Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Joe Bageant, Obama, and the days and years ahead

I hadn't visited Joe Bageant's digs in a while, and I was curious to see if he had any thoughts about the Obama inauguration. Joe's new essay is here:
"North Toward Home: from here in Central America, you can't see America's "shining city on the hill," but you can smell the dead in Gaza."

Also, I chanced upon an earlier, really exceptional, essay I hadn't seen before, from April of 2008, "The Audacity of Depression." Written in the midst of the HRC-Obama scrap, in which Joe makes it pretty clear that he sees Obama's appeals to hope for what they are, without therefore suggesting Hillary is a better alternative. I've saved it to my account under "the fall", which is the name I give for this category of writings, not quite a genre, which I see more and more of, discussing forebodings of US decline. From the 2008 essay:

Lately though, I don't hear so much outrage. In fact, the readers seem to be suffering from what someone aptly called "rage fatigue." Which is another way of saying the bastards have simply worn us out. And it's true.

I am not kidding when I say rage fatigue victims have fallen into an ongoing mid-level depression. (Looks to me like the whole country has, but then I'm no mental health expert.) The less depressed victims can be found lurking near the edges of the Obama cult, consoling themselves that a soothing and/or charismatic orator is better than nothing.
like whoever else wins the presidency, Obama can never acknowledge any significant truth, such as that the nation is waaaaay beyond being just broke, and is even a net debtor nation to Mexico, or that the greatest touch-me-not in the U.S. political flower garden, the "American lifestyle," is toast. But then, we really do not expect political truth, but rather entertainment in a system where, as Frank Zappa said, politics is merely "the entertainment branch of industry."

Still, millions of Americans do grasp at The Audacity of Hope, a meaningless marketing slogan of the publishing industry if ever there was one. At least it has the word Audacity in it, something millions of folks are having trouble conjuring up the least shred of these days. And there is good old fashioned "Hope" of course -- that murky, undefined belief that some unknown force or magical unseen power will reverse the national condition -- will deliver us from what every bit of evidence indicates is irreversible, if not politically, then economically and ecologically: Collapse.

cross-posted at Hugo Zoom.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home