sexta-feira, 3 de outubro de 2008

Camile Paglia Comenta Obama

Os anos da formação são decisivos. Nos anos 90, quando eu tinha vinte anos, Gerald Thomas era símbolo de modernidade e ícone da liberdade sexual. É muito estimulante saber que ele gostou desse blog. Posto hoje um texto de uma figura curiosa: Camille Paglia. Esteve também em voga nos anos 90. Concordo com ela às vezes. Mas que ela é instigante, ela é.

Accent the Negative

Obama's folksy come-on is as bad as Madonna's faux British -- and both are in desperate need of fresh inspiration. Plus: The elemental power of Daniela Mercury

By Camille Paglia
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Read more: Madonna, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Camille Paglia, John McCain, Opinion, John Edwards, Barack Obama
Camille Paglia

Aug. 13, 2008 | When in tarnation will those blasted presidential debates arrive? This excruciatingly long hiatus between the end of the primary season and the national conventions feels like running in mud. The electorate desperately needs to see and compare the two major candidates operating together in an issues-oriented forum. Both Barack Obama and John McCain are being diminished by their helter-skelter jumping around like grasshoppers. And campaign ads on both sides have seemed rote, slick or silly.

As a supporter of Barack Obama, I've been alarmed by the steady tightening of the polls. And as a longtime listener of talk radio who witnessed the ruthless whittling down of John Kerry in the 2004 campaign, I have an increasing sense of foreboding. Obama is twisting slowly, slowly in the wind like a tempting piñata for right-wing cudgels. Given how new he is as a national figure (despite his bestselling books), this protracted summer delay is allowing opponents to fill the gap with a grotesquely distorted caricature of him. A tap-dancing Rockette line of mutually contradictory Obamas has been trotted out to scare the public -- the secret Muslim traitor; the radical leftist with a bag of bombs; the snobby, out-of-touch elitist; the magical Messiah with healing hands; the Peter Pan naif who can't sharpen a pencil. But here's the bad news -- it's working. Who would ever vote for the menacing or ridiculous shadow Obama of talk radio?

I've also been troubled by how the Obama campaign, after a nearly flawless primary performance, has been playing its cards. It was too easy for conservative critics to dismiss Obama's international junket as a series of exploitative photo ops because he did indeed spend so little time in each place. A genuine fact-finding mission would have looked more substantive and considered. However, I was certainly delighted with the dazzling crop of pix -- Obama holding his own with class and grace among foreign leaders. True, that sketch of his potential presidency felt a bit coercively premature -- but what an improvement from the embarrassments of the last eight years, as the provincial George Bush clownishly strutted his cowboy way across the European stage.

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A major gaffe this summer has been that, in trying to act more casual and folksy to appeal to working-class white voters, Obama has resorted to a cringe-making use of inner-city black intonations and jokey phrasings -- exactly the wrong tactic.

(Example below:)

One of the major doubts those very voters have about him is to what extent he is an agent for the 1960s black power radicalism espoused by his former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It does seem to be the case that Obama, raised in multicultural and tourist-oriented Hawaii, lacks direct experience of any working-class enclave aside from the black one. But so what? In remaking her campaign at the end, Hillary Clinton mimicked the metallic accent of her father's coal-country Scranton origins. Yet nothing in her inexorable climb toward multimillionaire status has ever indicated that Hillary prefers jawing with the humble proles to her favorite company of glitzy celebs, fast-track power players, and slippery, brainiac lawyers.

Furthermore, the Obama campaign's constant chaining of the Bush anchor on the grouchy, maverick McCain is getting stale. Save that for the post-convention push. The attitude toward Bush of most working-class conservatives is, "He may be a bastard, but he's OUR bastard!" If that nativizing idea gets transferred to McCain, it could be fatal for the Dems in November. And Obama's tire gauge mini-crusade was a mortifying misfire with those same voters -- a shiny little gadget specializing in the literally lightweight issue of air versus the greasy, brawny push for massive, phallic drilling into the seabed of mother earth. Symbols matter!

Meanwhile, the legions of journalists who thought the defeated Hillary was going to skulk away brightly smiling like Pollyanna should have their press credentials revoked. It was obvious for months, even before the primaries were over, that she has no intention of leaving the field, now or ever. Those 18 million votes she's claiming (really 17) contain significant numbers of Republicans who voted satirically for her during Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos, designed to prolong the Democratic primary and damage the candidates. Furthermore, only a fraction of the legitimately Democratic votes that she won belonged to Hillary die-hards anyhow. Many voters preferred other candidates who had dropped out, or they were temporarily unsure about Obama. It's utter nonsense for Hillary to imply that the alleged 18 million form a solid, lardlike block sworn to her, as in some fascist regime, and that if they aren't "heard" at the convention, they will swarm like lemmings to the edge of a cliff and fling themselves off.

The Clintons and their surrogates have clearly been encouraging and fomenting resentment and rebellion, even while angelically maintaining deniability. Conventions aren't the place for "catharsis" -- how absurd. Let all those dizzy dames go off on a spa week for a bout of Arthur Janov's primal scream therapy. (Remember that? John Lennon bawling for mom on the "Plastic Ono Band" album.) Hillary is setting feminism back -- defining women as petulant brats driven by emotion rather than logic and fair play. This entire election wasn't about gender and sexism -- until the profligate, mismanaging Hillary began losing and grasping at straws. For Minerva's sake, let's move on to a fresh new generation of female leadership!

Next page: The Edwards and Madonna scandals
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