Sunday, January 04, 2009

narrative, the next chapter.

now here is something i had never seen before. this is a long excerpt, i know, but it's a really long article and i didn't want to awkwardly link to part of it. it's from salon's "the year in sex," which they claim has been disappointing, overall. but here's how they ended the article.

It was a little ironic that the most physically and emotionally arresting candidate of our lifetime seemed to be scandal-proof and, truthfully, a little sex-proof. I'm not saying the guy isn't handsome, debonair, charming, charismatic, swoon-worthy. It's just that, weirdly, Barack Obama did not ... sizzle.

In fact, for all the lame efforts of the smear press, there was really only one person who could raise the temperature on our Barack, who could truly hot him up: a cackling, nut-cracking, shirt-ironing broad in an array of jewel-toned pantsuits.

Yes, it's true. American voters have never had it so good as they did for six months of 2008. His mellow ease to her spiky ambition. His cool confidence to her bellowing honk. Yes, I know, I know: that grating, wrong-note-hitting, not-conceding, change-resisting, healthcare squawking, Bobby-Kennedy-invoking bitch! And: that cocky, strutting, hope-peddling, smooth-talking, shoulder-brushing, sweetie-calling, poetry-spouting bastard!

Have you people never seen an episode of "Cheers"?

Now, out of respect for Michelle Obama, I want to make explicitly clear that in no way am I suggesting that there is, was or ever will be any actual carnal attraction between the president-elect and the future madame secretary. I'm merely speaking on a performative, narrative level about the way that the characters on our stage have played against each other. I'm just pointing out that in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about the rub and chafe of like-minded opposites attracting.


Obama mania just wasn't as fun without Hillary. And after Nov. 4, this whole new blissful upcoming administration was perfect and groovy and everything, but really a little dullsville until he picked her. By then, no one even bothered to hide the allusions to the pair's chemistry anymore. According to CBS, "They've become so close that it turned into a strategic courtship, leading to Clinton being at the top of his short list for secretary of state," while the New York Times described Clinton's "passionate" speeches on behalf of Obama and the stage at which "the wooing was complete."

And so, the Year in Sex thanks you, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, for providing us with the sparring smolder of a 1940s romantic comedy, if black people and women senators had been allowed in romantic comedies of the 1940s. For the first time in years, the heat on our televisions and newspapers and magazines didn't come from shorn celebrity beav or reality stars who taped their doggy-style antics so that we could have something to watch at our cubicles while we ate our Subway sandwich. In 2008, it came from the head and the heart, from the old-fashioned sizzle of strong minds bumping up against each other, from the gimme-more friction of big ideas and hearty disagreement, a fight for dominance, a see-saw of control.

Our only warning for 2009: Don't get too chummy. Remember what happened after Sam and Diane got together.

but you know how i feel about "speaking on a performative, narrative level about the way that the characters on our stage have played against each other," yes? yes. let's talk about literary themes, and how they're everywhere. and how we can even use narrative to talk about things that real people do. all stories are true - and everything's a story? stay tuned for more on narrative.

let me just say, for the record, that blogger records the time i started this post, not the time i actually posted it. not sure if that makes me cooler, though.

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