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.

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