Monday, October 06, 2008

The Ownership Revolution (improved)


To have gathered from the air a live tradition
or from a fine old eye the unconquered flame
This is not vanity.

Ezra Pound
Canto LXXXI


I'm quite proud of this version. I think it gives us a good sense of the rhetorical tradition (or at least one rhetorical tradition) from which Obama gathers his unconquerable flame.

11 comments:

soren buhl said...

Beautiful clip, Thomas. i am thinking: what is the scope of the market for this rhetorical tradition? Black community? US popular consumer market? Europe? Global culture?

Thomas Basbøll said...

Thanks. I know it's vain, but I can watch it again and again. (The finger cue! I was so lucky with that.)

I think the clip proves that Obama is "hip". And hipness has a very broad constituency. Even a great many squares dig it.

Gil Scott-Heron is considered the godfather of rap. So there's a bridge here from the tradition of Martin Luther King to hip hop. That, again, indicates a very broad base of appeal. I definitely think it's global.

Kirby Olson said...

Wow, an actual socialist revolution is planned, is that the notion of change?

I just wish he'd say something like this in tonight's debate. He'd be wrapped with fish from the 1830s.

Nice music, too -- wonderful.

The revolution will not be televised. So what is tonight going to be about?

Gosh, I just wish he'd say these things where the majority of people could hear him. I just wish.

What was the music?

It was excellent.

Thomas Basbøll said...

It's always hard to tell when you're kidding, Kirby.

The music (and spoken word after Obama) is Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised".

But you're not suggesting that his acceptance speech was not held "where the majority of people could hear him" are you?

My point here has less to do with content than form. Although I like the idea of a socialist revolution in the role of "ownership", which right now does not just mean "you're on your own" but "here's what you owe".

In my little flarf effort "The Counter-Singers", I incorporated a phrase taken from an interview with (I think) a Russian corporate leader: "The state helps those who help themselves. Therefore we offer a social program called 'Save up your own pension'." The irony (to my mind) being that that just isn't a social program.

It's just like saying, "We offer a new welfare program called You're On Your Own."

Kirby Olson said...

The revolution is just the changeover from patriarchy, that had firm clear laws, to matriarchy, where government is just a huge fat endless mom that spoils its children with bailouts, allows illegal immigration, says that smoking drugs is more or less ok, you're now allowed to commit adultery.

I long for the days when letters were stamped on foreheads and people burned in hell forever.

Even in my church the pastor never talks about hell anymore.

Now everybody is going to be forgiven, even Satan, even Hitler, even Osama. We're going to try to understand.

Government is a mindless mother who coddles her endlessly infantilized children and never asks for any maturity of them. Government will help you from cradle to grave, and never punish you no matter what.

BRING BACK HELL!

Kirby Olson said...

I DEMAND THE RETURN OF HELL!

Thomas Basbøll said...

"One angel in another's hell," I guess.

In my paradiso terrestre (your hell, no doubt) the government does not take a position on drugs and adultery.

It prints, not borrows, the money it needs. It organizes the best energies of the nation.

It is always big enough to let a company fail.

I once spoke to a prison pastor about forgiveness. That's where the notion really has some force.

Obama is a great role model on drug use because he "gets it", Kirby.

Thomas Basbøll said...

Clinton is not quite as a good a role model on adultery, I'll grant.

Kirby Olson said...

Obama occasionally still bums a cigarette to smoke during the current campaign, according to an article in the New York Daily Post that appeared last evening.

He's addicted, but he is such a communist, that he won't even buy his own cigarettes. He prefers to share, although he's a millionaire.

The crazy addict!

Thomas Basbøll said...

Your invective is positively Palinesque! Congratulations on your mastery of the talking points.

An occasional cigarette is a pleasure, not a vice.

Back in the old days, before the corporations turned cigarettes into nicotine delivery vehicles, a good host would provide cigarettes, on par with wine, food, and snacks.

The fact that Obama can enjoy an occasional cigarette shows that he's not an addict. The fact that he has to bum one shows that it's time
to
change
America.

Kirby Olson said...

I only wish I could rival Palin's invective.

Mrs. Obama was on Larry King last night trying her best to be very gracious to McPain, as they are now called.

She was turning the other cheek.

I switched back to Fox after about 20 minutes and they were interviewing McPain.

Kind of dull.

I turned off the TV and read Kant.