November 12, 2008

Obama's not megalomaniacal. He's Whitmanesque.

Blogs Anne Trubek.
He strode on the stage alone, addressed us alone, and left alone. The families joined him, but after they left he lingered, waving, alone. I am a singular figure, he was saying, but I am also all of you.

Singular and many. “I am large, I contain multitudes,” Walt Whitman wrote....

Like Whitman, Obama is wholly himself and the embodiment of us. Both meld individual self with national identity....
Meld individual self with national identity... Hmm. It's one thing for a poet to do that, but for a political leader? I will refrain from naming the leaders that spring to mind. The embodiment of us.... But what if I don't want to be embodied?
At Grant Park, Obama was evidence that, as Whitman wrote in the preface to his epic “Leaves of Grass,” “The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it.” Obama absorbs Whitman, we absorb Obama, and “the United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.”
So are we absorbing him, or is he absorbing us? I'm not sure how this Oneness is supposed to proceed.

35 comments:

Ron said...

Meanwhile somewhere in South America the really old man from Berchtesgaden, nods and says, "Been there, done that."

AllenS said...

Obama + Osmosis

Obamosis

dbp said...

"I'm not sure how this Oneness is supposed to proceed."

For those like Anne Trubek, who one can only presume, wants to be "embodied"; it will all be very easy.

Clever people who know what is good for them will pretend to want to be "embodied", just so they will be left alone. I mean left alone, after performing their voluntary 100 hours of community service of course.

Last are people too stubborn to play along. They will be re-educated.

Bissage said...

IIRC, it was a Charles Barsotti cartoon of an educated looking peddler standing on a city street corner beside his business sign.

The sign read: “I am a poet and I sing myself. I will sing you, too, for a modest fee.”

For Ms. Trubek’s sake, I hope she got her money up front.

caffeine soldier said...

There sure are some lunatics who have been smoking too much Obama...

Joan said...

Ew.

In Doctor Who, the Absorbaloff was a monster. I think they got that right.

I don't want to be absorbed, I don't believe Barack Obama is the embodiment of anyone other than himself, and the only person I want to achieve any sort of Oneness with is my husband.

Let's put separation of Church and State on the back burner for a bit, and work on separation of politics and sex.

Original George said...

....—Nor [would I forget] the comet that came unannounced out of the north, flaring in heaven;
Nor the strange huge meteor procession, dazzling and clear, shooting over our heads,
(A moment, a moment long, it sail’d its balls of unearthly light over our heads,
Then departed, dropt in the night, and was gone;)
—Of such, and fitful as they, I sing—....

Year of comets and meteors transient and strange....

Year of Meteors
1860

For an example of how quickly euphoria turns to "awful consternation, uncertainty, rage, shame, helplessness, and stupefying disappointment," consider Whitman's essay about the aftermath of the Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) in which he describes the mood in Washington after the defeated Union army returned to its streets, shocked and dazed.

(Also, I just noticed that if you go to Wiki's entry on the battle, someone has entered some goofy comments about the Japanese Imperial Army fighting side-by-side with Confederates....!)

Eric Trimmer said...

See "Galactic Pot-Healer" by Philip K. Dick.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactic_Pot-Healer

Henry said...

The Whitman line just before "I am large" is one Obama can fall back on in need:

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself

I'm not a fan of Whitman (I prefer the spare over the fulsome), but another line I've always liked is this (out of context):

The lord advances, and yet advances, always the shadow in front

Whitman then goes all literal in his messianic imagery, but I prefer the idea on its own: the pairing of dynamism and unforeseeable consequence.

rhhardin said...

Take bets on how long it is until Obama is officially declared an asshole.

Maguro said...

So Obama is also our first Amoeba-American president. How novel!

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

A dose of Obama should include six rolls of extra absorbent Charmin.

SGT Ted said...

God, 8 years of this gushing twaddle.

AllenS said...

8 years? I thought he once said 8-10 years.

Smilin' Jack said...

He strode on the stage alone, addressed us alone, and left alone.

But unlike Whitman, he's not going to leave us alone.

John Burgess said...

The fun thing about blank canvas is that anyone can fill it with anything: dreams, ambitions, fears, desires.

Consider the 'O', rotund but void in the middle. One can project anything and everything into it.

It is the uncollapsed superposition of politics.

Palladian said...

I might be wrong, but I have a guess what part of Obama Anne Trubek wants to "absorb". Any time a woman writes about how a man "strode" anywhere, you know she wants him to fuck her.

Richard Dolan said...

"Like Whitman, Obama is wholly himself and the embodiment of us. Both meld individual self with national identity...."

Unlike Whitman's version, O's Song of Myself has always had a very specific focus and purpose. O "meld[s] individual self with national identity" only to the extent that studied self-invention and promotion are part of the American story. It may be Whitmanesque but not in the sense when Trubek means.

Sofa King said...

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

Palladian said...

"When Barack Obama strode to the podium at Grant Park, he did so with a preternaturally assured demeanor"

One of the meanings of the word "preternatural" is "abnormal".

"...as if addressing millions as the next President was ordinary, expected..."

Yes, generally we do expect that someone who has just been elected President will address millions as the next President.

"...what he was born to do..."

Born Prince Obama, carrier of the Blood Royal.

"He was replete..."

Replete? You mean "glutted, gorged, stuffed"? With what, hope or sandwiches?

"....he emitted security."

He has his own personal force field? Or is this like a nocturnal emission? Maybe it's a typo. Maybe she means he "omitted security". No, we know he didn't do that...

"Obama is the American striver, the individualist, the Great Man."

Wow, good think those Aeron chairs have mesh seats or else Ms Trubek would have to be calling the upholstery cleaner right about now.

"Yet he is also American diversity, democratic, the Representative Man."

Her capitalization scares me.

"He is unique and the product of many. He made himself but we made him."

I made Obama?! Man, my human-making skills are getting rusty! I forgot to include a soul!

"Obama’s uncanny self-confidence is Whitmanic, too."

Uncanny: eerie, unnatural, unearthly, unsettling, abnormal, weird, bizarre, surreal, creepy, spooky, freakish.

"He somehow assumes his mantle without arrogance, and is commanding yet humble"

Wow, he already assumed the mantle! I didn't know they bestowed The Vestments so soon.

"Obama absorbs Whitman, we absorb Obama..."

Everyone is a big roll of Bounty, it seems.

"...and “the United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.”"

Yes, unfortunately it's a dirty limerick. Although after reading this slab of twaddle, I'm more inclined to believe its a badly scanning sonnet written by a 17 year old girl on her LiveJournal page.

Oh, by the way, Walt Whitman was a homosexual. Or isn't that inconvenient little truth included in Obama's Whitmanesqueness?

paul a'barge said...

Obama is a Chicago machine politician who wears $1500 suits and can speak a form of English that white people can understand.

I think Anne's got something going on and it's not pretty.

jdeeripper said...

Original George said...(Also, I just noticed that if you go to Wiki's entry on the battle, someone has entered some goofy comments about the Japanese Imperial Army fighting side-by-side with Confederates....!)

Japanese Involvement

Although still widely debated, many historians agree that Japan sent troops to aide the Confederate Army during the First Battle of Bull Run. It was said that the Emperor of Japan and Confederate President Jefferson Davis both had a great dislike for African-Americans and the continuation of slavery in the south profited not only the Gross Domestic Product of the South, but also influenced shipping imports, especially in Kyoto. Emperor Kōmei sent his 55th regiment, also referred to as the カタ片仮カナ名, which is Japanese for "Clan Impossible." Historian James McPherson wrote the book: Sushi & the Slaves about this event. Of the 320 troops sent over, 45 were killed and 120 wounded.


That's one of the great things about wiki. Last year there was a great entry in the Dennis Kucinich page having to do with the reason he was able to score such an attractive woman despite the fact that he looks like a cross between an elf and a space alien.

I saved this from the wiki page in 4/2007:

Personal details

Kucinich was born in Cleveland as the eldest of the seven children of Frank and Virginia Kucinich. His Croatian father was a semi-trailer truck driver; his Irish American mother, a homemaker.[1] In 1973, he graduated from Case Western Reserve University with both a BA, and an MA.[2] Kucinich is a Roman Catholic and an environmentalist. He is twice-divorced, with a daughter, Jackie, from his marriage to Sandra Lee McCarthy and married his third wife, Elizabeth Harper, a British citizen, on August 21, 2005. He is one of few vegan politicians in the US. Given his lack of wealth, his short stature, his unimpressive manner, and his less than handsome physiognomy, contrasted with and his young, attractive, and much taller wife, it can be deduced with certainty that he's packing serious dongage.


---------------------------------

Palladian said...I might be wrong, but I have a guess what part of Obama Anne Trubek wants to "absorb". Any time a woman writes about how a man "strode" anywhere, you know she wants him to fuck her.

Apparently Obama is an Alpha

Howard said...

Obama obsession is no different from the gushing about W's package (see NRO corner entries from that time) when he strode from the plane on deck before the mission accomplished speech.

Also, the deification of Reagan reminds one of irrational obsession and air-brushing of reality. The main difference is that the press is the head cheerleader for the One, the All, Obama bin Striden.

Palladian protests too much with extreme anal retention, then lets his own orientation insecurity reveal itself at last. Pathetic dude.

Palladian said...

"Obama obsession is no different from the gushing about W's package"

That was G. Gordon Liddy, if I recall. And anyway, DUH! I'd be just as disgusted and dismissive of a hagiography of a Republican politician if it was as embarrassing as this one.

"Palladian protests too much with extreme anal retention, then lets his own orientation insecurity reveal itself at last. Pathetic dude."

Wow, I'd be really, really insulted if these statements actually meant anything. "Extreme anal retention"? "Orientation insecurity"? you have to be a college graduate in the humanities to say things this stupid and meaningless. Pathetic, dude. I bet you have damp Obama panties as well!

Mark said...

Boy, Paul a'barge hit it on the head: Obama is a black man who conducts himself like a white person. Obama is the ultimate white liberal fantasy: all the soul-satisfying white guilt balm with none of the unsettling Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton/Farrakhan/black underclass hostility and poor behavior.

Obama is what white liberals have been looking for since MLK: a black man who can conduct himself in a way they are comfortable with. To them he seems the proof that there's really no meaningful racial differences. See? A black man can be articulate and smart and calm and speak in proper English! (As long as his mother was white, his black father abandons him as a baby, and he is raised entirely by white people, anyway.)

I think this is just great, though, all this white liberal messianic rhapsodizing. The more the better, because what is desperately needed is for white liberals to get a dose of the reality of living as a 10% minority in a world that is 90% non-white. The higher their expectations, the more shocking it will be to them when reality dawns, as it has on the white liberals in South Africa who ended apartheid and voted themselves into a permanent minority. So while on one level this sort of drivel is hard to stomach, on another it's exactly what the doctor ordered.

Joe said...

Was that Whitmanesque or Whitemanesque; just trying to be clear.

(And for the record, Obama gives new meaning to megalomaniacal. Oh, and any day now he's going to solemnly state that the true depth of the economic problems have been hidden from the American people, so we will have to bail out the rich-fat-assholes who run GM, Chrysler and Ford and raise taxes on the rest of us. That's my long winded way of saying that any day now, Obama is going to solemnly state "Fuck you" [and the horses you rode in on].)

LRalston said...

Did Obama actually say his administration would do 'amazing' things?? That's really amazing!

MadisonMan said...

Take bets on how long it is until Obama is officially declared an asshole.

Which Government Bureacracy is responsible for that official declaration? I have some names I'd like to submit.

Patm said...

"I am you, you are me, we are one..."

I'm going to gag.

This hippy-dippy "he's the perfect man and so much more advanced and evolved than the rest of us" shit is starting to get on my nerves.

He's a man. He's neither perfect nor faultless and these starry eyed groupies in the press are setting him up to disappoint.

And if he's so effing perfect why can't we see his birth certificate? That's starting to stick in the craw. Why can't we see his college records?

This is pretty fundamental stuff for a president to show his people.

Mr Osmosis wants to be transparent, but he hasn't managed it, as Bill Clinton might say, "even one time."

He makes Clinton look like glass.

ricpic said...

The Great Obama Circle Jerk

Come welfare queens
Come pushers and pimps
Come race crazy revs
Let's all get together and give whitey a shove.

Come AA hires
In government
Below and above
Let's all get together and give whitey a shove.

Let's take hard earned wealth
Call wealth theft
And theft love
Let's all get together and give whitey a shove.

mccullough said...

I agree that the Reagan worship is too much, but at least the man's dead and served 8 years as President.

Obama's not even President yet. (And to be a Constitutional stickler he has not been elected yet because the Electoral College has not voted yet. They could all vote for David Palmer for POTUS).

I celebrate myself is the guy's mantra.

tjl said...

"these starry eyed groupies in the press are setting him up to disappoint."

Let's hope for the day!

Trubek is far from the only one singing hymns that would make Kim Jong Il blush with shame. At some point reality is going to pop their bubble of ecstatic oneness. I look forward to hearing from Trubek when it does.

veni vidi vici said...

"I'm not sure how this Oneness is supposed to proceed."

This Oneness = a singular load of bollocks.

Mark O said...

Palladian, you made me laugh. Thanks. Obama and devotees are so humorless. This administration will be a long march.

I keep suggesting here that this is nothing more than a rehash of “The Greening of America,” but I seem to be the only fool to have read it. And believed it, then.

Fred4Pres said...

Barack Obama is Whitmanesque?

Andrew Sullivan just thought: "Be still my beating heart...The Body Electric!"