Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Obama TV special (or whatever it was)

I was outrageously sleepy last night, after two hours of sleep on Tuesday, and my attempt to write about the Obama TV special, infomercial, or whatever you want to call it was curtailed. I actually fell asleep in the middle of typing.

Now I have a terrible headache. Oh well. I'll write anyway.

I had to work rather hard to find any commentary on the TV show. Every political blog I typically read was oddly silent on it, as if it just didn't happen.

I tried to find information on how many people watched it. Couldn't find it.

I did watch it, though originally I hadn't intended to. I was afraid it'd be so hokey that I'd want to throw up. It was hokey, no doubt about it; the music was so sappy at the beginning that I was nearly offended, but as a whole, the thing was good. Obama narrated a good deal of it, showing "typical" American families (all in battleground states, of course). He didn't come out and say it but he was saying "I can feel your pain." And y'know, I do believe the guy. I have always been suspicious and cynical about any politician, but I think he's different. I think he's a true rarity. He may sometimes play a little loose with the facts to present them in a palatable sound bite, but that's (unfortunately) neccessary in order to keep people listening.

But why is the blogosphere and all the pundits, who have analyzed every word and deed in this election season, so silent on last night's event? It was an event.

Here's what I think: Most of them didn't watch. Most of them didn't approve and preferred to keep silent. The television, once known as the "idiot box" or the "boob tube", is something beneath contempt for many people, especially writers (or at least the ones who don't write TV shows). And the infomercial, well, it's the lowest form of television (and I will agree with that).

But, here's the thing: It's hard for people like me and the blogging heads to believe, but a heck of a lot of people are just getting interested in the election. With less than a week to go, it's finally time. And there are those who were never going to be interested at all. Don't forget this: a large population of these United States doesn't even bother to vote.

But if they watched this TV show last night, they might. They might not vote for Obama, but they might have had their interest piqued. Of course, I'm just guessing.

The "show" was good. I didn't see myself in any of the people in it and at one point I said to Dick, half-jokingly, "Obama's whiter than me" (and if that's a racist statement, call me out on it). I also quipped, "You'd think there were no single, gay or child-free people in America." So, if I was being cynical, I'd say the whole thing was pandering. But it sure didn't feel that way.

At the end of the broadcast, when it cut to a live rally in Florida, I turned to Dick once again and said, "Who could be against that?" And I wasn't referring to Obama as "that" (or that one). What's that? Politics based on positivity, in spite of hard times, people coming together from all walks of life, optimism, a healthy type of patriotism and trust in one another. An end to cynicism.

It must be a heavy burden to carry around a lot of hate and anger. Don't folks want to put that burden down?

Painting note: Painting of Wailuku and the Iao Valley, Maui, by the 19th century American artist Edward Bailey

I wanted to post a really hokey American landscape painting or photograph, so I googled "amber waves of grain". Somehow, I stumbled onto this, a painter of the 19th century Hawaiian landscape. I am intrigued. And so, since Obama grew up in Hawaii, and this image is copyright-free, here it is. Link is to info about Baily from the Maui Historical Society. He's got no Wikipedia entry.

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