December 18, 2008

Being disagreeable

Barack Obama is defending his invitation to Rick Warren with a plea for postpartisanship.

What I've also said is that it is important for America to come together even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues... That dialogue, I think, is a part of what my campaign's been all about, that we're never going to agree on every single issue. What we have to do is create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable, and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans.

Greg Seargant asks "why campaigning against division and polarization by picking an equally radical choice on the left to give the invocation would be politically unthinkable?"

Meanwhile, consider how agreeable Warren himself chose to be -- how open to dialogue -- after the gay group Soulforce prematurely announced that leaders of Warren's Saddleback church, perhaps including Warren and his wife Kay, had agreed to break bread with gay Christian families on Father's Day:

We did not invite this group and I will not be meeting with them. They invited themselves to draw attention to their cross country publicity stunt. My staff has already told them that neither my wife nor I will meet with them for any discussion or debate.

Bear in mind that the Soulforce families were not asking to speak from the pulpit, or for Warren to publicly embrace them. They wanted a private conversation, to let Warren get to know some real people who were being hurt by his teachings and actions. And yet, not a chance.

Soulforce was traveling, by the way, with a mediator of sorts: gay-affirming pastor Jay Bakker. If Obama is really committed to having all Americans come together, he'll have Jay up there on January 20 too.

Finally, all this stuff about Warren is drowning out the other inaugural atrocity: a new musical composition by that hack John Williams! Is that really the pinnacle of contemporary American classical music? Maybe he'll reprise the theme from Jaws in time for a great white to bite Rick Warren's legs off.

Self-promotional update: Welcome, multitudinous friends of Andrew. If this topic interests you, I think you'll enjoy my book, Rapture Ready! Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture. NPR sez, "Highly recommended as a memoir, a meditation on American religious tensions, and a perfect example of why taking popular culture seriously is so important.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


"Reprise" is right. If you know your late-19th-century / early-20th-century late romantics, Williams' stuff is usually less derivative than outright larcenous. "Jaws," right. Fourth movement of the New World Symphony, anyone?

Fucking hack.

Maybe the choice of Williams is a subliminal sop to neo-Nazis, since most of his ouevre is paraphrased from Wagner. Or maybe in 1977 a teenage Barry O became a lifelong Star Wars geek. Sometimes a schmaltzy fanfare is just a schmaltzy fanfare.

Having a priest doing some jiggery-pokery at the inauguration is bullshit so he might as well make a crass political move with it. Sure I'd rather see Gene Robinson (or nobody) than Rick Warren but if he thinks this will help him keep Indiana and NC then fine. It's not like he'll lose CA and NY over it.
I'm not happy that he's taking gays and other liberals for granted but it's not like I didn't expect it. Beats evading the flaming death angels of the McCain/Palin/Jesus administration. Isn't that the choice his voters made? I didn't think I was voting for myself to be president.

Williams is pretty weak. Especially considering Bush got Gavin Bryars to write a valedictory piece for him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DScTBJ74Q5U

Is [John Williams] really the pinnacle of contemporary American classical music?

He's not, but having sat through too many tedious performances of contemporary American compositions, I'd rather hear Williams recycle the Star Wars/Superman/Indiana Jones themes than hear something new by one of the big names out there (John Adams, Christopher Rouse, etc.). [I've also heard better stuff by Michael Torke and John Harbison, but I don't think either of them is normally ranked near the top.]

My own vote would be for Wynton Marsalis, though I don't really care, since I'll probably forget to watch.

Of course, Marsalis -- or any of the other names up there -- might need more than three weeks to compose something that seems appropriate to the occasion. Williams can probably toss off some catchy tune in about 30 minutes, and won't care whether anyone remembers it in February.

another surprising Obama choice:

Obama should've picked Steve.

I guess it's a matter of reaching across or reaching around.

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