Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Most mornings, I begin my day with Social Studies, which gaurantees me 30-60 minutes of relative quiet from my students. During this time, I check my emails, holler at the blogosphere, and get my dose of news. Today I happened upon this Op-Ed from the NY Times. Since it channelled the works of John Milton, #4 on my list of favorite authors (after Shakespeare, Donne, and Carl Phillips), in reference to Obama, I thought it worth a repost.
The Power of Passive Campaigning
In the aftermath of the 2000 and 2004 elections, the post-mortem verdict was that the Republicans had run a better campaign. They knew how to seize or manufacture an issue. They were able to master the dynamics of negative advertising. They kept on message. Now, when many print and TV commentators are predicting if not assuming an Obama victory, the conventional wisdom is that this time the Democrats have run a better campaign.
When did the Democrats smarten up? When did they learn how to outdo the Republicans at their own game?
The answer is that they didn’t. They decided — or rather Obama decided — to play another game, one we haven’t seen for a while, and it’s a question as to whether we’ve ever seen it. The name of this game is straightforward campaigning, or rather straightforward non-campaigning.
We saw it in the 10 days when the activity around the mounting economic crisis was at its height. Henry Paulson alternated between scaring members of Congress and scaring the public. Nancy Pelosi alternated between playing the responsible Congressional statesperson and playing the partisan attack dog. Media commentators went from one hysterical prediction to another. John McCain went from saying there’s nothing to worry about to saying there’s everything to worry about to saying that he would fix everything by suspending his campaign to saying that he was not suspending his campaign and that he would debate after all.
And Barack Obama? He didn’t do much and he said less (O.K., he did say some reassuring, optimistic things), and his poll numbers went up.
Weeks later, the pattern continues, but in an even more intense form. The McCain campaign huffs and puffs and jumps from charge to charge: Obama consorts with terrorists; he’s a socialist; he’s a communist; he is un-American; he’s not one of us; he’s a celebrity; he’s going to take your money and give it to people who never did a day’s work; he’s going to sell out Israel; he’ll cozy up to foreign dictators; he’s measuring the drapes.
In response, Obama explains his tax policy for the umpteenth time, points out that capitalists like Warren Buffet support him, details his relationship with Bill Ayers, lists those he consults with, observes that Senator McCain, by his own boast, voted with President George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, and calls for change.
What he (or his campaign) doesn’t do is bring up the Keating Five, or make veiled references to McCain’s treatment of his first wife, or make fun of Sarah Palin (she doesn’t need any help), or disparage his opponent’s experience, or hint at the disabilities of age. He just stands there looking languid (George Will called him the Fred Astaire of politics), always smiling and never raising his voice.
Meanwhile, McCain’s surrogates get red in the face on TV when they try to explain away the latest jaw-dropping thing Sarah Palin has said, or proclaim that anything can happen in seven days, or respond to ever more discouraging poll numbers by saying (how’s this for a weak cliché) that the only poll that counts is the poll on election day. (I know things are bad when my wife, a staunch Democrat, feels sorry for them.)
What’s going on here? I find an answer in a most unlikely place, John Milton’s “Paradise Regained,” a four-book poem in which a very busy and agitated Satan dances around a preternaturally still Jesus until, driven half-crazy by the response he’s not getting, the arch-rebel (i.e., maverick) loses it, crying in exasperation, “What dost thou in this world?”
Now, I don’t mean to suggest that McCain is the devil or that Obama is the Messiah (although some of his supporters think of him that way), just that the rhetorical strategies the two literary figures employ match up with the strategies employed by the two candidates. What Satan wants to do is draw Jesus out, provoke him to an unwisely exasperated response, get him to claim too much for his own powers. What Jesus does is reply with an equanimity conveyed by the adjectives and adverbs that preface his words: “unaltered,” “temperately,” “patiently,” “calmly,” “unmoved,” “sagely,” “in brief.”
In response, Satan gets ever more desperate; he conjures up rain and wind storms (in the midst of which Jesus sits “unappalled in calm”); he tempts him with the riches of poetry and philosophy (which Jesus is careful neither to reject nor deify); and finally, having run out of schemes and scares and “swollen with rage,” he resorts to physical violence (McCain has not gone so far, although some of his supporters clearly want to), picking Jesus up bodily and depositing him on the spire of the temple in the hope that he will either fall to his death or turn into Superman and undermine the entire point of his 40-day trial in the wilderness. He doesn’t do either. He does nothing, and Satan, “smitten with amazement” — even this hasn’t worked — “fell.”
Toward the end, the poem describes the mighty contest in a metaphor that captures its odd and negative dynamic. Jesus is “a solid rock” continually assaulted by “surging waves”; and even though the repeated assaults result only in the waves being “all to shivers dashed,” they keep on coming until they exhaust themselves “in froth or bubbles.” The power Jesus generates is the power of not moving from the still center of his being and refusing to step into an arena of action defined by his opponent. So it is with Obama, who barely exerts himself and absorbs attack after attack, each of which, rather than wounding him, leaves him stronger. It’s rope-a-dope on a grand scale.
And McCain knows it. Last Wednesday, campaigning in New Hampshire, he spoke sneeringly about Obama’s campaign being “disciplined and careful.” That’s exactly right, and so far the combination of discipline and care — care not to get out too far in front of anything — along with a boatload of money is working just fine. Jesus is usually the political model for Republicans, but this time his brand of passive, patient leadership is being channeled by a Democrat.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Feist - Honey, Honey
One thing I love about white music is that they will work an album forever. Iunt even know how old The Reminder is anymore, but i do know this song is and always has been heat rock. It now has a cool friggin video to go along with it. Disfruta.
Simply because it's been so long since a proper update, I figured I'd come outta left field with this. I'd give details, but their internet game is sick and I don't want this post deleted. Here's the vid of their first single.
So yeah it's not for everyone. It might make you consider 'shrooming with liberal hippy white friends. Might not. Either way, I'm a fan. And oh yeah, click the album cover to download.
P.S. The password is tfy
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Shame on you if you've never seen this. It is a classic youtube video. I'm only posting it because a few of my students this year remind me of this dude (sadly).
There are adults like this who procreate with one another and create children like this. I've met these adults and I (try to) teach their kids.
I wish I were lying.
lifted blatantly from NahRight.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Beyonce - Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)
So yeah, I knew about the "If I Were A Boy" video early cuz it was shot at Casa Frela. This one, however, snuck up on me on Vh1 Soul last night. And when I say "snuck up," I mean I don't think I blinked during the entire 3 minutes and 19 seconds for fear that I would miss something. Cot durn...
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Surprise, surprise! Caught this last night on Keith Olberman. (Yeah, I spend my Friday nights watching cable news.) After realizing that he had no message, John McCain's smear campaign against Obama has come back to bite him. Twice in the same town hall, he was forced to play the role of gentleman and personally put the lid on the bigoted rhetoric his campaign has been dishing out. Obama's an arab and white people should be scared of a President Obama? Nigga please.
Despite what the talking heads on TV are saying, I think McCain's public disavowal here of what his wife and Sarah Palin have been propagating is genuine. I'm not so cynical as to think McCain only did that to look like a gentleman-politician. At the end of the day, McCain is a decent white guy and I'm sure he probably didn't like the idea of running such a dirty campaign through the next month. Nonetheless, the fact that this happened in front of TV cameras (twice) during his supposed preferred format, a town hall, is the sweetest of ironies. You reap what you sow.
NBC interviewed the senile "Obama is an arab" woman here:
And oh, I almost forgot about the Palin Troopergate Report that came out yesterday too:
Friday, October 10, 2008
Song has no title (yet), but Hov takes a swipe at Fat Joe and the beat is niiiiiiice. It feels good to hear Jay take shots at niggas again.
Edit: It's 6-7 years old. No wonder.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Not sure what they're doing over at Sony, but for all the internet bullying they did in getting two of my posts deleted, you'd think they'd do better than to let Mr. Green Light's album leak 2.5 weeks before it's official release date. I mean durn, even Jazmine Sullivan's album didn't hit the web til a few days before its official release. Oh well, guess that's karma. Sorry Johnny, but I'm givin it up for free.99. Click the album cover to download.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
I'm always filled with about 3 seconds of ambivalence whenever the 'Skins play the Eagles, only cuz I live in Philly now. Nevertheless, the Hog-head within always prevails, as did my boys! Coming back from 14-0 to win 23-17? YEAH BUDDY! That NFC East is not a game. And with the next few games against the sucky Rams and Browns, and then at Detroit, my boys might be 7-1 by the time they hit FedEx Field again versus Pittsburgh. I'm not calling Super Bowl, this division is way too tough for that, but cot durn if they haven't made a DMV'er like myself happy Sunday after Sunday.
Zorn = NFL Obama. HIP HIP! HOORAY!
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
This won't last long. Blogger deleted the post I put up of his jawn with Estelle. Like I said, his team at Sony are internet bullies. Whatever's clever; get it while you can.
Those trumpets from SWV's "Anything" reminded me just how good the original was. Pharrell's version is good, but SWV kilt that jawn.
I used to hate October as a shorty because it meant I had to wait a month before my birthday and it was a dead zone for sports. Baseball just ended, Basketball was a month away, and the NFL was only 4 weeks in, which we all know is no indicator of postseason play. I know... in New York, Cleveland, Atlanta, baseball ran right up to the season openers for the the Knicks, Indians & Braves, but not in Chicago. Save for the man-god that is/was Michael Jordan and his supporting motley crews, Chi-town sports wasn't hittin on shit.
The Cleveland Indians threw salt on my childhood every year, with the exception of Bo Jackson's 3-run bomb in '93 that led us to the slaughter against Joe Carter's Blue Jays and the strike-shortened 1994 campaign that had us in first place before the doors closed. Everybody knew it... they even made movies about them niggas (see Major League)Truth be told, for about 5 years Cleveland had the most gangsta starting 9 in the entire sport. Worst part is, them niggas never capitalized and brought back any hardware.
2000 gave me hope as the White Sox turned into the "South Side Hitmen" once more, setting all types of records for home runs and rbis, but alas, we were felled by poor pitching and got banged on by Seattle's last good lineup. Then came the World Series in '05 after which my daddy cried on the phone. [We love this game]
Last night, the southsiders who led the central division until last week (due to a horrendous September), had to win a winner-take-all one game playoff against the Minnesota Twins to determine who was going to see October. Ironically, it would be former Cleveland Whitesoxkillers DH, Jim Thome who put the proverbial nail in the coffin with this one-run blast in the 7th.
Anybody that knows me knows, this month-long pennant race has been hell on my nerves but please believe I slept good last night. Next stop, Tampa. Holla Chad.