Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why we are all Americans*

Part Two.

Because, cliche though it may be, we want have one person who can be a lightning rod for our hopes.

Because this man is not that man (more about this later).

Because it's one heck of a show-must-go-on moment (talking of which, read this.).

Because everybody loves a hero.

Oh, just because I intend to watch as much of it as I can so I can feel all connected to history and all that. So that, when people ask me what I was doing when Obama became President, I can say all misty-eyed, that I was watching teevee. And it's more exciting than the 9pm movie anyway.

*Like that moment in that alien attack film, no? What was it called? Independence Day?


Veena said...

Independence Day? Really? Not Le Monde on 9/11? My memory must be failing now that I have reached the middle ages.

Anyway. I know what I was doing when it happened. Just dont delete the blog.

Space Bar said...

Middle ages. Isn't there that bit when the guy claims that the 4th of July is the world's Independence Day?

And sigh. I was just considering deleting this post (blog is too drastic even for me. At least just now it is.)

kuffir said...

'we want have one person who can be a lightning rod for our hopes.'

you aren't serious, i am sure. those kind of wishes create modis.

Space Bar said...

kuffir: Actually, I am perfectly serious. We all do want, if we're honest with ourselves, someone who will bear the burden of our hopes for us. What shape those hopes take depend on who you're pinning them on.

And will have to disagree with you there about the line you seem to be drawing between the inauguration and Modi. Modi is, not to put too fine a point on it, a mass murderer, morally corrupt and culpable. I don't see how you can compare him with Obama -if you are indeed doing that.

Besides, 'hope' is not a word one associates with Modi.

If you mean, however, that an event of the kind that we saw yesterday leans towards a demonstration of power in its architecture that is at odds with its verbal promise, here's a bit from George Szrites' post I'll point you to:

And that is actually momentous. Wonderful. Dazzling. Quite brilliant. Don't give us 'the patsy'. Don't give us 'the military-industrial complex'. Here he is, full straight eloquence and gravitas.

Is he a symbol as much as a person? Yes. But symbols are not hollow. There are times when they are solid, electric, stuffed full of life, dizzying and dangerous. They are the broad-brush poetry of life, and whoever said poetry was always on the side of the angels? Leni Riefenstahl's work is beautiful and symbolic and poetic and deadly poisonous.

Obama is the opposite kind of symbol. He has not stepped over the border into myth. He remains fully human. He gives hope that he, and we, may remain that way.

(I knew I should have deleted this post.)

kuffir said...

what was i comparing? i was pointing out shifting 'burdens of hope' to individuals has its problems. modi, like obama, attracts these burdens too. bush attracted his share too.