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    • The Attack In Ottawa will be used to justify losing more rights
      Prime Minister Harper pretty much confirmed it: ‘Our laws and police powers need to be strengthened’ Yup.  Never let a crisis go to waste. I’m very sad that MPs and their staff were scared, and I’m sadder that a soldier lost his life.  But one attack does not justify increasing the police state.  However, if [...]
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Why do I experience Barack Obama as so inauthentic?

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I’m hoping someone can help me understand why Barack Obama comes across to me as so inauthentic. Is it just because I don’t like the man? I’ve mellowed quite a bit toward him. I don’t fly into a rage anymore when I hear him talk. I no longer feel nauseated when I see him on TV. I generally distrust him; but I don’t feel intense emotion about it anymore.

I detested Ronald Reagan, but I never got a feeling that he wasn’t authentic. I always felt that Reagan was pretty straightforward in his words and actions, and sometimes I even found myself almost being charmed by him. I thought he was very bad for the country and felt he was unqualified to be President, but I never thought he was a phony. I despised George W. Bush and thought his policies were dangerous–even evil. But I never got the feeling that he wasn’t being authentic. He always came across to me as pretty upfront about who he was and what his sympathies were.

When I refer to authenticity, I mean it in the sense that Heiddeger used the term. From Wikipedia:

Authenticity is a technical term in existentialist philosophy, and is also used in the philosophy of art and psychology. In philosophy, the conscious self is seen as coming to terms with being in a material world and with encountering external forces, pressures and influences which are very different from, and other than, itself. Authenticity is the degree to which one is true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character, despite these pressures.

Here is another description of authenticity that resonates with me:

Authenticity is synonymous with Integrity in the sense of a “state of being whole and undivided”. Being authentic is our most natural state though often contrary to our conditioning. What is authentic for each of us is something only we can know and stay true to. Authenticity helps us choose to what we should devote our energy and in making that choice we invest what we do with meaning and live ‘on purpose’. We actively engage in the making of meaning when we choose authenticity; each begets the other.

I like the idea of an authentic personality being whole and undivided. It has always seemed to me that Obama has no clear sense of himself–of who he is and how he fits into the worlds he inhabits. A few days ago, commenter Inky applied the term “inauthentic” to Obama in the sense (I think) that I’m talking about–that of a feeling response that she had to him. She too was discussing Obama’s behavior during a TV interview–the one where he called Kanye West a “jackass.” Here is a portion of the comment:

I acknowledge that I have a predisposition to finding Obama inauthentic, but I recommend watching the video one more time. Does it really still feel authentic to you? Especially after Obama’s misstep on the Gates v. cop controversy, making such a comment seems like such a no-brainer to me; I certainly would have advised him to do just that if I were David Axelrod

Is that what I’m feeling? That Obama sounds inauthentic because he has practiced the lines that are bothering me? I really don’t think so. Most of Obama’s appearances seem practiced and somewhat artificial. To some extent, the President has to be. I think there is something more happening here, but I’m not sure what.

I’m not talking about lying. All politicians lie. I’m talking about something more subtle, and I’m not sure what it is–speaking style, body language? It seems to me I get the same sense of inauthenticity from Obama whether I’m just listening to his words or watching while he speaks them. In fact, the inauthenticity may come across more strongly when I’m just listening to him.

Some recent examples are in Obama’s appearance on David Letterman Monday night. I heard some excerpts from the show on NPR yesterday, and I got that strong sense of inauthenticity when Obama spoke about his daughters having sleepovers with friends over the summer and their friends’ parents getting frisked by the Secret Service. I don’t know if it was the words themselves that bothered me, or the way he said them. It could even be a sense that Obama isn’t comfortable when he jokes or when he talks about his powerful role as President. Here is some poor video of that section of the interview. The “frisked” comment is around 3:56.

Another place in the interview where I got that same feeling when when Obama “joked” that he had already been black before he got elected President. Here’s that portion of the interview. The part that bothered me most was when he said “one of the things you sign up for in politics is that folks yell at ya.” Whenever Obama refers to “folks,” I get that feeling of inauthenticity. Why?

Here are a few more excerpts from the interview.

Am I seeing something real here, or is it just my dislike of Obama coming through? Again, I’m not talking about his lies. We all know he lies constantly. Is it that he seems inauthentic when he tells the truth? Or when he talks about himself or his family? I wish I knew.

Could it be a class thing? I come from a middle-class family, but certainly not upper middle class. My mother’s father was a dentist and her siblings all went to college and were successful. My father’s family was definitely working class, but he moved into the middle class as result of his service in the army–which enabled him to go to college, get a Ph.D. and buy a home. My family is very down to earth. Could it be that I resent Obama when he tries to seem “folksy?”

I really think I’m sensing something about his character–am I making too much of this? Am I getting too “meta?” I’d really be interested to know if anyone else understands the feeling I’m trying to get at, and especially whether anyone can articulate what it is that bothers me so much about Obama’s behavior in interviews.

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Your Breakfast Read: Anywhere but Jersey

It’s just another cloudy, damp, cool, depressing day in New Jersey.  I saw the sun, briefly, yesterday afternoon, but it isn’t scheduled to reappear until I don’t know when.  My two weather forecaster widgets are in conflict.  One says Sunday.  The other runs out of days so that I have to go to the extended forecast to find out if there will ever be sun again.  It’s like Seattle here, not that there’s anything wrong with Seattle- had I *chosen* to live there.  But I’d rather be in Paris, sipping cafe au lait and munching a croissant  as I read the news.

Ahhh, that’s better.

Obama takes tepid steps to re-regulate the finance industry.  Mustn’t be too hasty, Haroooommmm.  And forget real reform.  That would be like “tilting at windmills”.  I can almost hear him whining, “What do you want ME to do about it?  I’m only the president, not God.  Jeez, I get blamed for everything I do.”  Hey, he wanted the job badly enough to screw the rest of us to get it.  I think asking him for better performance is only reasonable.

Baseline Scenario interprets the entrails on the finance industry regulatory reform package.  Simon Johnson says we need a  fighter in the Obama administration.  Um, yeah.  How do they say it in England?  “Not bloody likely.”

Getting back to last night’s discussion about mistrust and illusion over the news in Iran, Bill Keller at the NYTimes says you’re not paranoid if they really are out to shut you off from the outside world. Iran isn’t exactly 3rd world.  Cell phones are ubiquitous there.  Imagine if you were subjected to sporadic service on your phone for the last 5 days.  I just have to wonder how long the country can disrupt its own telecommunications system before it causes irreparable damage to their economy.

Slate is wondering why Obama is taking a dispassionately Dukakis-esque attitude towards the turmoil in Iran.  Yep, Moussavi is still pretty conservative but he’s taking on Khamenei.  Surely, SURELY, that’s worth a “You go, Mir!”  Slate thinks Obama’s 6000 word speeches are nuanced and complex.  I think they consist of a neverending series of prepositional phrases that don’t connect anything and bear little relation to one another.  But I can see where it is easy to get fooled.  All that mind numbing rambling must mean something, right?  You were just not paying attention.  Anyway, someone is bound to bring up Iran again with Obama.  It’s just so unfair.  Is he supposed to have an opinion on everything???

Our friend Betty Jean Kling was in NYC for a Fire Dave Letterman rally.  I wouldn’t want to mess with Betty Jean if I were Dave.

I’ve just started running and lo and behold!, there is already a new trend I have to learn.  It’s barefoot running.  Yeah, the theory goes if you can only get over the cuts and bruises of running in an urban setting without your shoes, you will develop good running posture and stride.  For the sissies among us (moi!) who tremble at the thought of shedding our $100 Nikes to expose our bare tootsies to the sharp little bits of gravel we’ll be stepping on, there are huarache running sandals.  Either way, painkillers are involved.  It’s either motrin for the shin pain or topical anesthetics for the lacerations.  Gosh!  I’m so glad I decided to take up running.  It feels soooo good when I stop.

Podcast du Jour: Molly and Kristen at Stuff Mom Never Told You explain what happened to the Obots last year when they discuss the roll of neurobiology in attaction.  What happens when the Sizzle starts to Fizzle?

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Socially Unacceptable

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Remember a couple weeks back when Barack, Michelle and their media entourage flew to New York City one Saturday night for dinner and a show?  Imagine what would have happened if the following week David Letterman did a “Top Ten” list of the worst moments of their trip and said this:

Number 2 – Finding out that the restaurant didn’t serve fried chicken and watermelon

Not only would Letterman be retired right now, but so would the writers and producers of his show and the head of CBS would be offering profuse apologies to the Obamas. There would be protests, advertising boycotts, and denunciations of Letterman from the leaders of both parties. You can be sure Keith Olbermann would be ranting “How dare you sir!” and he wouldn’t be blaming the Obama’s for political opportunism. People would be outraged, and rightly so.

Not that long ago racism was socially acceptable and racial discrimination was legal.  Academics prepared scholarly treatises asserting the superiority of the white race.  Many (white) people believed that it was the “white man’s burden” to exercise control over the “lesser” races for their own benefit.

Senator Robert Byrd of West Virgina is a former member of the Ku Klux Klan. That was in 1942.  He is now third in line of succession to the Presidency. Former senator and Supreme Court justice Hugo Black is another prominent figure who once belonged to the Klan.

At it’s peak in the 1920’s the Klan had millions of members from all levels of society:

Indiana’s Klansmen represented a wide cross section of society: they were not disproportionately urban or rural, nor were they significantly more or less likely than other members of society to be from the working class, middle class, or professional ranks.

Once upon a time the Klan had major political influence in the South and Midwest. Nowadays the Klan is a fringe group that is viewed with disgust by the vast majority of the nation.

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This is what a feminist looks like

Spare me the “she’s an anti-choice conservative” bullshit.  So is Obama.

Sarah said more in defense of women than NOW did.

From Transcript (unofficial):

Here’s the problem, Matt – the double standard that has been applied here. One, let’s talk politically, the double standard. First, remember in the campaign, Barack Obama said the family’s off-limits – you don’t talk about my family. And the candidate who must be obeyed – everybody adhered to that and left his family. They haven’t done that on the other side of the ticket, and it has continued to this day. So that’s a political double standard. But here again, the double standard when it comes to acceptance of a celebrity being able to get way with a disparaging comment that does erode a young girl’s self-esteem and does contribute to some of the problems that we have in society.

[...]

He doesn’t have to apologize to me.

I would like to see him apologize to young women across the country for contributing to that–kind of that thread that is throughout our culture that makes it sound like that it’s okay to talk about young girls in that way. Where it’s kind of okay and accepted and funny to talk about statutory rape. It’s not cool. It’s not funny.

FIRE DAVID LETTERMAN

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