"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Minor misquoting of Faulker, otherwise great speech.

I thought the Faulkner reference Obama made in his speech was from Absalom, Absalom. Certainly could have been: "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." I was sure I'd read that line before which meant it had to be from Absalom, or As I Lay Dying (one might naturally think it could have been in there, too), the first half of Light in August, or one of several short stories. If Yahoo's Answers.com is credible, however, it's none of the above, and Obama changed it slightly for better rhetorical effect, perhaps, or maybe he just remembered it incorrectly and nobody cite checked it for him.

Please understand that I do not want to detract from the extremely important, timely, serious messages of Obama's speech. I think this is probably the best speech given in a political campaign in my lifetime. But since we've so long languished under the dangerous rule of a man who most likely doesn't even know who Faulkner is and definitely doesn't care, I think Obama may have successfully tapped into the little-documented but no doubt influential "English major vote." Despite having taken some liberties with Faulkner. As long as he doesn't take too many liberties. Just because all our sensibilities have been offended for eight years doesn't mean we have to throw our standards out the window at the first sign of literate leadership.

I also wonder what might happen to Clinton if she tried to address gender inequality in a similarly direct way. Huh. Guess that's why she hasn't.

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