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What the man said.
January 22, 2009 11:50 AM   Subscribe

Obama Annotated. Marc Ambinder's play-by-play of the inauguration speech, courtesy of the Atlantic.
posted by puckish (47 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is good.
posted by swift at 11:57 AM on January 22, 2009


NoMobama.
posted by gman at 12:00 PM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


half empty
posted by Monstrous Moonshine at 12:06 PM on January 22, 2009


play-by-play

It's a few selected paragraphs with some debate class jargon interspersed. I liked the speech and would enjoy reading an analysis. If you find one, let us know.
posted by DU at 12:07 PM on January 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


You know, over the last day I did something I never do, I re-watched and reread the speech a number of times. It is not that I am generally uninterested in political speeches, I am usually pretty interested, but this is a speech (I feel) that keeps on giving the more you examine it. It is literary, it flows better than average and is pretty darned good in content.

I hope I am not just saying that because it was given by a political candidate that I supported, but even being fairly kind to Bush, he just wasn't that good of a speaker... and now we have someone who is. Clinton, for all his faults was/is a good speaker. In his way so was Reagan (and I detest Reagan). Bush I was ok, not great, Bush II bleh.

(fwiw, one of Bush II's speech writers hated it... given how craptacular those speeches where that is almost a badge of honor)
posted by edgeways at 12:11 PM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thin.
posted by cashman at 12:12 PM on January 22, 2009


Change, please?
posted by rokusan at 12:14 PM on January 22, 2009


His signature has been analyzed, fwiw.
posted by swift at 12:15 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


What about his stool?
posted by gman at 12:16 PM on January 22, 2009


Hopefully he had to pay The Atlantic to publish this.
posted by odinsdream at 12:17 PM on January 22, 2009


Speaking of stool - didn't they give Michelle a stool to stand on while she held the Lincoln bible? When Barack was all "that's for you!"? Is that some kind of tradition?
posted by cashman at 12:18 PM on January 22, 2009


parralel

?

Re: "America's decline is inevitable" -- Note the anthropomorphized "America"

I do not think that means what he thinks it means. Things that are not persons have been known to decline.

Call this Obama's axis of heroes: the "risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things" -- a direct contrast to those who seek material gains and celebrity, who have "carried us" -- note that Americans are being carried in this metaphor -- up the "rugged" path towards prosperity and freedom. By "rugged," we're reminded that the path isn't like an exponential curve. These Horatio Algers served causes greater than themselves "for us" -- Obama repeats this three times -- more anaphora.

This is a sublime compendium of the obvious and the irrelevant.

This is a direct, indirect criticism of the past administration. Note the deliberate alliteration -- caPacity, standing Pat, Protecting, Putting, Pleasant...

caPacity? Really? Is that a direct, indirect alliteration? Or... what?
posted by rusty at 12:23 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


This analysis kind of loses steam as it goes on, doesn't it? Start of speech: 'Hm, yes, exordium, parallel structures, anastrophe, yes.' End of speech: 'ZOMG, is 9/11 mention!:D'
posted by ormondsacker at 12:23 PM on January 22, 2009


didn't they give Michelle a stool

What goes on in the privacy of their own home is none of my business.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:25 PM on January 22, 2009


inauguration fatigue.
posted by Brian James at 12:30 PM on January 22, 2009


I'm not following things that closely, but the "44 Americans" thing troubles me more than anything else so far emanating from this admin (I have middling expectations of general competency from this admin, nothing more).

Since I feel to be a good agent of change one must be intimately familiar with the past, uttering this clanger was somewhat discomforting to me. . . what else don't these guys know???
posted by troy at 12:31 PM on January 22, 2009


Do what now?
posted by swift at 12:32 PM on January 22, 2009


Weak. Show me actual analysis. We really needed to be told "This is key paragraph: where Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton spoke of government in the binary terms of "big and small," for Obama, it's now whether government 'works," or does not work."
posted by lalochezia at 12:33 PM on January 22, 2009


I liked the speech and would enjoy reading an analysis. If you find one, let us know.


That Language Log dude gave had a great analysis of it on PRI's The World the other night. I can't figure out how to link the MP3 directly so, it's halfway down the page on the left:

The World
posted by The Straightener at 12:36 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are many more things that could be annotated. There are places with hints of analysis. This is thin, and not Metafilter-worthy.

This is key paragraph: where Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton spoke of government in the binary terms of "big and small," for Obama, it's now whether government 'works," or does not work.

Barely more than a paraphrase. But what is Obama alluding to? Universal health care? FDR-esque stimulus packages? Government-backed pensions?

Has a president ever acknowledged non-believers before?

I was hoping for answers, not questions.
posted by yath at 12:38 PM on January 22, 2009


didn't they give Michelle a stool to stand

No. It was for Sasha to stand on.
posted by ericb at 12:44 PM on January 22, 2009


http://www.theworld.org/audio/0120097.mp3
posted by jock@law at 12:56 PM on January 22, 2009


Ah, thanks ericb.
posted by cashman at 1:06 PM on January 22, 2009


don't drink the stool aid
posted by JVA at 1:07 PM on January 22, 2009


Where's the "content-free" flag?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:07 PM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


And I'm sorry, but Sasha is fiercer than the rest of the Obamas combined. I have a feeling Malia would be more in awe of her parents if Sasha wasn't just completely like 'sure, buddy'. She's going to be the first person on Mars or discover the cure to cancer or something, because she is just wholly unfazed by Barack. Somehow that has to be good, because I think he knows it too. His ego can't get too big because he knows Sasha is not stuttin him in the slightest unless she needs to get something done. President schmesident, where's my dog.
posted by cashman at 1:11 PM on January 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


I do not pay much if any atention to speeches because I am more interested in legislation asked for, legislation passed, but I wonder: does anyone know if Obama wrote his speech or did someone do it for him?
posted by Postroad at 1:12 PM on January 22, 2009


I was under the impression that he wrote most of his own speeches, but I lack data to back that up...
posted by Pantengliopoli at 1:17 PM on January 22, 2009


i heard that his staff wrote some of his inauguration speech but that he wrote the majority
posted by JVA at 1:18 PM on January 22, 2009


Did you know that "Maraca Kabob" is an anagram for "Barack Obama"? If you throw in his middle name, you get A Honkies Mascara, Bub.
posted by jquinby at 1:21 PM on January 22, 2009


Sasha will discover the cure for cancer on Mars.
posted by rusty at 1:28 PM on January 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obama wrote the inauguration speech in collaboration with his speechwriter Jon Favreau.

Obama inauguration: Words of history ... crafted by 27-year-old in Starbucks.
posted by ericb at 1:29 PM on January 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well... that was the weak sauce.

I had to quit before the page fully loaded, it dwindled so fast. The speech is just jam packed with stuff and past the earlier structural comments, it was kind of like he just lost interest, or was distracted.

C'mon, "Pick youself up, dust yourself off and (get back in the race)"; How could you miss that???
posted by djrock3k at 1:52 PM on January 22, 2009


By "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again" surely he was quoting this song. (the refrain)
posted by rongorongo at 1:55 PM on January 22, 2009


i got to exordium/exhordium and quit. yes, 2 sentences.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:00 PM on January 22, 2009


I'm not following things that closely, but the "44 Americans" thing troubles me more than anything else so far emanating from this admin (I have middling expectations of general competency from this admin, nothing more).

Give me a fucking break. A guy who was elected president of the Harvard Law Review overlooks an obscure piece of historical trivia ("nuh-uh!! Cleveland was 22 and 24--ooh! caught you looking stupid! heh!" you say, while our previous administration thought the prime minister of Spain might be a dangerous leftist terrorist sponsor!) and moron pundits and bitter cranks thump their chests over the significance of the mistake because they know and care so little about substantive issues they typically can't even recognize them and so their only recourse is to build themselves by tearing others down.

Ironically, a lot of the outlets that first reported the mistake cited Obama's own revamped White House website as their source. So whatever. God I wish I had a nickel for every bone headed "historical fact" Bush or the Republicans in general got wrong over the previous 8 years. Like how progressive taxation is Marxist in origin (never mind it was staunch Republican Teddy Roosevelt who enacted it). Just--on second thought, no forget it.

That said, about the fpp: Yeah, pretty weak analysis.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:16 PM on January 22, 2009


Thanks ericb - interesting back-story to the impressive speech. Jon Favreau is yet another person younger than I making me feel like I should have gotten more done with my life by now.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:24 PM on January 22, 2009


I'd really like to see an analysis of the speech by Toby Ziegler.

(Why no, I'm not watching The West Wing in some kind of bizarre marathon, why do you ask?)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:01 PM on January 22, 2009


John Favreau is about six months older than I am. That gives me six months to catch up!

Oi. The pressure. I think I'll nap.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:05 PM on January 22, 2009


I liked the speech and would enjoy reading an analysis. If you find one, let us know.

I read this yesterday & enjoyed it. It doesn't get into the rhetorical construction and is intended as humor, but pointed out a few of the current events references I missed.
It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

(I’m getting eloquent on your ass, now)

Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new,

(think of me as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark - making it up as I go along - because that’s what the situation - and the world - needs right now, and you know I’d look good in a fedora)

but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old.

(they may have went out of fashion over the past eight years, but they’ll always remain stylish)

These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.

(I know that this actually happened because I read books)
It comes from wordsmoker, one of whose authors creates the baffling filled with chocolate pudding.
posted by morganw at 3:34 PM on January 22, 2009


While this analysis might be a little short, the fact that any of those fancy two dollar words would make sense applied to a speech given by the man we elected makes me feel good, especially if I stop to think about what sort of analysis we'd be seeing of the inauguration day speeches had someone else won.
posted by Kiablokirk at 3:34 PM on January 22, 2009


Ambinder's really awful. During the election, he kept running polls on his site that asked things like "This latest development; bad news for Obama, or terrible news for Obama?"
posted by EarBucket at 4:56 PM on January 22, 2009


John Favreau is about six months older than I am. That gives me six months to catch up!

Obama's only a few years older than me. No way in hell I'm catching up.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:09 PM on January 22, 2009


I liked learning the debate/rhetoric jargon. That was interesting. The actual analysis could have been way better though.

Word cloud
of the speech.
posted by nickyskye at 6:33 PM on January 22, 2009


oops, meant to include the comparisons of word clouds between Obama's speech and other inaugural or Presidential speeches.
posted by nickyskye at 6:36 PM on January 22, 2009


Are speeches like this meant to be analyzed in detail, or are they more like, say, a plate of beans?

Surely this isn't nearly as important as what brand of camera his daughters use or whether he gets to keep his Blackberry...
posted by Foosnark at 6:53 AM on January 23, 2009


I don't know how many people are still reading this thread at this stage - however author Jonathan Raban's analysis of Obama's speech beats the Atlantic article in terms of interest I think.
posted by rongorongo at 2:29 PM on January 29, 2009


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