Fold up the sidewalks

If you’ve not yet seen David Modigliani’s documentaryCrawford, it can be viewed in its entirety atHulu. Highly recommended, and entirely apropos now, during the lame-duck End of Days, and in light of the election 2008 bullcrap aboutReal America.


The pic above is part of a great post about Chicago real vs. Crawford real over atBAGnewsNotes. Athenae riffed on this stuff a few days back inthis post:

I’m pretty damn excited about a president who comes from where I come from, who sees cabs and bikes and elevated trains and subways and buses every day, who doesn’t have an “estate” or a “compound” or a “ranch” someplace “real.” People always say they want a candidate they can relate to, after all. As a girl so white she’s practically transparent, I can’t lay claim to a connection to history near as strong as those African-Americans who’ve been waiting their whole lives for a president who looks like them, but I can take a certain amount of joy in having a president who sees my skyline every day from his front sidewalk.

I’m fine with small towns, suburbs, you should do whatever you want to do. But we do America no favors when we assume the qualifications for leadership include coming from one place and not another, and we need not only diversity of race in our leaders but diversity of experiences.

By actually being “real,” which for him meant beingreallydifferent, and still winning the election, Obama has potentially shifted the rules. It’s a question of degrees: candidates will always be marketed and branded, there will always be stagecraft involved in the game for sure, but in post-Obama politics, there may be a “base” for whom reality is actually a plus instead of something to compensate for or disguise. Or, if not an outright plus, something that issimplywhat it is and nothing more. Obama served on a board with Wiliam Ayers and lived near him. Even though McCain never succeeded, even though it was flimsy, he never stopped trying to pin more than that on Obama. He never had a choice because his role dictated it: since it was an undisputed fact that there was an Obama-Ayers connection, it was likely also factual that Obama would lie about it and McCain had to keep calling him out, even though it never stuck. Not enough people ever believed Obama was lying — about anything, much less Ayers.

Again, it’s a shift, not an entirely brand new game, but it’s a big shift, I’m not saying Obama isn’t above kabuki, but he never occupied an entire town to try to prove he was something he wasn’t.

W. bought the “western white house” in Crawford so he could appear real enough to win the 2000 election, so he could look like he wasfrom somewhere, like he was ofa certain culture. It didn’t fool all of us but it worked for a lot of people. At least he looked like he was trying. Eight long years later, now that pretty much everyone can seen through the holes in that cheap illusion, now that he’s run the country into the ground just like the rest of his endeavors, now that he no longer needs it, he’ll be leaving Crawford behind for the bright lights of Dallas, where I suspect he’ll feel right at home.

Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eye.

A steel and concrete soul with a warm hearted love disguise.

A rich man who tends to believe in his own lies.

Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eyes

7 thoughts on “Fold up the sidewalks

  1. There is something about being from a place that seems to count to people.
    Think of people cheering for a “home” team in professional or college football. These days the team is composed of men gathered from all around the United States, and in some cases the world. If I cheer for the 49ers is it because they are from here? Is it because they represent the views and philosophy of the area? (Gay quarterbacks, programmer fullbacks, artist centers, marketing half backs, writer linebackers?)
    Bush does the “I’m a brush-cutting “cowboy” from Texas” deal better than most people. He chose that instead of a alcoholic, spoiled rich kid from the east coast prep schools and colleges.
    I never understood what they meant when they said “Identity politics” but perhaps it is that people buy into a myth of what they want to believe in.
    I’m not as smart as people who go to Standford or Harvard. I’m not a rich as people in the Silicon Valley. I’m not as artistic or cultured as the people in San Francisco. I have tried to get “inside” in some of these areas, but there are certain prices of “admission” that I can’t pay. And so you just create your own realities. What I really want is more community with the like minded people who are found here. But distance and time get in the way.

  2. Jeeze – there goes the neighbourhood.
    He’ll have no end of people trying to suck up to faded glory, but deep down – the one thing Dallas doesn’t forgive is failure. Since Dubya has redefined FAIL downward, this will always be bubbling under the surface, everywhere he goes.
    Houston would be a better fit for him. People there quit pretending to be cowboys for the most part after 1985 (Zenu curse you, Travolta).
    As an ex cowboy myself (and an ex-Wacoite), I can tell you that the real ranchers and cattlemen around Crawford think of Oedipus Tex. They want to regard him respectfully, but deep down they know he’s a buffoon who wouldn’t know a wire-stretcher from a burdizzo.

  3. Crawford’s newspaper regularly endorses Dems. A genuine small town disrupted by all the whoopdedoo. Luckily some made a little cash on the proposition. I look forward to quiet normalcy and fewer planes overhead.

  4. My sister worked on that documentary! Highly recommend it.
    I so wish W weren’t coming here. There’s a lot about it to dislike, but I’ve come to love parts of my adopted home. This will definately be a mark on the “con” side.

  5. “I had to look up “burdizzo.”
    Well, the alternative is really really messy.
    You know, in the cowboy movies you never see bulls getting turned into steers.
    Nor fence-fixing, nor posthole-digging, nor scooping out botflies with a spoon. Ah, the glamour of the cowboy life.

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