Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The New Zeitgest

This afternoon, after a long and strenuous campaign trail that seems to have started in 1987, Barack Obama will be sworn in as President of the United States.

I've long been uncertain of Obama's track record in public office, so I've approached this day with trepidation. I don't know if Obama is the right man for the job or not, but it seems to me that a large percentage of the American public deeply, truly believes that he is. And considering where our country's mindset is right now, that may be much more important. So regardless of what his actual intentions are, the belief that his plans are good and his directions infallible may be a more important factor in jump-starting the economy and bringing a politically divided country together than whether his plans are good or how far off course he ends up. He is, it seems, the man for the hour. The best of luck to him.

But if I read one more article explaining how Obama will personally change our entire culture by virtue of his incredible awesomeness, I will slam my head into a wall and hope I black out until the press' honeymoon with Obama is over (sometime around 2014, I'm guessing). Have you noticed how many reporters are pledging that they'll treat Obama the same as Bush and will be unafraid to "ask the tough questions?" It's always that exact line. I even heard David Gregory say it, and I honestly can't imagine anything less likely than Gregory treating Obama and Bush the same. I am more likely to win a boxing match with the Jolly Green Giant this Thursday than Gregory to treat Obama the same as Bush next year.

I read an article in the same issue of EW that I was mocking earlier where they explained how Obama being president would make everyone more patriotic, more hip to culture - though comedy will probably take a hit now that there's nothing available to mock (pssst - I can think of something). It also included this remarkable quote, which I will write down verbatim and then move on past without making any commentary.
"'Bad presidents usually mean good music and vice versa,' frets Steve Martin, head of Nasty Little Man, the publicity firm that reps Radiohead and Beck. 'Reagan gave us some of the best indie rock. Nirvana's Nevermind came out during Bush [Sr]. During the Clinton years, though, we got champagne-drenched hip-hop videos, nü-metal, and electroclash. I worry abou the quality of music that may be ushered in by a positive Obama presidency.' Aside form the Dixie Chicks, there can't be a whole lot of happy country artists at the moment, either. After eight years of rocking hte base of the Republican party in power, they're now on the outside looking in. Suddenly they're the counterculture. Maybe that will make for some darker country sounds in years to come.
Speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Okay, I will make one comment: 80's music sucked. The 80's were terrible. Indie rock barely existed in the 80's, everyone was too busy playing their Aha cassettes on their Walkmans. If we have to blame Reagan for something, let's blame him for Bananarama. It happened on his watch, and we all had to deal with it.

As a corollary, I'll point out that a google search for "Barack Obama Zeitgeist" turns up 669,000 results, while "Barack Obama Zeitgest" and "Barack Obama Zeitgiest" both turn up 1.34 million.

I guess that sorta says it all right there.

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3 Comments:

At January 22, 2009 1:22 PM, Anonymous Sarah said...

Fun times - you can write about Barack anytime, and I know I'll enjoy reading it. It's nice to have you posting again. Cheers!

 
At January 30, 2009 3:34 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

"80's music sucked. The 80's were terrible."

This coming from someone whose first CD was Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping".

Respect the decade you were born in.

"Indie rock barely existed in the 80's..."

r.e.m.
husker du
sonic youth
mudhoney
the minutemen
black flag
the smiths
the pixies
the replacements
bad brains

 
At January 30, 2009 3:14 PM, Blogger Wyman said...

I still don't buy it. Even back then, R.E.M was too mainstream to really be called indie music, Mudhoney were really a 90's band, a predecessor of Nirvana, and Black Flag was carryover from 70's punk. And and I think that really leaves you with the Smiths, the Pixies, the Replacements, and Sonic Youth as 80's indie, and I'll allow all of those as important, but I really think the indie explosion came in the late 90's, after that 90's post-grunge sound (Hootie, Gin Blossoms, etc.) had died out.

 

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