Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Post-Modern President

[Update January 23]

Yesterday's inaugural speech marked Obama as our first post-modern president, performing his version of church-based, African-American politician speech.

... and as we say goodbye to Bush, we're debating in the office: is "not intellectually curious" mediaspeak for "stupid"? I think we all know the answer to that.

Update: More on the references in Obama's speech here, courtesy of Douglas Wolk:

That last phrase, though, is particularly freighted with subtext. "Glorious burden," in recent decades, has most often referred to the Presidency itself, rather than the condition of being American; it's the title of a 1968 book by Stefan Lorant, The Glorious Burden: The American Presidency, and of a more recent Smithsonian exhibition about the history of the office. But it's also a phrase Obama has used at least once before. It appears in his memoir Dreams from My Father, in a description of the attitude his mother tried to instill in him: "To be black was the beneficiary of a great inheritance, a special destiny, glorious burdens that only we were strong enough to bear."

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