Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama - Hail the Messaiah

I hope you will forgive me for being my usual cynical self, even when it comes to the one who can walk on water and offers change that we can believe in. I am always fascinated by how low the standards are in terms of expectations when it comes to the USA. I mean, fair enough, Bush has been an unmitigated nightmare, arguably he and his cronies ought to be prosecuted on more than one count (don't expect the one who walks on water to hold his predecessor and his cabinet responsible for the war crimes they presided over, for lying to the world in order to get a coalition of the willing together to topple Saddam... and the list goes on and on and on).

Still, I am puzzled why anyone could think Obama is a terribly progressive character. Better than Bush, yes, but what kind of yardstick is that? Why is the world celebrating him as if he was some kind of Messiah. Leave that poor sucker alone. He speaks like a midwestern US preacher, isn't reality based (God guides him), and by continental European standards he's at best a conservative. Is that a crime? No, far from it, but surely that kind of deal doesn't justify the hype and the quasi-religious elevation of this guy. It might surprise you to learn that Mr Obama goes to the loo, just like you and I (at least when he isn't walking on water and offers change that we can believe in).

In fact, being slightly more realistic about what can reasonably be expected of him might help him from a too steep fall from grace when people discover that ... well, he's just human after all.

Oh yes and before you go on and on about African American and that this shows everyone can be anything in the USA. You might want to have another look at his social class background. That should settle that question fairly quickly, too. Sure, if you come from a privileged family and you end up doing law at Harvard, you probably can be anything in America, even if you are African American, provided your competitors hail from a party that is politically dead in the water. Yep, if those conditions are met you can beat your geriatric competitor and his barbie doll companion by a small margin...

I might regret having written this in a minute or two after posting it, but this completely unjustified attempt at using a wealthy Harvard law graduate who's become US President as evidence that the country isn't fundamentally class based, is intellectually dishonest, no matter how much we like to enter into a quasi-romantic relationship with him and the rest of his family.

Other than that, good success to you Mr Obama. Our neighbours to the south could have made a choice far far worse... after all, imagine Sarah Palin being a heartbeat away from the Presidency of the USA!


  1. I'm not sure that anyone has argued that Obama's election is proof positive that the US is NOT class-based. What people both within and beyond the States recognize (and some, like me, applaud) is the enormously symbolic significance of his election. Now, in order to go beyond symbols, the States will have to demonstrate, in similar ways, that the country has surmounted the racism of its past--although it might be difficult for any country to claim that it has, once and for all, surmounted any of the darker chapters of its history.

    With all due respect to you, Professor Schuklenk, this post and some other items you have penned reflect a strong tendency to skew--rather than reflect on and critically engage--the truth.

  2. Well, thanks for this. I think the truth is that Mr Obama is a centrist (by US standards, ie fairly right wing by European standards) politician. He has just extended Mr Bush's faith based initiatives which I think are plain disastrous. One of my points about Mr Obama is that he demonstrates that you can make it in the USA, if you're from a well-to-do background. Not exactly change you can believe in. I'm uncertain what 'truth' I have 'skewed' here - and indeed in other posts. It is difficult to defend onself against such general statements...


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Sokal on steroids: Why hoax papers submitted successfully to academic journals proves nothing (ok, little)

A trio of authors has, during a 12 months period, submitted - by their own account - 20 manuscripts to academic journals they broadly identi...