Monday, January 19, 2009


You can't turn on the TV these days without being overwhelmed by the joy of preparations for President Obama's inauguration. Americans can be so boundless in their happiness. Can't imagine other people spilling out into streets in the millions, in the freezing cold, to share in the grace of this rare historical moment. Impossible not to become pompous and hyperbolic, too.

It was something of a cold surprise, then, when I read this morning, via normblog, a sneering description of this bubbling American mood. Here are some choice malevolences:

I found American partying to be very much like the origins of the Universe (quite sweaty, fundamentally inhospitable to human beings, absolutely no one playing the four-minute radio version of Alphabet Street). Additionally, the free chocolates were Hershey's Kisses, which are not chocolate at all, but a lie. I have had better parties on my own, in bed, drinking soup. Americans are not, contrary to what they would like to believe, infallible party-throwers.


Let's face it, there is a dim part of our minds, raised by Hollywood, that craves the sight of a newly elected black President celebrating his inauguration by ordering in soul food, cranking up the Commodores' Brick House and shouting “Get on down. And that's an order!”


So yes. Obama's inaugration party, while not amazing, looks like it will be a fairly creditable effort, notwithstanding just how Beyoncé will be able to “be Beyoncé” - ie, vibrate a magnificent pair of oiled, Amazonian thighs while whooping “What-ho what-ho what-ho!” - in the predicted January temperatures of 0C.

And so on and so forth. Who is this person, this party-pooper, that bends this haughty eye, that curls her dessicated lip, upon the vulgar, upstart colonials? And why the need for all this scorn and derision, on one of history's finer days, as yet unmatched by any of the elegant European countries? Anyone care to offer an explanation to the perplexed?


At 1:34 AM EST, Blogger Terry Glavin said...

"Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

- H.L. Mencken


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