Friday, October 5, 2012
Obama's Denver Impolsion: Of Myths, Both Legitimate and Perverse
by JACK BLAIR
My heart goes out to the media and Obama's demoralized supporters. They are all grasping for some kind of explanation for Obama’s implosion on Wednesday night. So he is an intellectual, an introvert, a writer-type. He is so cerebral that he doesn’t possess the degraded skill set of a competent debater. He was preoccupied with the condition of the economy, and about troubling global events. He is so basically good and truthful that he was completely overwhelmed by the lies and duplicity of Romney.
On the other hand, if we were to employ Occam’s Razor, we could easily conclude that Obama sucked on Wednesday night.
But of course, that is engaging in the “low-effort thinking of conservatives,” like a ballerina relinquishing her dignity at the Inaugural Nebraska Hoedown of the Low-Sloping Foreheads (with due acknowledgements to David “Crackpipe” Carr).
Let’s back up a bit. Recall 2004, when Obama gave the keynote address at the DNC convention. That was the coming out of the golden child, the moment that we all knew he would be our nation’s first black president. He was anointed. Thus commenced the media construction of Obama.
I’d call it the Obama Myth, but the word “myth” usually conveys something noble, and contains a truth (if embellished). America, for example, has its national myths – we are all familiar with Horatio Greenough’s sculpture of a toga-clad George Washington as Zeus on Olympus. It tells a story about who we are, and what is important to us. It may be fanciful, but it is a salutatory type of fancy.
With President Obama I see fancy, but of a pernicious type. It is a perversion of myth, a fiction foisted on us by a muddle-headed media and their accomplices on the academic Left. This is where propaganda is employed when the creation of a useful and noble myth is impossible to justify.
It is the type of perversion of the national story, a forced national myth, that we see in Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. We saw it in the mid-twentieth century in the USSR and Nazi Germany.
What shall we call it? Not the Obama Myth. The Obama Lie seems too obvious. I’ll call it the Obama Perversion.
A lot of adjectives could be applied to the man, but “introverted” has never been one of them. A common claim is that Obama is an “intellectual.” Tell me what exactly it is that he has contributed to any field of inquiry? I am aware of no instance when he has competed successfully (if at all) in the arena of ideas. I have heard of no groundbreaking or seminal contributions to legal theory or political philosophy produced by Obama. His time as editor of the Harvard Law Review is curiously bereft of any actual literary output. He wrote two memoirs, I believe, but these are no more than the obligatory bathroom reading that anyone who aspires to high office is expected to produce.
He has the weight of the country’s problems on his shoulders? If indeed he has been lately burdened by the state of the nation, he had a funny way of showing it. In the period immediately following the assassination of our diplomats at Benghazi, the President jaunted off to party with Jay-Z and Beyonce, and made media appearances hosted by David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, the Ladies of the View, and DJ Pimp with a Limp.
If we are to locate Obama even remotely within the orbit of intellectual life, perhaps we should place him alongside Warhol. Maybe we just don’t get him. By making the rounds of the pop-culture circuit, he has issued a sardonic rebuke of realpolitik that is so profound that it will take decades, even centuries for historians and cultural critics to unpack. He is the performance artist president – in fact presiding over the political equivalent of a happening. Yeah, baby. Dig it.
But if we re-elect him, it will be worse than Warhol. It will be out of pity. Just as Hunter Thompson was kept frozen in amber behind the International Affairs Desk at Rolling Stone long past his sell-date, so a re-elected Obama will remain a living relic, a curiosity representing that early 21st –century perversion of a myth that we once knew as Hope and Change.
Our real hope now, as the Oracle of Wasilla prophesied in the year 2008 C.E., is that those styro-doric columns that have flanked Barack Obama these past four years will finally be shrink-wrapped for permanent storage.