My god, it’s full of stars

Odd morning for me here in Finland: the morning uplink brings word, simultaneously, of Arthur C. Clarke’s passing and of Barack Obama’s truly epochal speech on race.

I’m not really in a place at the moment, either practically or psychically, to integrate these two pieces of news or what (especially) the latter may portend. What I do feel, amid all the excellent reasons for sorrow that the world has on offer, is a measure of hope for the future. Just a measure, mind you, but it’s there and it’s real.

What a strange and unexpected thing to feel.

2 responses to “My god, it’s full of stars”

  1. Jamie says :

    On Obama’s speech: We’d be curious to hear your more “integrated” thoughts, if any, Adam.

    However, speaking from one person’s perspective within the USA [pedantry and/or USA politics alert: feel free to skip]:

    The speech was educational in the original or classical meaning of the word: to “draw out” or marshall knowledge or truths that the listener already knows. Seemed to me like Obama pieced together carefully chosen material that rings familiar to many American ears: historical facts, political realities, Biblical quotes, economic & demographic data, lines from his previous speeches, media analysis, moral and religious verities, cliches from Howard Hawks movies, junior high school civics lessons, etc.

    Many of these seem to be items that we’ve “all” heard or thought of, dozens if not hundred of times before — but effectively forgotten. We forget them again and again, in the blast and flood of daily infoglut as shaped by the scripts or stories that currently rule public discussion in the USA.

    So, the rhetoric that Obama is perfecting seems to be a very good corrective to a popular kind of collective, selective, fast-acting and structual amnesia. Maybe he does this by creating or recasting a narrative (individual & shared) that enables material previously unassimilable by certain listeners to be mentally retained, emotionally believed and politically acted upon in surprising and (as you put it) “strange and unexpected” ways.

    Who knows where it will all go? Maybe political movements (especially mainstream ones, including Omaba’s), as do nations, depend for their survival not only on the things they remember but also on what they forget (an idea shamelessly ripped off of Ernest Renan). However, Obama’s success so far suggests that there are many aspects of the past seven years of American history that a good number of people in the USA (as elsewhere) would very much like to “forget.”

    Apologies for the long comment.

  2. Dan says :

    “My god, it’s full of stars”

    Favourite. Line. Ever. First read it when I was 11 and it still sends shivers down my spine everytime I see it.

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