Written and Posted Before the Polls Closed in New Hampshire

I think that Lenin is right to suggest that John Edwards “is pure Hollywood.” And I very much fear that Julianne is right to say that “the way [Obama] poses his populist ‘you did this, I am a conduit’ stance has YouTube generation written all over it – he makes everyone feel like a star.” It’s new media versus old media: that’s why Edwards’ campaign is floundering, while Obama’s is surging. (And the less said about Clinton the better: her husband is pure television, which positions him media-wise in between Edwards and Obama; but no media are capable of putting her across).

In other words: class struggle, which Edwards at least rhetorically appeals to, is an old-fashioned Hollywood “grand narrative”; it’s corny and old-fashioned, and nobody younger than a graying Boomer like myself could possibly believe in it any longer. Mr. Edwards Goes to Washington, indeed. Obama, on the other hand, makes everybody (or at least everybody who is young, or young at heart) feel good; he gives his fans “hope”, i.e. the possibility of feeling empowered, or “a star”; and he exalts “change,” all the while making sure that nothing actually will be changed. (If you are white and you vote for Obama, not only have you demonstrated that you yourself aren’t racist, you have made racism itself magically disappear).

My only consolation for this is that, of course, if Edwards were somehow elected, in the sort of thrilling turnaround that Hollywood hasn’t been able to pull off convincingly for years, he would prove to be thoroughly disappointing, since he wouldn’t really fight the power the way he claims, on the campaign trail, to want to.

3 thoughts on “Written and Posted Before the Polls Closed in New Hampshire”

  1. with all of this skepticism on obama, are we going to move on criticizing the daily show/colbert satire as intellectually pernicious also? the convenience of targeting obama as sinister (!) seems like a cheap ploy to stand on the sidelines and sneer.

    plus has anyone actually tried to reach out to the campaign, or is all of this detachment?

    i think many people are chosing the wrong battles to fight, in part because they are not taking seriously how absolutely maddening the past eight years have been, and previous failures of the american left that has allowed blatant murder and looting in Iraq to continue. i support naders campaign in 00 to this day, but that time is not now.

    I see an Obama presidency, not candidacy, as where radicals will have to assert themselves, instead of sniping away from the sidelines like they did from 92-00. force obama to crackdown on radical politics, and expose the idiocy of conservatives who think he is a socialist.

    a lot of the radical left is opting out of the race, in a sort of “it has to get worse before it gets better” stance, but this is utterly sadistic. even the apolitical people i work with in houston are talking about getting out the republicans no matter what.

  2. I think Huckabee’s got the best sense of humor on the campaign trail right now. The Democrats are cornballs, as you here suggest. Huckabee’s funny as heck, and he plays guitar, and likes Keith Richards (though he quipped that Richards might be dead, he wasn’t sure when he meant him).

    Btw, Steve, I finally saw Ayn Rand’s amazing film The Fountainhead the other night while sick in bed with a stomach flu. It was just great! Have you seen this film? It is about a Nietzschean ubermensch who is building skyscrapers all over Manhattan, and when some committee tries to add balconies to one of his projects for a set of council flats, he blows them up with dynamite rather than have his designs tampered with! The jury decides he is innocent by reason of genius!

    Meanwhile, he’s got this S/M thing going on with a journalist that he marries. It has to be the most hysterical thing I’ve ever seen. At one point he’s working in a rock quarry with resonances of the Babylonian Capture, when he’s hit with a riding crop by the woman he later marries.

    It’s all about modernist genius as the new god beyond and above all others.

    I thought it was a wonderful satire on everything the modernists ever believed, and yet, Rand believed it!

    I wrote about it on my blog today. I am just dying to hear your opinion of this film.

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