put the Billary and Barack candidacies in categories; she somehow for the stupid, but hard working bunch; Obama for the people with enough economic security to go in for a more fulfilling politics.
But this is too easy as this article in the "Washington Post," entitled "Divided Democrats," makes clear. White women and Latinas vote for Obama, too, and there are black men who support Hillary.
Curiously, Obama has talked these folks into a corner with a rhetoric that bemoans their tendency to easily break a nation into demographic fractions and, more importantly, by sensing the resentment of people to be rendered rats in a pollster's maze.
By winning with that message.
The "Yes We Can" musical mash-up they mock as touch-feely and emotional anticipates the criticism:
"We have been told," says the candidate, "that we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics. They will only grow louder and more dissonant. We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We have been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America there has never been anything false about hope."
Brooks and Stein are part of something that was supposed to have died after 9/11; but we were in mourning at that time and doing stupid things like passing The Patriot Act, waterboarding and predicting the end of irony.
These and other writers are, intelligent folks, doing their job of vetting large storms on the demographic radar. They have deemed intelligence as something estranged from a politics of poetic conception. Politics that does not lean upon Ms. Clinton's "program/policy for every problem" approach.
But the marriage of intelligence and poetry is not unreal, only uncommon. It represents the best in us and cannot be pulled off by just anyone. It doesn't appear in succeeding generations, rather once in a true and blue moon.