"As we begin the work of remaking America," the president wrote to me, "we must draw on the common hopes that brought us together this week." And: "I'm counting on you to keep the spirit of unity and service alive." And: "We face many challenges. But we face them as one nation." And: "Our journey is just beginning." And: "Thank you for all you do." It is all perfectly platitudinous, a Hallmark homily, but not in Obama's universe. Does the renovation of the civic sense really require such a return to literalness? I do not look to the White House for irony, but the extent to which the Obama bliss is premised upon such undisabused belief vexes me.Bliss premised upon undisabused belief vexes Wieseltier. Indeed! He's no platitudipus. Can you imagine someone running for President and saying he was "vexed" let alone saying he was vexed by "undisabused belief"? I mock Wieseltier even as I thoroughly agree that the Obama's aphorisms are hollow and inane.
Wieseltier ends his column — confession: I skipped the middle — by disapproving of a President's using an email list:
Scholars have documented the inexorable effect...... the vexingly exorable effect...
... of the Internet in creating "communities of interest," and the Obama machine wishes to portray the nation itself as a community of interest; but this returns us once again to that mythical unity. What is more likely happening is that Obama's community of interest is depicting itself as America's community of interest. Communities of interest are formations of exclusiveness enabled by technologies of inclusiveness.Communities of interest are formations of exclusiveness enabled by technologies of inclusiveness. It trips off the tongue!
So it was odd to get that email from my president. I voted for him, and I gave him a few dollars, but I do not revolve in his vast magical orbit.Yo, Leon, you can unsubscribe from the list.
The personal touch had a distinctly de-personalizing effect, the way Amazon does when it teaches me about my tastes. The Obama machine may be excited to be connected to me...Isn't it freaky when you're having an encounter with a machine and the machine gets excited?
... but I am not excited to be connected to it. I am not connected to it. The jazziness of the means aside...Jazziness? When was email last jazzy? In 1999? 1989?
... this was junk mail.And thus, Leon Wieseltier reveals that he is the last man on earth to perceive that email can be "junk mail" — or — in the jazzy slang of the day, here's a word for you — spam. The kids call it spam. And the kids who started calling it spam are now in their 40s.