December 18, 2008

Admit it! You're jealous of Jon Favreau!

"'He looks like he's in college and everybody calls him Favs, so you're like, "This guy can't be for real, right?"' said Ben Rhodes, another Obama speechwriter. 'But it doesn't take long to realize that he's totally synced up with Obama. . . . He has access to everything and everybody. There's a lot weighing on his shoulders.'"

Totally synced up with Obama... a 27-year-old guy... and he's the one writing those golden words.
Three months ago, Favreau lived in a group house with six friends in Chicago, where he rarely shaved, never cooked and sometimes stayed up to play video games until early morning....

Last month, Favreau met for an hour in Chicago with Obama... and they agreed to theme [the inaugural address] around, Favreau said, "this moment that we're in..."
Just like an "American Idol" finale song!
"... and the idea that America was founded on certain ideals that we need to take back."
Claim the Framers for your side. Good move! Make liberalism traditional.
Obama asked for a first draft by Thanksgiving. Favreau explained that he had planned a vacation and promised a draft by this week.
What a cocky guy! Imagine telling Obama -- who's entrusted you with the inauguration speech -- that you've got a vacation planned. Man, I would have just made a mental note to cancel my vacation, wouldn't you?
During his vacation, Favreau e-mailed notes to himself via BlackBerry while visiting friends in Manhattan and talked about structure at his family's Thanksgiving dinner.
Talked about structure at his family's Thanksgiving dinner... uh, okay. I guess that means the structure of the inaugural address. Not just structure, generally. Which is what we talk about chez Althouse. The structure of the universe, the structure of scientific revolutions, the structure of white and dark meat on the avian skeleton, etc.
Favreau... listens to Obama tell stories in his office and spins them into developed metaphors, rich in historical context. When Obama delivers a speech on the road, Favreau studies the recording and notes the points at which Obama departs from the text so he can refine the riffs and incorporate them next time.

In four years together, Obama and Favreau have perfected their writing process....
So he started this mind-merge when he was 23?
[I]n 2004, ... Obama, just elected to the Senate, needed to hire a speechwriter. He brought Favreau, then 23, into the Senate dining room for an interview on his first day in office. They talked for 30 minutes about harmless topics such as family and baseball before Obama turned serious.

"So," he said. "What's your theory on speechwriting?"
Theory! I love that. Now, what would you have said at that point? Theory? Speechwriting has a theory? Uh...
"A speech can broaden the circle of people who care about this stuff," Favreau said. "How do you say to the average person that's been hurting: 'I hear you. I'm there. Even though you've been so disappointed and cynical about politics in the past, and with good reason, we can move in the right direction. Just give me a chance.' "

"I think this is going to work," Obama said.
So, presumably, that was just about the best answer to an interview question anyone ever gave. Or do you think Favreau also has some magical charisma that Obama saw and saw himself in?
Two weeks after the election, Favreau accepted a new job that essentially came with a new life. He moved back to Washington, hired a real estate agent, bought his first apartment and ordered furniture from Pottery Barn that sits unopened in nine boxes lined against his wall. He will need to buy more jackets and ties to replace his preferred outfit of jeans and a sweater. Friends joke that Favreau suddenly turned 40 this year -- but he still shows flashes of 27.

At a party at his parents' house over Thanksgiving vacation, he danced and posed awkwardly next to a cardboard cutout of Clinton.
He cupped his hand over her "breast."
A buddy uploaded photos onto Facebook, reporters discovered them, and suddenly experts were debating Favreau's maturity on television. Favreau called Clinton and Obama to apologize. They told him not to worry, but he still does.
Don't worry, Jon, everyone is just hopelessly -- profoundly -- jealous. It's got to drive everyone crazy that you are 27.

IN THE COMMENTS: Palladian says:
Jealousy and disgust are not the same thing.

It says a lot about both Favreau and Obama that they apparently find it acceptable to generalize their supposed beliefs as "this stuff". I'm surprised that given Favreau's demographic and apparent lifestyle he didn't say "a speech can broaden the circle of people who care about this shit." Shit, stuff... who can be bothered to actually be specific about any of that "hopey-changey" nonsense? Apparently not even Obama or the guy who writes the crap for him.

In a way, though, this guy is the archetype of the Obama devotee. He doesn't really have much in the way of life experience or wisdom, but he's smart enough and educated enough that he can simulate it. Everything is simply meta-comment, removed from actual experiences, motivations or beliefs. He can cobble together lofty-sounding rhetoric while living in a house with six people, sitting up all night playing video games and then, presumably, sleeping all day while the "average person who's been hurting" is out there trying to pay the bills. He thinks it perfectly appropriate to tell his boss, the next President of the United States of America, that his deadline is getting in the way of his vacation and, amazingly, his boss accepts that. Because why let something trivial like another lofty, empty speech at the Presidential Inauguration get in the way of "visiting friends in Manhattan"? Now, of course, he's rolling in cash so he calls up a real estate agent and orders an apartment and calls up Pottery Barn and orders some furniture so he can set up something approaching one of those "home" things that the "average person who's been hurting" seem to like and want so much. Hell, maybe he should start thinking about getting one of those "family" things that everyone seems to have... Eh, who has time for that now? He's got so much "hope" and "change" to cram into another speech, so many ill-fitting suits to buy, so many raids scheduled in World of Warcraft... and he hasn't even shaven yet!

Jon Favreau: a blank slate writing aphorisms onto another blank slate.
And yet, what is undeniable is that this writing worked in the real world on millions of people. There is a mystery to writing, and some people have a gift, and they can give the impression of understanding all sorts of feelings and experiences that they have never had. I'm thinking of cheeky young novelists and songwriters who somehow make people believe they've tapped the depths. Stuff like this.

Or should I say shit. But I like stuff:

108 comments:

TosaGuy said...

Everyone who thinks they are somebody is jealous, the rest of us are not.

David said...

No, I am too old to be jealous of Jon Favreau, and too satisfied with my own life

Is this how Lincoln did it?

MadisonMan said...

Just like an "American Idol" finale song!

American Idol is back in only 4 or so weeks! Hooray!

I will be watching the season debut to identify the people who aren't mentioned but who nevertheless make the final 24, like Jason Castro.

Skeptical said...

"Structure of scientific revolutions"? Who among us expected a shout-out to Thomas Kuhn in this post?

Rich B said...

This administration is gonna be even more fun than the Clinton administration. Guys like Fav are bringing their special levitas to the team.

onparkstreet said...

Jealous? No, more like, that explains the content-free gassiness.

"A speech can broaden the circle of people who care about this stuff," Favreau said. "How do you say to the average person that's been hurting: 'I hear you. I'm there. Even though you've been so disappointed and cynical about politics in the past, and with good reason, we can move in the right direction. Just give me a chance.' "

Haha. I laughed out loud when I saw the picture of him with the cutout Clinton. Figures it would be someone like him to write those speeches. Somehow, it confirms my view of the world. Jon Favreau, you are this decades George Stephanopolous.

MD

Simon said...

So, if one has been on the record as saying that Obama's oratory isn't all it's cracked up to be,* to what extent is essentially being critical of his ghost writer?

* As I've been, here and elsewhere. Throughout 2007 and 2008 I repeatedly asserted that despite the praises for various speeches by Obama, I found them vapid, shallow, and orotund - in short, poor oratory.

SteveR said...

He uses too many "umm"s.

bearbee said...

Good grief. So now we are down to a speechwriter? When will we get articles on O's preferred brand of shampoo, shaving lotion and toilet tissue, I wonder?

OT
On a more relevant note:
Bush considering "orderly" auto bankruptcy

Simon said...

Bearbee - best quote from that link, I think, is Bush's comment about Obama: "I thought about what it would be like for me to become president during this period. I believe that good policy is not to dump him a major catastrophe on his first day in office." You're a good man, Charlie Brown.

Lem said...

I look foward to Favs tell all in two tree years.

AJ Lynch said...

This makes me encouraged that the DEMS have peaked.

So far in the last five weeks, the Blago debacle ensares Rahm Emanual, then Princess Caroline gets serious consideration for a Senate seat and now I read Obama's main man is a 27 year-old lightweight.

Palladian said...

Jealousy and disgust are not the same thing.

It says a lot about both Favreau and Obama that they apparently find it acceptable to generalize their supposed beliefs as "this stuff". I'm surprised that given Favreau's demographic and apparent lifestyle he didn't say "a speech can broaden the circle of people who care about this shit." Shit, stuff... who can be bothered to actually be specific about any of that "hopey-changey" nonsense? Apparently not even Obama or the guy who writes the crap for him.

In a way, though, this guy is the archetype of the Obama devotee. He doesn't really have much in the way of life experience or wisdom, but he's smart enough and educated enough that he can simulate it. Everything is simply meta-comment, removed from actual experiences, motivations or beliefs. He can cobble together lofty-sounding rhetoric while living in a house with six people, sitting up all night playing video games and then, presumably, sleeping all day while the "average person who's been hurting" is out there trying to pay the bills. He thinks it perfectly appropriate to tell his boss, the next President of the United States of America, that his deadline is getting in the way of his vacation and, amazingly, his boss accepts that. Because why let something trivial like another lofty, empty speech at the Presidential Inauguration get in the way of "visiting friends in Manhattan"? Now, of course, he's rolling in cash so he calls up a real estate agent and orders an apartment and calls up Pottery Barn and orders some furniture so he can set up something approaching one of those "home" things that the "average person who's been hurting" seem to like and want so much. Hell, maybe he should start thinking about getting one of those "family" things that everyone seems to have... Eh, who has time for that now? He's got so much "hope" and "change" to cram into another speech, so many ill-fitting suits to buy, so many raids scheduled in World of Warcraft... and he hasn't even shaven yet!

Jon Favreau: a blank slate writing aphorisms onto another blank slate.

Darcy said...

He uses too many "umm"s.

Hee.

downtownlad said...

Sounds like Palladian is jealous.

BJK said...

I admit it; I'm horribly jealous of the other Jon Favreau.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0269463/

He gets to make movies about the stuff I used to read as a kid.

Lem said...

Jon Favreau: a blank slate writing aphorisms onto another blank slate.

The time for diplomacy is over. Palla, Stop being so nice, cutting these people so much slack.

Why don’t tell us how you reeeally feel ;)

AJ Lynch said...

Steve R:

I hear Favreau is working hard to cut down on the "uhs" and "umms".

Palladian said...

"Sounds like Palladian is jealous."

I'd never be jealous of anyone who has Pottery Barn furniture.

Der Hahn said...

onparkstreet - that bit jumped out at me, too but for a different reason.

I feel your pain.

Though Favreau evidently thinks he said "Feel up my pain."

Cedarford said...

I AM jealous of Jon Favreau.

And at the same time so happy a young guy with huge talent was able to get spotted and make a difference to the country. A big difference, one outside the experience of almost all his age peers - except for those serving with distinction in our military in the carnage of war.

Serendipity struck. For him and Obama.

This was a guy who got a press flunky internship through a priest who knew John Kerry's Boston office manager. Was discovered to have his own writing talent when he asked someone to give him pointers on how bad his 1st speech - the valedictorian address at Holy Cross, was. It wasn't bad.
When Kerry emerged after the Dean meltdown, Favreau at 22 was already "upgraded" and working with senior speechwriters and strategists of the 2004 Presidential Campaign. And still fetching coffee.

When Kerry failed, he interviewed for other jobs with Democrats (and a few moderate Republicans) who were running for Congress. Obama communications aide Robert Gibbs, who had worked for Kerry's campaign and helped spot the kid, recommended him to Obama as someone he should interview. Obama, interviewed him, and thought he would be a good person to try out. And Obama picked him over dozens of older, more experienced writers in 2005. And kept him and found Favreau's stuff worked great.
Great enough that he was offered the national spot on Obama's distant long-odds presidential campaign as chief speechwriter in 2007.

Favreau says he writes thinking of the inspired collaboration that existed between Bobby Kennedy and writer Adam Wilinsky. His all time favorite speechwriter is Peggy Noonan...who he is in awe of. And a fan of Michael Gerson, who made Bush's speeches after 9/11.

Movies get made of stuff like this.

Guy's properly modest, too...ensuring the boss gets his deserved credit - Favreau has likened his position to "Ted Williams’s batting coach," because of Obama's celebrated abilities as a speaker and writer.

That said, if he is the guy who wrote the crap in Obama's speech after Hillary conceeded: about "this is the moment" when the planet begins to heal, the sick begin being cured, good jobs are created, and the ocean's rise stops..." well, at least on THAT, the "young upstart" deserves a bitch slapping....

Pastafarian said...

I don't think jealousy is the right emotion, causing the bile to rise in my throat, as I think of this vacuous little frat-boy imposing his mindless drivel on us all.

I have no ambitions to be a speech writer, or an empty-headed frat boy. No, it's not jealousy.

Just good old honest disgust.

MayBee said...

Wait.
That picture was taken over Thanksgiving?
I had just assumed it had been taken during the primaries.

Thanksgiving?
She's already been chosen for SoS!!

LarsPorsena said...

AJ:

"I hear Favreau is working hard to cut down on the "uhs" and "umms"."

There are definitely more "uh..uhs" than "umms" in BO's speeches.

Michael said...

He was hilarious in "Four Christmases."

AJ Lynch said...

How long will it be til Althouse is also on board the "where's the beef" chuckwagon?

Michael said...

J Lynch said..."This makes me encouraged that the DEMS have peaked. So far in the last five weeks, the Blago debacle ensares Rahm EmanualSo far in the last five weeks, the Blago debacle ensares Rahm Emanual..."

"Peaked"??

"Ensnares"??

Wishful thinking from a right wing dolt.

Palladian said...

"Movies get made of stuff like this."

Wow, what a fascinating movie that will be.

3:37 AM: Unshaven 27 year old puts down his PS3 controller, picks up his Blackberry and emails himself the words "Yes We Can!". Farts. Adjusts crotch through his sweatpants. Picks up PS3 controller.

1:21 PM: Unshaven 27 year old awakened by commotion as one of his six housemates floods the toilet.

11:19 PM: Cups the breast of a cardboard cut-out of Hillary Clinton after his 6th shot of J├Ągermeister.

MayBee said...

Favreau wrote a first draft of the Democratic National Convention acceptance speech, but his boss thought it lacked direction. Obama rewrote it, and it ended up almost 15 minutes too long. Favreau spent three days traveling across the country with Obama so they could trim the speech, editing until a few hours before Obama stepped to the lectern in front of more than 84,000 people in Denver.

---
At the time of the convention, I remember an excess of fawning coverage about Obama writing his own convention speech. Like this one from TIME.

Skyler said...

Pasta said: "I don't think jealousy is the right emotion, causing the bile to rise in my throat, as I think of this vacuous little frat-boy imposing his mindless drivel on us all."

Lots of people blamed Rove for things done by Bush. Rove never had an ounce of power. Bush had the power.

Favreau doesn't impose anything on us, Obama is the one choosing to use those words. There's no point in getting riled up about a petty speech writer. They may make the words pretty, but they aren't responsible for the action to back up the words, and no speech is given that isn't approved by Obama.

If Fav's speeches are devoid of content, that's Obama's fault, not his. Let's not divert focus from the real cause of the vacuum.

Skyler said...

I wonder which is better, having a frat boy as a speech writer or an insufferable snob like Peggy Noonan?

BJM said...

Althouse said:It's got to drive everyone crazy that you are 27.

Favreau is a full on idiot and living proof that the nation is indeed trending dimwit.

(h/t to Vodkapundit)

ricpic said...

Cedarputz has a hardon for Obama because Obama's gonna hang out Israel to dry.

Freeman Hunt said...

I don't have any strong feelings about Favreau one way or the other; there's nothing wrong with being 27 and successful. Even if one thinks that that success is undeserved, that's not Favreau's fault.

However, now that I know more about Favreau, Obama's speeches make more sense to me. They sound exactly like something that such a person would write!

Sometimes I wish I could filter Obama's speeches through the mind of someone who is moved by them. I would like to see exactly what it is that such a person finds appealing. As it is, I can't relate.

bearbee said...

MayBee said...
At the time of the convention, I remember an excess of fawning coverage about Obama writing his own convention speech. Like this one from TIME.

Sorry to keep going O/T but when I linked to the BO TIME article I also saw these other articles:

Mapping the Rats in New York City

(not about politicians as one would be inclined to guess)

and

Person of the Year 2008 - Runners-Up

Tina Fey? Robert Downey Jr?

onparkstreet said...

The world swooned for Obama's speeches!

The world swooned for Titanic and Leonardo DiCaprio, too, circa 1997!

Sometimes, the world goes a leeeetle nuts....

*I think the President-Elect must like the content-freeness of the speechifying. Nothing you can pin him down on, nothing that can't be spinned one way or the other. Pretty smart, actually. Well, except for the oceans stuff. I wanna know who wrote that sentence. What did Fauvreau write and what did Obama write? Wouldn't it be hilarious if the healing the planet and ocean stuff were Obama's additions? And he nixed some pretty concrete stuff the Favs put in? Politicians! Endless source of amusement.

MD

1jpb said...

Sounds like Palladian should try some of that 30 y Laphroaig to break his tunnel vision.

BTW, how does that "stuff" compare to 25 y Highland Park, which is heaven on earth, IMHO?

Thinking about a bottle for x-mass visitors; but would like a heads up. I imagine an awesome finish, based on the lesser Laphroaigs I've had.

P.S.
Do you like it w/ or w/o a few drops of water?

Freeman Hunt said...

Aside: I wouldn't like people calling me "Favs." That sounds like jealous co-workers trying to undermine the 27 year old upstart as young and unserious. Well, it sounds like that or like lame co-workers trying to sound cool.

Michael said...

Skyler said..."I wonder which is better, having a frat boy as a speech writer or an insufferable snob like Peggy Noonan?"

Hard to believe, but I'm right with you on this one...at least regarding Noonan.

As for this kid, there are lots of people out there who are very young, very talented, and very much in sync with what the American public wants to hear...especially when it comes to the written word.

*And, speaking of youngsters:

Karl (sure, I'm disgusting, but I'm also a winner) Rove was about 28 when he handled Bush's first campaign.

Lee (I'm sorry for being an asshole) Atwater was in his 20's when he jumped into campaigning.

David (axis of evil) Frum was an editor with the Wall Street Journal at the age of 29.

1jpb said...

Jefferson wasn't a ton older when he cranked out a decent preamble.

Matt Eckert said...

Wasn't Preamble Hemmings born when Jefferson was around fifty?

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Poor Palladian. =(

Palladian said...

"BTW, how does that "stuff" compare to 25 y Highland Park, which is heaven on earth, IMHO?"

Never had it! Adding it to my list.

"Thinking about a bottle for x-mass visitors; but would like a heads up. I imagine an awesome finish, based on the lesser Laphroaigs I've had."

It's a great tasting whiskey but in all honesty, if you want the character of Laphroaig, it's much better expressed in the 15 year old. The 30 is very mellow and rich and I think suffers a bit by losing the Laphroaig personality. If you're really intent on trying the 30 year old, get it now because it's going to be gone. There was a limited number of casks of the current 30 year old and when those bottles are gone there won't be any more. Laphroaig is shifting from 15 and 30 year old bottlings to something like 17 and 25 year old and, natch, raising the prices sky-high. It's a little sad because I think Laphroaig, like so many other spirit makers with dollar signs in their eyes, are "watering down" (figuratively and literally, since the proof has gone down as well) the brand to make it more appealing to the masses. I don't think the Laphroaig 10 is quite as salty and seaweedy and audacious as it was when I first started drinking it.

"P.S.
Do you like it w/ or w/o a few drops of water?"

With. I add a few drops of water to nearly all the scotch I drink.

Currently, I'm really into Glenfiddich 18 and Oban 14.

Palladian said...

"Poor Palladian. =("

That's funny coming from someone who LIVES WITH HIS PARENTS. haha.

EDH said...

Shouldn't Obama fans be more jealous of Favreau?

He reminds me of Theo Epstein when he became Red Sox GM, although Theo actually had to run something.

Theo Nathan Epstein (born December 29, 1973 in New York City) is the Executive Vice President/General Manager of the Boston Red Sox. In November 2002, the Red Sox made him the youngest GM in the history of Major League Baseball by hiring him at the age of 28. In 2004, he engineered the first World Series championship by the Red Sox in 86 years and a second in the 2007 season. Epstein resigned in October 2005, but was rehired as GM and Executive Vice President on January 24, 2006.

Yachira said...

No Ann, I am not jealous of Jon Favreau. It may be difficult for you to understand, but most people are not jealous of others, and especially not of celebrity others.

You probably read US and People magazine, and readers of those magazines find it impossible to believe that others don't envy the Stars like they do. Nevertheless, it's true.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

That's funny coming from someone who LIVES WITH HIS PARENTS. haha.

HAHA, catch up. I don't live with my parents. If you really cared about me, you'd know that.

Trooper York said...

I don't think we will have any fun threads until American Idol comes back.

This politics stuff sucks.

Trooper York said...

Where are the photos of the dogs urinating?

The funky cafes and graffiti and people on the street.

Brooklyn was a lot more fun.

Don't you have a frozen squirrel in the front yard or something?

Sorry for the digression. Back to the politics.

EDH said...

I'm ambivalent about Obama, but this spin-line from the reporter stood out. Why didn't Eli Saslow just throw his wadded-up panties, like at a Tom Jones concert? Makes me think Eli's envious of Favereau.

whose silly Facebook photos with a Hillary Rodham Clinton cutout created what passes for controversy in Obama's so far drama-free transition.

Truly an obtuse and obfuscatory coverage of the episode on so many levels. Heh.

rhhardin said...

You can break up any discussion of structure by bringing up force.

Example: rhetorical structure is fine, but where will you get rhetorical force?

None of Obama's rhetoric works on me, so I can follow this discussion only academically.

Maybe it works on nobody but many want to be huggers.

Beating McCain isn't a merit test.

Simon said...

Althouse said...
"[W]hat is undeniable is that this writing worked in the real world on millions of people."

It wouldn't be difficult, I'm sure, to dig up many examples of bad products that millions of people bought because of seductive advertising - and even more examples of products they bought because they thought it was cool and it seemed everyone else was buying it, too. There's a reason why Tiger sold a huge number of Furbys, and it wasn't the merits vel non of the product.

AJ Lynch said...

Actually Trooper is right.

Where is Chip Ahoy when we need some expert photo-shopping? Perhaps take the Hillary getting groped pic and put Althouse in the pic somehow.

XWL said...

Speaking of Jon Favreau, are pro-Obama gay voters like Jon Favreau in this scene, and they need their inner Vince Vaughn to kick themselves in the ass and get over the Obama of their dreams and learn to live with the Obama they helped elect? (and apparently, this lesson might apply to most far liberal voting blocks in general if Obama's appointments and recent backtracking on many issues are any indication).

Simon said...

Freeman Hunt said...
"Sometimes I wish I could filter Obama's speeches through the mind of someone who is moved by them. I would like to see exactly what it is that such a person finds appealing."

Me too. They leave me totally cold - I've never understood why it is that so many people regard as eloquent, soaring rhetoric a collection of speeches that strike me as goop.

Michael_H said...

I thought Favreau had been traded to the NY Jets in order to assure the Jets' superiority over the NY Giants.

He throws a lot of interceptions, so some of those speeches are going to be dicey.

Palladian said...

"Me too. They leave me totally cold - I've never understood why it is that so many people regard as eloquent, soaring rhetoric a collection of speeches that strike me as goop."

Same here. Actually, I wonder if the speeches are what make Obama followers so inspired and not simply Obama's demographic and personal style. Obama could read the pamphlet off a prescription refill and if he did it in that cadence of his which is a low register, sonorous sing-song, one half black Baptist minister and one half toffee-nosed Associate Professor, roughened slightly by years of smoking, every white girl and white boy in the audience wearing Obama t-shirts would dampen their panties. The point is that he could say anything and people would find it inspiring and soaring and hopeful and powerful simply because it's Him! saying it. So Obama wisely chose to hire a loser who could supply a steady stream of absolutely first-class, grade AAA nothing. Don't believe me? Aside from "Yes We Can!" and the "healing the rise of the oceans" pratfall, can anyone recall anything that Obama has said during one of his inspirational speeches? Or do you just recall an image of Him standing there saying it? That's not the power of words, that's the power of a cult of personality.

1jpb said...

"Enough!"

Richard Fagin said...

I'm going to resume writing about seismic prestack depth migration in tilted transversely isotropic media so that a jury in a patent infringement trial can understand it. My inventor is a PhD physicist from Argentina. And that's not shit; it has to work.

Ron said...

The mystery of writing is listening. Most people don't want to do it, but if you do...words are just notes you jot down.

Chip Ahoy said...

That's very good, Palladian.

AJ Lynch said...

Palladian:

How about "the seas will stop rising"? I remember that soundbite.

Can you prove the seas have not stopped rising? Heh.

Cedarford said...

Palladian - So Obama wisely chose to hire a loser who could supply a steady stream of absolutely first-class, grade AAA nothing.

As I wrote earlier, the guy is no loser slacker. He was Valedictorian of his Holy Cross class. He rose rapidly in two years from being a college intern up to a senior writing collaborator in Kerry's Presidential organization by age 22.
Obama's chief speechwriter by age 25.

As the otherwise lamentable Michael reminds...we had many noted people in their 20s making indelible marks in US history in past eras. So Palladian's crotchety old queen act dismissing young punks as incapable of doing something substantial are actually out of the mainstream of the American experience.

1776 -
Alexander Hamilton, 19.
Thomas Jefferson, 33.
James Madison, 26
George Washington, 44, younger than Obama and Commander-in-Chief.
James Monroe - 17 and an officer who nearly died after being shot in the Battle of Trenton.

And lets add that the impact of other writers in history, including the likes of Shakespeare and Byron..is a tale of mastery starting in early youth.

wgh said...

Derek Smalls: We're lucky.
David St. Hubbins: Yeah.
Derek Smalls: I mean, people should be envying us, you know.
David St. Hubbins: I envy us.
Derek Smalls: Yeah.
David St. Hubbins: I do.
Derek Smalls: Me too.

AJ Lynch said...

I wonder if he wrote what was perhaps John Kerry's worst line? ......"I am John Kerry and I am reporting for duty".

TMink said...

"And yet, what is undeniable is that this writing worked in the real world on millions of people."

Well, there was a context to his success. He had a very good speaker with lots of charisma running against someone with very little charisma and whose own party faithful did not care for.

P.T. Barnum comes to mind. An interesting figure, but why would I want to be a snake oil salesman, even if a tremendously succesful one?

Trey

BumperStickerist said...

One distinction between "Favs" and the Founding Fathers you mentioned is that the Founding Fathers had, you know, jobs and responsibilities prior to their Found Fatherhood.

Which was the point of Palladian's screed.

-

Read Hamilton's biography on Wikipedia. Pick a few other Founding Fathers and read their accomplishments by the time they turned 22, and then attempt a comparision to "Favs"

Anthony said...

"And yet, what is undeniable is that this writing worked in the real world on millions of people."

As Palladian said, most of those millions probably don't remember a single thing he ever said. They no doubt remember the press coverage which constantly reminded us of how, like, totally wonderful Obama was.

You really can't say much about what O actually did to get elected when the bulk of the news media was actively campaigning for him.

Palladian said...

Interesting that Cedarford has suddenly found respect for the men that wrote what he used to dismiss as "the Holy Parchment", a document he used to advocate scrapping.

As for comparing this nothing speechwriter to Shakespeare and Jefferson and Hamilton, nothing more needs be said than "heh". I do suspect Cedarford's man-crush for Favreau would be significantly diminshed if his name was Favreaustein or Favreauberg, don't you?

Cedarford is good to have around to remind our more moderate conservative friends that stupidity and ridiculousness aren't only the province of the left.

1jpb said...

Everybody knows Ayers ghost wrote those speeches, he's BHO's Salter.

blake said...

1jpb wrote Jefferson wasn't a ton older when he cranked out a decent preamble.

Preamble to what?

1jpb said...

Preamble to what?

The Bible, of course.

blake said...

Feel sorry for Palladian? Hell, no. I'd take him as my speechwriter before Favreau any day, and ability is better than acclaim.

But I do disagree with him that C4 is on the right: Besides scrapping the Constitution, he's also hugely anti-business and pro-socialized medicine. What makes him right-wing?

blake said...

When I think "Preamble", I think "We, the People of the United States," [etc]. Jefferson was pushing 50 when that was written by Morris.

Assuming you meant the Declaration of Independence, well, yeah, it's a great document but Jefferson's original, passionate draft needed some work.

1jpb said...

I thought you were going for the Locke-Hobbes-Rousseau angle.

I assumed that you wanted to credit the thinking with these folks. I didn't guess that you would deride Jefferson's (and thereby Locke-Hobbes-Rousseau) ideas as needing help.

But, whatever, I don't have a dog in any of that debate.

Chip Ahoy said...

No. I will not admit that, for I am not jaloux. But this does explain things very well.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Palladian, I remember lots of Obama moments off the top of my head.

(Paraphrased)

"I can no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother..."

"We are the ones we've been waiting for..."

"I don't get too high when I'm high or too low when I'm low..."

"You're likeable enough, Hillary."


*

What so many of you forget is that Palladian was a major Hillary supporter. He has never (and will never) gotten over her loss. So, anyone who takes his lunatic ranting about Obama seriously should stop and consider his sore loser syndrome.

Wahrheit said...

I'll take a shot at explaining what the magic is--Favs and Barack are experts in a set of methods and techniques that most people know as NLP--Neurolinguistic Programming. Or you can call it Ericksonian or non-trance hypnosis.

This "stuff" was not invented in the 20th century; the Greek crowd-pleasers had already discovered some of it. But the psychiatrist Milton Erickson developed it beyond any known human before him and Bandler and Grinder systematized it in their books on Erickson, The Structure of Magic and follow-ons.

Not the place here to write an article, but for example: BHO will say something like "We are here...(pause)...tonight...together.." as three true statements and now that the listener agrees, agrees, agrees, "...to CHANGE our politics" and the inclination to to AGREE again.

Everybody always talks about, "But he doesn't say anything SPECIFIC" and he doesn't have to--he's got all but the most observant subconsciously believing he is Hope, he is Change, and that that's what we need.

Prediction--based on the post, I'll bet that in the inaugural address there will be one of those "lists": At THIS (emph.) moment, or At THIS time we MUST...and he'll repeat At THIS, At THIS. The listener knows yes, it really is THIS moment, that's true, and they'll believe we must do the thing he follows with.

If you're not familiar with the subject Google NLP, Milton Erickson or Bandler and Grinder and tell me what you think.

1jpb said...

"kill, baby kill"

Maybe I got that mixed up a bit.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

I don't give a shit about his speech writing skills. What I want to know is does he suck dick?

There were stories like this about Frum and that other wanker who writes for the Post now. It's the shit you have to put up with.

Alert me when they write a story about Obama's first gay experience-that will interest me. I want it with a honkey too.

Titusisveryrelaxed said...

Also, I am not jealous. Although I am impressed with young people who find success early in life.

The google guys, Bill Gates, the guy who founded Akamai Technologies who died on one of the planes on 9/11 at the age of 32.

My success is found other ways. Doing a guy with an exceptional body is a success story for me.

Kirk Parker said...

OK, class, here's your homework assignment...

Favreau and Jindal: compare and contrast. (It's perfectly fine if you can only come up with the latter.)

Victor Erimita said...

Ann's comment to Palladian's comment: "And yet, what is undeniable is that this writing worked in the real world on millions of people. "

We are truly in the postmodern world now, where the "narrative" is the real. A youngster who has built, invented or accomplished nothing in the world, writes speeches for a 48-year-old who has built, invented or accomplished nothing in the world, to appear that they know everything about everything, let alone anything about anything. The appearance of knowing is now all that matters. Just ask Jon Stewart or Bill Maher, who use snark, quick wit and knowing looks at the camera ("c'mon, we all know what's really going on here") to fake the appearance of knowing.

My daughter goes to UChicago, Obama's milieu, and a popular T-shirt on campus reads, "That's all very well in practice, but what about in theory?" And an entire class of Americans, enamored with SAT scores, quick, snappy "positions" on any given subject at any given time, and...the appearance...of knowing, recognize one of their own in Obama. Actually having to demonstrate results is just so, well, pedestrian and practical. What about in theory? So, the speech, not the play, although it is a kind of play, is the thing.

Of course Obama asked Favreau, "What's your theory on speechwriting?" That's all Obama has, knows or respects on actual issues: theories. That's all anyone who has never actually done something concrete CAN have. The nation has just shown that this postmodern stance, the narrative becoming reality, is what it respects, or at least is willing to believe in: "hope," for "change we can believe in." We can all be confident that the speeches, at least, will be inspiring.

Ann Althouse said...

"Doing a guy with an exceptional body is a success story for me."

An audience of one. That's so inefficient.

1jpb said...

Victor for president!!

Victor for president!!

Victor is so smart about concrete things. That's the kind of person who could and should easily become elected--especially now that we've been shown that any "nothing" can do it.

A real "something" could obviously out maneuver a nothing. How could a nothing do better than a something? Unless the public is too stupid to notice the wonderfulness of the something.

That makes sense, we're nothing so we like nothing, hence Victor's something won't satisfy.

Too bad. So sad.

Kirby Olson said...

No one over 30 can think like Favreau any longer. It'd be like wanting to be an airhead all over again, I'm afraid.

blake said...

1jpb,

Actually, I was referring to Jefferson's excellent but ill-considered screed on slavery.

Titusisgoingouttonight said...

Actually the audience is a little larger than one. My friends get to see me leave with the hot guy-validation.

I am not a huge success and I am not a huge failure. I am in the middle like most Americans and that is fine with me.

My 25 year old neighbor met me and the rare clumbers in the elevator to let me know that he would be on "holiday" for 5 weeks. He proceeded to tell me everywhere he is going. Tokyo, Paris, Brussels (which wasn't on his website) and then to visit family in Chicago. He wanted to let me know because some fish would be in his loft while he was gone. Well I said I will be gone for 5 days in Waunakee Wisconsin so take that bitch. After he spoke I wanted to fuck him really hard.

Titusisgoingouttonight said...

Speaking of going "on holiday" just a reminder that I will be in Madison/Waunakee between December 20 and 25 (if I am able to get out) and available to be received, judged, evaluated during that time if anyone is interested...hint.hint.

No shopping for perfume as I don't wear that shit. But I would be interested in purchasing a cute pair of GStar Jeans and Kiehls products and do need to know where I can get some...products that is.

Titusisgoingouttonight said...

Also, what's the hot gym in town?

I went to the Princeton Club on the west side last time and it was awful. I used to go to one downstairs on the square but it is gone.

Where do all the hotties go to see and be seen?

Also, I need to know of the trendy, white hot yoga class in town where I can spread my wide second.

1jpb said...

So, you pick out Jefferson's description of slavery as a cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty as a flaw.

I think this sort of input was a positive point for Jefferson. I'm pleased that someone was thinking this way. In your perfect world he would have kept these thoughts to himself.

Different strokes for different folks.

Titusisgoingouttonight said...

also, divine miss a where do you "coffee"?

Perhaps I will walk in and work the runway for you.

Titusisgoingouttonight said...

OK, I am going out to sling my pussy.

One last exotic hog before white bread family obligations are required.

Bill Everett said...

What I want to know is, did Favs write my favorite Obama line.

That would be: "This [vile person who I have been associating with for years] is not the [vile person who I have been associating with for years] I knew!"

Because that's just brilliant.

On a related note, when are we going to hear that about Rod Blagojavich? I mean come on, has the One gotten to the stage where he's disappointing his fans and refusing to sing his greatest hits?

Simon said...

1jpb, of course it was a flaw. The goal of the Declaration was to unite the colonies behind the cause of independence, and one doesn't unite the nation by telling half of it that they are presently engaged in cruel war against human nature itself. Given your political affiliation and fondness for Obama, I don't expect you to understand this, but the reality was that unification against a common enemy was more important than such divisive and secondary concerns as slavery (concerns, by the way, that would have come across then as now as hopelessly hypocritical guff when penned by a man who himself owned a host of slaves). I have never understood the propensity of the left to critique the founding generation for failing to eliminate slavery, a demand that is - given the political realities of the time - akin to faulting them for failing to put a man on the moon.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jeff said...

What? The founding fathers didnt put anyone on the moon? Well, to hell with those dead white guys.

1jpb said...

Simnon,

Of course it was not a flaw.

A lesser man wouldn't have tried to put in the slavery language, and that lesser man wouldn't have Jefferson's mind and vision. That same lesser man would have been a more typical person, but that lesser man wouldn't have been Jefferson. You can't divorce the man from his actions. If you lose the actions, you have a different man, with a different vision, and different ambitions, and a different future.

Funny how folks on the left and the right love to attack the founding fathers. Because, you attackers would have been much better founding fathers. You would have done things the better way, the right way, and things would have turned out so much better.

I have my doubts.

I applaud Jefferson's approach to the Declaration, it seems to have worked rather well. I'm not going to say he was wrong. I'm not going to tell him what he should have done. My hubris does have some bounds: I haven't helped to found the greatest country on earth, so I'll avoid telling Jefferson what he did wrong.

But, whatever floats your boat.

P.S.
How did you conclude that I was attacking Jefferson? FTR, that was Blake (and then you.) I'm on the other side of that one.

P.P.S.
Someone had a funny Hemings quip further up. That wasn't me (although I'd take credit because it was clever.) I'm not making a canned liberal Jefferson attack, so your canned counter is a total dud.

LoafingOaf said...

Palladian, everyone who is alive has "life experience".

It's hard for me to take someone seriously when he's talking about "nonsense" in Obama speeches when that same person spent the campaign pretending Sarah Palin was not spewing the largest amount of bullshit we've ever seen from a candidate.

blake said...

You know, 1jpb, if I wanted to fatuously misunderstand what you said, I could. I could be hammering on you having said that Jefferson wrote the preamble but I gave you the benefit of the doubt.

You can't have a conversation if you're constantly imputing the worst (and most unlikely) interpretations to what's being said.

I said that Jefferson's original draft needed some work. You then turned that into me suggesting his abhorrence of slavery was a flaw.

On the contrary, I've always found those passages endearing.

But did it stand the chance of undermining the entire war effort, and is it therefore relevant to his discussion about the intemperance of youth? I'd say so.

LoafingOaf said...

Victor: A youngster who has built, invented or accomplished nothing in the world, writes speeches for a 48-year-old who has built, invented or accomplished nothing in the world, to appear that they know everything about everything, let alone anything about anything. The appearance of knowing is now all that matters.

Jesus Christ some of you are silly. The "youngster" has the job of writing speeches, and he's obviously accompished at it as people have been loving Obama speeches for years now.

I don't know what the fuck John McCain and Sarah Palin were spewing all campaign. I actually still don't know what either one of them actually stands for. They were just a mess of confusion. LOL - Palin's speech writer wrote half her speech before he even knew he was writing it for Palin.

I love this idea that Obama has not accompished anything in life. A U.S. Senator who is the President-Elect, and got there against all odds, has not accomplished anything in life, according to the Althouse commenters. Guess what? George W. Bush was Prez because his last name was Bush. Obama is prez because he fucking earned it. And his speech writer is his speech writer because he writes fucking good speeches. You guys hate them both because you're partisans. There's no "life experience" behind the Obama hating from the right wing commenters of Althouse. It's just lock-step partisanship.

blake said...

L-Oaf,

You sure are an angry dude for someone whose guy won.

The simplest way to handle the "Obama didn't do anything" attacks is to list the things he's done.

Edited Harvard Law Review
Wrote a couple big selling books
Did something with $150M education bucks


You know. Stuff like that.

Or just sit back. He'll can't go the next four years without doing all kinds of things.

I mean, it doesn't really matter if he accomplished nothing of substance before. (Actually, accomplishing nothing of substance would be an Olympian and not entirely unwelcome feat for any President.)

nomilk said...

Favreau is a joke. Anyone who says "How do you say to the average person that's been hurting . . . ," obviously doesn't know the "elementary point," as Bryan Garner calls it, that "that" is not the correct relative pronoun when referring to people.

Simon said...

1jpb said...
"Of course it was not a flaw. ¶ A lesser man wouldn't have tried to put in the slavery language...."

Of course it was a flaw, and that's why it was removed by cooler heads - presumably John Adams, no fan of slavery himself. A wiser man would have realized that no matter how wrong slavery was, this was neither the time nor the place to take up that fight. Of course, Jefferson was a young man - barely in his thirties, and youths often tend to be unable to make such distinctions, which I take to be the point of various comments above about Favreau's youth explaining much of the seeming immaturity of Obama's speeches. (A quality, by the way, that I noted almost two years ago, back when many others were busy falling over themselves to fawn over the shiny new thing.)


LoafingOaf said...
"I love this idea that Obama has not accompished anything in life. A U.S. Senator who is the President-Elect, and got there against all odds...."

"Against all odds"? Whoever was the Democratic nominee was always going to be the overwhelming favorite going into this election. That was as true after the Iowa caucus as it was before. The only thing Obama "accomplished" that can be labelled "against the odds" was beating Hillary Clinton in the primary, but even that "accomplishment" has to be bracketed, because the truth be known, it had much more to do with mistakes by Clinton than smart choices by Obama. Had Clinton gotten it together and hit the ground with the campaign she had running by the end, she would have destroyed Obama. Similarly, he became a U.S. Senator by sheer luck and good timing. Neither of these things are particularly impressive accomplishments.

jaybs said...

I just can't believe how such a non-story has gained so much media coverage, is it December is quiet for stories?

Can't work out if the interest in the photo comes more from "the few" who are far too PC and would complain about almost anything or is it "the few who just can't accept that BARACK OBAMA WON THE ELECTION!and is President Elect!

What amazes me is how reference is made to this book just surfacing on facebook, well it was in fact 11 months ago!

Anyone who knows Jon Favreau knows he is a very talented young guy and this was clear in the final days he spent at Holy Cross College when he really stood out! - working on the John Kerry 2004 campaign was good experience and at first he was only doing overnight media monitoring.

When the 2004 Election was over he quickly joined Obama's senate team and they just quickly gelled and showed they work well together. I find Barack Obama one of our best current orators and I am sure Jon Favreau plays an important part and will continue to do so at the White House.

One time we congratulated our young when they did well for themselves and praised them, not it seems the game to knock them or is it knock the New Administration?

Recent articles about Jon Favreau are nothing less than a joke, so journalists can get a little carried away, some readers have claimed than Jon is trying to take the limelight, no way it is the usual way the press work. I wish Jon every success, I know he will do well!

MSM Canada Watch said...

Loafing Oaf, you still haven't shared what Obama has accomplished besides the amazing feat of being elected POTUS.

What has he done? You don't know do ya? That makes you mad.

Elise said...

jaybs - Can you provide backup for your repeated claim that the Favreau entanglement with the Clinton cut-out happened 11 months ago?

The Washington Post article Althouse is citing here thinks it happened this Thanksgiving - 2008 - and so did the Washington Post article that originally reported it referring to "a recent party".

Number Six said...

I'm not a fan of Obama. It's all ''The Emperor's New Clothes'' to me.

I'm intrigued by Warheit's suggestion. That would explain why the speeches read like garbage when you read the transcript but evidently have some magical effect on a 'receptive' audience.

One observation for those who insist Obama has achieved nothing of substance. He beat Hillary in the primaries. Before then she was 'inevitable'. After he won the primaries he got a free ride while corporate media delivered their 15% of the vote.