Thursday, January 28, 2010

State of the Tragedy/Drama/Comedy Address

Ever since I was talked into watching one of Jimmy Carter's State of the Union Addresses (I think it was a compatibility test), I have tended to ignore the words and await the deeds before passing judgement on politicians. If you ignore the words, one gets to see the text in the body language of the speaker and his audience. The fixed camera angle which framed President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Vice-President Biden was the predominant image presented to me as I flipped channels trying to avoid the 2010 State of the Union Address last night. I missed the early parts of the speech, and found myself fixated on Vice-President Biden's scowl on the President's right, and Speaker Pelosi's smirk on the President's left. The video clip below shows that, early on in the clip, the Veep was able to create a broad grin, but by the 2 minute mark the more comfortable scowl starts to settle in.

Was anyone else annoyed by the repeated standing ovations? I wonder if all those interruptions are really necessary, or are they just to emphasize the sound bite style of modern political pontifications. Or maybe the standing o's are just part of the show.

The rest of the night I kept seeing visions of theatrical masks.

I wonder why?


  1. Jimmy Carters SOTU after the Iranians took hostages was the last one of these I watched. They are all exactly the same: oodles of vague statements of intention short on specifics, and full of assurances that things are just fine and oh by the way, will get a lot better next year.

    After the speech, half the pundits will laud it as the greatest moment in public speaking since Cicero graced the Roman Senate. The other half will compare it to toxic sludge.

    As for me, I watched several episodes of The Office on DVD, drank two Coronas and went to bed. It was a much more profitable and politically responsible thing to do IMHO.


  2. I watched it all. But I used the pause button a lot. I'd get up and go doe something and then come back and I watch some more of it.

  3. Randall,

    I was sipping a glass of the fruit of the vine and watching a show comparing special forces operations in WWII and Gulf War.

    So P.,

    How and why did you do it, and will you do it again?

    Check out Anglicat's note about the President's call to an end to continuous campaigning. I sent her a comment about the request for money B.O. sent me after the speech, but she has not posted it yet.


  4. Hi U.P.,

    I guess I thought it was my "civic duty". I like o know what the President sees as the problems facing the country and if he has a coherent philosophy and plan of action.

    And I do like to compare the words spoken to the actual deeds.

    I did notice one thing I haven't seen mentioned in media discussions of the speech. Not too long after he criticized the recent Supreme Court decision, Obama said "The confirmation of well-qualified public servants shouldn't be held hostage to the pet projects or grudges of a few individual senators."

    But when he was a U.S. Senator, Obama was one of the senators to vote against the confirmation of Justice Alito.

    What a burn on him that now he is President he finds that sort of behavior that he himself displayed is obstructionist.