Monday, February 25, 2008


It’s no accident that Obama backlash coincided with Juno backlash …

What the fuck am I saying? Of course it’s an accident. At least, I hope so. But if consensus changes with the undulation of Facebook memes, then maybe I’m onto something here. I like Obama. I like Ellen Page. They’re both really talented. I doubt the former has the experience or moral authority to be President. And I don’t think the latter should win an Academy Award just yet (lets spare this one ember of talent from the Oscar Kiss of Obsolescence, please). But I can’t wait to see what each of them does next.

So if Washington is a "Hollywood for ugly people" and Hollywood is a "Washington for stupid people," what do you do with a photogenic candidate like Obama? How do you talk about an Oscars race in an election year? If you think my tagline here sounds superficial, check out the absurd pop-mashup analysis provided by Dana Stevens at Slate:

Hansard and Irglová's lovely of performance of "Falling Slowly," their halting DIY ballad, compared to Kristin Chenoweth's studiously proficient belting of that big Enchanted number as an Obama rally compares to a McCain event. It was a glimpse of a possibility that the old (71-year-old party warhorses and chirpy blondes borne on the shoulders of male dancers)—may be giving way to the new (Kenyan-Hawaiian-Illinoisan activists and Czech/Irish songwriting teams). And for the first time since 1964, all four acting awards went to non-Americans. Are we seeing an opening up of the Oscars' borders?

Yeah. Does this mean that the Cohen Bros' triumph is like Goldwater's sweep of ... no, wait, I got one! If Chenoweth is Pat Nixon and ... no, hold on! I never knew a movie that had been shot and edited, reviewed, distributed, etc. could gain momentum the way a Presidential candidate does. And while 1964 might have been a watershed year for Oscar demographics, it was also the end of Camelot and the beginning of the second act of the Vietnam War. That's not to say that there isn't already a vivid confluence of art and politics. For that kind of criticism, check out Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader and Walter "Mac" Davis.

We see Barack Obama as the antidote ethos to the Bush years. Just say “change” and “hope” for every time we heard “terror” and “freedom” and the ghosts of 89,000 Iraqi civilians will leave us alone. Yes, we can … extract the carnivorous fangs of “W” and replace them with a slack-jawed exclamation of transcendence: “O.” Yes, it is entirely within our capability to chant in fealty to the Symbolic Order with the same pitch of icon-worship that brought the Son of Bush to preside over a displaced apocalypse at the Millennium. Yes, I can manufacture a thousand mash-ups of feeble historicity when these are the terms of the debate. If we accept that Rove has permanently converted the political stage into a Skinner Box, Obama may yet top the Bush legacy by instituting his own Hope Alert Level after inauguration day.


Hey, the guy’s great. With a speech and some practice, he’s dynamite. In debate, he has a hard time finishing sentences. Not that he has Bush’s syntactic paralysis; he has a cheering crowd that drowns him out four words in. Both phenomena short-change the electorate and short-circuit the debate.

You wanna know how he can get my vote? Right here and now, no turning back? When someone at the debate finally asks what he plans on doing about that old pledge with John McCain to accept public funding, he could say:

Yes. I believe this campaign should be about ideas, not money. I believe, along with the good Senator McCain, that money is not speech. As of today, I am urging all of my contributors to put down the checkbook for a moment, go outside, and talk to a neighbor, a friend, a relative, about why they feel compelled to give to this campaign. Let's make that our instrument of change and have a level playing field with a worthy opponent this fall.
Sign me up.


kittything said...

i need to converse with more smart people. regularly.

Anonymous said...

"backlash" is the opiate of the prancy.

i think you are ready for portland, or... a location that dares to rival seattle for being the geographical embodiment of the phrase: "i actually liked their first album."

very truly,

AVANT-GARDE. said...

I don't know who I'm voting for yet. Ack!

though, if Ellen Page was running, I'd totally vote for her.