White House Dossier has gotten ahold of the actual singing Beyonce did at the Inauguration.
Her true rendition of the National Anthem could be heard by those on the podium with her. It turns out the prerecording was broadcast to the TV audience and the rest of those in attendance at the Inauguration because Beyonce didn’t know the words. Or the melody. Have a listen.
Did you find the poet at President Obama’s inauguration as insufferable as I did?
Did your child look at you, like mine did, and say, “Nothing rhymes”?
I found Richard Blanco’s “poem” – it wasn’t much of a poem, more like narrative recited as if it were poetry – both prosaic and long, which is a really bad combination. Also, it was incongruously adulterated with lines addressing the poet’s own mommy and daddy issues, making it prosaic, long, and odd.
But of course everyone pronounced it a wonderful thing.
When people react to poems, they often remind me of the director of some awful British costume drama I once saw performed in Philadelphia. He acknowledged to me that the production wasn’t that great, but remarked that when Americans hear British accents, they think they are getting quality.
That is, people confronted with bad poetry seem to take leave of common sense and believe the poem is brilliant because, ipso facto, it’s a poem.
Unfortunately for Blanco, the Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson, who understands literature and never writes anything insipid, also took notice:
Like Lennon and McCartney, Blanco’s poem followed the sun. From the first line his imagery was confusing. When the sun rose, it “kindled over our shores.” Can you “kindle over” something, like a shore, without setting it ablaze—especially if right away you go on “peeking . . . greeting . . . spreading” and “then charging across the Rockies”? It makes the sun sound like an arsonist on the lam. In addition to the one sun, there are also one sky, one light, and one ground. This one ground is “rooting us to every stalk of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat . . .” I can see how the stalk could be rooted to the ground, but not how the ground could root us to the stalk. And I’ve thought about this pretty hard. As for the sweat sowing heads of wheat . . . never heard of such a thing.
Compounding the Blanco tragedy, Yahoo! News asked some other esteemed poets to create some additional bad verse.
Ferguson took notice of this too:
We sang, sang Brenda Shaughnessy (National Book Critics Circle Award), for example, a song of saying so, singing O / So we might be heard, we voted. O, out of many, one. / Out of everyone, you. The “you” here is, of course, the Big O himself, the president. O you are still president / and that is our poetry. The plain truth made beautiful. It’s not hard to imagine Brenda Shaughnessy, thinking up her poem, making an “O face” of her own. In her favor, she also refers to Rachel Maddow as a “flotation device”—a poetic image that makes more sense the longer you think about it.
In “Oath,” Kevin Young (National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award) offered an orthodontic image of the president getting sworn in: this smidge of sun—shine it down into your mouth. Glug. James Tate (Pulitzer, National Book Award) wrote a letter to the president, “Dear Mr. President,” instead of a poem. It resembled a poem only in that it was impossible to decipher. (A “pile of leaves” working as a loan officer in a bank and offering discount loans! Go figure.) Paul Muldoon, in “For Barack Obama,” rhymed “deliver” with “chicken livered.” I’d say “Give that man a Pulitzer!” if he didn’t already have one.
Personally, I felt a little chicken livered myself after the Inauguration. And part of it was Blanco’s fault. At least he could have made it rhyme.
The great tension between liberalism and conservatism involves fidelity to the ideas of the Founders. Conservatives tend to think the Founders were right in their time, and also today. Liberals believe that the Founders were right in their time, but that their ideas need updating to the point of a complete perversion of their original meaning.
Obama premised his inaugural address today on the Founders, citing the famous second sentence of the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
But everybody knows that the Founders, who created the country on the bedrock of suspicion of centralized power, would never have countenanced today’s welfare state. And so liberals must do some revisions to the 18th century texts that supposedly guide our lives.
And therefore Obama continued:
Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time.
Uh oh. Look out. We’re going to bridge Jefferson’s words with “reality.” That means, of course, we are going to change Jeffersons words.
What Obama spends the next part of his speech – the most important part – doing is enunciating the liberal rationale for junking the intentions of the Founders and replacing them with their own.
It is a rationale for creating Socialism on the framework of freedom: That in order for values like equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be realized in modern society, government must act to safeguard them.
If government does not protect you with millions of pages of regulations, greedy capitalists will steal your freedoms; if government does not save man from his worst instincts, man will destroy the earth with non-biodegradable potato chip cannisters; if government does not pay to train workers and invest in the right technologies, people will be too stupid to do it on their own; and if government does not provide a safety net even for those who can succeed by themselves, then all people might not live the lives of the dreams.
Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Franklin trusted the people with a Republic. Liberals say the people can no longer be trusted alone with such things.
And so, Obama says:
We have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.
Collective action meaning the government, not your local church . . .
Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce, schools and colleges to train our workers . . .
No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people.
And you should get points just for trying.
If you work hard – even if you were making transistor radios and eight-track players – you deserve your reward:
We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship . . .
while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American . . .
Obama says we have to make hard choices to reduce the spending which has already nearly destroyed us.
And then, he adds, really, we don’t have to make such choices:
We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future . . .
The only way to achieve Obama’s vision, then, is to raise taxes exponentially. The money for those who need the government’s pedestal to stand on must come from those who don’t.
Because, Obama insists, only through state control can we be made free:
The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. (Applause.) They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great. (Applause.)
The Founders surely would have known that Social Security and Medicare, which steal money from current and future generations to help even those existing retirees who are not needy in their retirements, do indeed make us a nation of takers and sap our initiative.
Jefferson wanted to guarantee the pursuit of happiness. Obama wants to guarantee happiness. The former is the philosophy of capitalism. The latter is Socialism, which uses government to reduce freedom, not create it.
This is not what the Founders intended. But as Obama made clear to anyone who may have presumed him a moderate, it is exactly what you will be getting during the next four years.
The White House has released the details of the first lady’s ensemble, which will be headed to the National Archives once she’s done with it today. Designer Thom Browne got the prized assignment.
The First Lady is wearing a navy Thom Browne coat and dress. The fabric was developed based on the style of a men’s silk tie. The belt she is wearing is from J.Crew, the cardigan is designed by Reed Krakoff and her necklace is designed by Cathy Waterman. She is also wearing J.Crew shoes.
You can see the coat at least in this video of the Obamas attending church.
The White House today is using the inauguration of the president to build its own email list, which it uses to press for Obama’s agenda and bash Republicans.
Heading to the White House website today, a viewer is presented with a glorious photo of the Capitol decked out for the inauguration. But overlaying the main page is a splash page that reads:
Help Make History
The next four years hold incredible promise for the United States, and President Obama is committed to working with everyone to move our country forward.
That means you, too.
A box appears where the viewer can put their email address. The submission button says Join Us. You can ignore it by pressing continue, but you can’t go to the page until you do one or the other.
The inauguration is normally held to be a patriotic moment for all Americans in which the president reaches out to the defeated opposition to unite the country. That the White House would use the event to pad its email list suggests President Obama is planning to show a hard, partisan edge right from the beginning of his new administration.
President Obama today was sworn in to serve for another four years as the 44th president of the United States. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office in the Blue Room of the White House. The president’s family and a small group of reporters were in attendance. Obama took the oath on Michelle… Continue Reading