Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thank You Michael Chabon.

I thought I was being churlish, curmudgeon-like, lacking in empathy....

...and then this write-up in the Atlantic from Mr. Chabon (Tip of the Hat to Michael Schaum over at Bookslut for pointing this article out!).

If I may...
" Obama was figuring himself (extraordinarily, I think) not as the Great Father but, more messily and searchingly, as an imperfectly lowercase father, "shaken from [his] routines ... forced to look inward," struggling in the wake of calamity to reclaim and to strive to measure up to a set of principles the burden of whose observance falls so unevenly on the narrow shoulders of the young. He was, at that moment, talking directly to me.

And yet ... Was it all the weird, inappropriate clapping and cheering? Or the realization that I am so out of touch with the national vibe that I didn't know that whistling and whooping and standing ovations are, when someone evokes the memory of murdered innocent people, totally cool? I never would have thought that I'd spend so much of that solemn Wednesday thinking—first on publication of Sarah Palin's latest piece of narrishkeit about the blood libels, then all through the memorial service—please, I beg you, can you not, finally, just shut up? It was distancing. Distracting. As he joined in, at times, with the applause, the president's hard, measured handclaps, too close to the microphone, drowned out everything else in my kitchen right then, and seemed to be tolling the passing of something else besides human lives. I don't know what. Maybe just my own sense of connectedness to the cheering people in that giant faraway room. I didn't feel like applauding right then, not even in celebration of the persistence and continuity of human life and American values. And then I was ashamed of my curmudgeonliness. Those people, after all, many of them college students, were in a sports arena; architecture gives shape to behavior and thought. Maybe if the service had been held in a church, things would have played differently.

The speech and President Obama's delivery was superb and without the spectre of a vulture at a tragedy. I'll go along with Mr. Chabon and blame the venue for the reaction; buildings can take the heat.


I have to go with the curmudgeonly flow, here.

President Obama's eulogy (if one can call it that) was all wrong for the event. I would have preferred he just have shown up to be respectful, and not stepped up to the podium at all.

It was outright plain ol' tacky; a diarrhea of words and a constipation of thoughts.

Imagine if Bush behaved similarly; I would have crucified his butt on my blog.

I think that answered my problem. Obama is proving to be just as bad as Bush - all hat and no cattle.

(Except Bush might actually own a head or two...)
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