Tuesday, January 20, 2009

First Thoughts

I record these for mostly my future curiosity, after time and the influence of others has reshaped them.

I thought Ric Warren's invocation was dreadful. Aretha! Too bad the Chief Justice screwed up the oath. However, Obama was already President by then--according to the Constitution, he became Prez at noon, regardless. The benediction by Joseph Lowery was powerful. The poem was wonderful as well. I loved the ceremony ending with Stars and Stripes forever. It made me think of my grandfather, who loved marches. And of course, Yo Yo Ma rules.

The Inaugural Address: It impressed me as stern and spare, without much rhetorical flourish, though Obama delivered it with great feeling and style. It seemed a strong statement of the historical moment. It was not visionary in the way that Kennedy's was--I listened to it again last night, and it remains daring and revolutionary in its call for the future. I'll have to go back and look at FDR's first inaugural, but at the moment I'm feeling that Obama's comes in third. (I'm not a real big fan of Lincoln's second inaugural--except of course for the last and most famous paragraph.) It will be interesting to see what phrase or sentence gets preserved as the essence of Obama's speech, because nothing jumped out right away. Then again, the "Ask not" sentence was not the most quoted of JFK's right away. It was probably "The torch has passed to a new generation..."

The TV coverage hasn't been bad, with especially some great field reporting--the African American reporters in particular are giving themselves to the historical moment.

On the crass or pop culture side, I noticed last night and today that Pepsi has gone all out to exploit the similarity of their traditional logo to the Obama campaign logo, with a series of high profile commercials. Interesting.

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