Not making a difference since 2006. Blog motto: Always be sincere whether you mean it or not.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Inauthentic is the New Authentic

Dan Kennedy is a veteran journalist covering the Boston area. When he sticks to that mission he's good.

To say he is a partisan of the Democrat Party is understatement at gold medal level if there were an Olympic event for that. When the Palin announcement came out, he was Johnny on the spot. I'm going out on a limb and say I have slight doubts that he said to himself, "Hmmmm, I'm going to research her and I do hope I only find good."

But it is older post that we are concerned with now.

On August 26 he wrote,

A presidential makeover

In my latest for the Guardian, I argue that two contrasting speeches by Michelle Obama show she understands what works in Chicago doesn't work on the national stage. Unfortunately for Democrats, the Obamas' efforts to reinvent themselves risk making them seem inauthentic and leave them vulnerable to Republican attack. (italics mine)

When the Obamas say something and get jittery, they change it and Dan is worried that mean spirited folks might notice. Noticing a contradiction in his eyes is bad form and I would not be shocked if he thinks it hate speech. He certainly feels it "wrong think" anyway.

Get over it Dan, "politics ain't bean bag."

So I commented

I don't understand the word "seem" here. Are you implying that the Obama's reinvention is genuine or only "seems" inauthentic?

Are not reinventers ipso facto inauthentic?

If that is so, then yes they are vulnerable to "genuine" attacks even from hacks like Severin*.

Another comment appeared,

Neil said....

A week or so ago Tom Ashbrook had as his On Point guest Richard Todd, the author of The Thing Itself, a kind of meditation on authenticity. I haven't read the book yet, I think it'll be on the fall pile, but he was quite witty about the slippery, even ineffable notion of what's "authentic". One caller mentioned that some Europeans come here specifically to experience "authentic" American kitsch of the sort we dismiss as worthless trash. Another talked about taking his students to Central America, where they searched for locally-made trinkets, and Indian souvenir shops selling items from China.

Last week in Montreal I nearly bought a hollow wooden frog that comes with a stick you clack across its back. For some reason I figured it was locally made. Label on the bottom: Made in Thailand. Uck no thanks, inauthentic! Had I been in Bangkok though, such a product of a local sweatshop would have been just the thing.

In short I think it's nearly impossible and maybe pointless to pick through the layers of the global economy in the search for "authentic" objects. And even more pointless to look for it in politicians who by nature must arrange themselves into configurations that the public can accept. How authentic is Ranchman Bush, or McCain and his "cabin"? The answer isn't that they are inauthentic, it's that to even imagine that authenticity can exist among such people, is absurd.

Republicans will of course attack Obama and his wife no matter how they behave, so hewing to some imaginary line of authenticity to avoid such attacks is pointless.

Et voilà, Inauthentic is the new authentic.

*Jay Severin is a goofy Boston talk show host whose buffoonery is chronicled here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A speech for the ages, The Dark Ages

Hilary's vapid promise of everything for everybody is still reaping the plaudits of the msm and will be pilloried by talk radio today. I want to discuss what is, in our nation ancient history, the night before.

Ted Kennedy appeared before the faithful and gave maybe his last speech. I have dealt with the man and his illness before and see no need to here. Suffice it to say, the man could not put two words together on his own and has always been the creature of his staff.

The other night, he was ill served. Granted, I did not pay attention, the radio was background noise. What jarred me were the words, "To change America, to restore its future."

The lad or lass who wrote those words no doubt had a lot of high priced schooling. His mom and dad should get there money back. A future cannot be restored.

FDR said he never aimed a speech higher than the level of a thirteen year old. Aim high was not the motto the other night.

You never hear something like, "We are called to leave alone those who want to be left alone." Pity.

Friday, August 08, 2008

O Canada

Mr. Stephen Harper
Prime Minister
Dominion of Canada

Dear Mr. Harper,

I write in the spirit of brotherhood that exists between Canada and the United States. A CBC radio program that airs here in the states unintentionally embarassed your nation. I quote the offending segment aired on August 6 of 2008,

Duration: 00:01:26

Dateline: Huntsville, TexasThe message to the international community was pretty clear. Don't mess with Texas.

Last week, As It Happens brought you the story of a Mexican death row inmate who was due to be executed within days. José Medellín was convicted in the rape and murder of two teenage girls - a conviction he never contested. Nevertheless, his case became something of an international cause célèbre. For although Mr Medellín was a Mexican national, it seems that he was never informed of his right to consular assistance. Foreigners were granted that right under the 1963 Vienna Convention - something to which both the U-S and Mexico are signatories.

Mr Medellín's lawyers and the Mexican government argued that his execution should be put off until a hearing could be held to determine whether or not his original trial was fair. And the International Court of Justice in the Hague agreed. The court ordered the United States not to execute Mr Medellín while it was reviewing his case. Even President Bush - who could not exactly be described as being soft on crime - urged Texas prosecutors to stay the execution and reopen the case.

But yesterday, the state's Republican governor, Rick Perry, offered his definitive response to their pleas. Jose Medellín died just before 10pm after being given a lethal injection. A spokesman for the governor said "the world court has no standing in Texas". For the sake of Americans living abroad, let's hope that the justice systems in other countries are more inclined to follow international law."

Is he saying that if an American commits kid murder in another country and they execute him, it will be a horrible injustice if he does not see the consul? Somehow, as dumbed down as many of my countrmen are, I hope they do not see this as a problem. Is he implying that law abiding US Americans (as Miss SC calls us) are now in trouble because other countries will rise up to avenge the noble Mr. Medellin? The implication of international barbarism is a slander on the rest of the world.

Really, Mr. Harper, tell the CBC to get a grip.

With brotherly love,

the voice of humility

Monday, August 04, 2008

Plus ça change, all over again

That stimulus check you got from the government got more than eaten up by inflation according to Marketwatch.

I'll be glad when the Dems win the White House and we can get some fiscal sanity.

Oh, wait. Isn't the O Man planning on a stimulus packages.

Change you can, oh never mind.

Friday, August 01, 2008

How Black People Became Irish

It is 1960 and morning at Parochial School. The normal orderly routine of prayer then lessons has been suspended. We are in celebration. An Irish Catholic American has been elected president. There has always been an undercurrent of "We are the better Americans, first to serve in war, yet not really accepted." Now, the validation.

Never mind that a Mick mayor and WASP Texan had done a bit of fancy footwork. That won't come out until it is irrelevant. Forget that Kennedy is not the rosary saying family man as portrayed. That also can wait till it does not matter. Nous sommes arrivé.

Sister Lucille, our teacher had been given a bit of tchotchkes as a gift. A little letter holder in the shape of a dachsund. Gushing, she told us that in celebration of the day, she would call it JFK.

Now, in 2008, in our current quadrennial search for a fuhrer, another ethnic group has their man in the battle for chief executive. And it is their man. They had plighted their troth to another family and it had been expected their support would descend on that pretender. The crown princess had been pandering for years. Yet, when someone entered the fray who bore at least superficial similarities, they abandoned their old patrons in a trice.

There is no praise high enough for Obama. The man is being likened to a deity. Yes, it's silly, but no sillier than JFKmania of my childhood. James Collier of the blog Acting White is pretty level headed even for someone who has an affinity for Nascar and weird bounty hunters, still extrapolates, "It may be that because he was born of two ancestries, one black, one white, he reached a harmony of the two that aides his leadership ability, and just maybe the country's too." Wow, the man is one with the gods. Hey, maybe he is right, maybe not.

When Kennedy won, we celebrated in the burbs, not inner city "Dawchestah"* where I was born. Our postwar dads had moved up a lot of ladders. Vatican II was making the Catholic Church into, "Unitarianism with a Pope."** Assimilation is complete enough to make the whole thing irrelevant.

So will an Obama election change things. Don't know. Is the Black American population on the verge of assimilation? Living in exurbia in self employed and under employed Swamp Yankeeness, I would not be able to say. It is over twenty years since I had any connection to an urban professional environment. People in professions tend to get along because the consequences of non cooperation are obvious. When I was mispending my youth and driving a cab, I would observe a sea of black faces and though not universally unfriendly, hardly palsy walsy. To be fair, in the old white neighborhoods, there was oft a left behind by life ambience. How much has changed?

I doubt the cleansing effect of an Obama presidency. Yeat's line at the beginning of Easter 1916, "Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart" may not have the same import as for Israel/Palestine, Sunni/Shia, or Hutu/Tutsi, but maybe it's close enough for government work.

If he wins, he has one thing going for him. Coming after GWB is not the hardest act to follow.

*English translation, Dorchester.

**D. Keith Mano