Man, that was weird. While watching the CSPAN build-up to the State of the Union address, I got sick of listening to the talking heads, so I turned down the volume and replaced the audio with George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue
. You know the Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz
thing? This was better. There were, like, a zillion and one eerie little audio-visual hook-up moments.
Obi and Michelle came slinking out of the White House while that jazzy opening clarinet solo played. Then, when the Big Theme hit, CSPAN cut to a wide shot of the Capitol. And on and on...
Anyways, the music is over, and pretty soon I'll have to listen to the guy actually talk. Hmm. Maybe I'll just fire up the Gershwin Concerto in F
Come to think of it, this whole presidency has been a Concerto in F.
(Feel free to comment on the SOTU below, if so inclined. I'll be popping back with updates, giving my reactions.)Update:
I'm listening to both the Concerto and the SOTU simultaneously. So far, I like the Gershwin better. Michelle's skirt makes her look like she's in Panavision.Update 2:
Surrrre he hated the bank bailout. And when
did he use the "popular/necessary" thing during the campaign? And why not tax stock trades, as other countries do? That would put a crimp in Goldman's gaming of the system...Update 3:
A new jobs bill? Great. But...the spending freeze...?Update 4:
Like hell the Senate will impose higher taxes on companies that outsource. But: A good idea.Update 5:
Here's where he gets all GOP on our asses. Nukes, offshore oil...Update 6:
No more Gershwin. What's next? I've chosen Act II of The Photographer
by Philip Glass, which sort of sounds like every SOTU ever uttered.Update 7:
The best anti-poverty program is education? Tell that to the students who have racked up $70,000 in loans only to face a no-jobs job market.Update 8:
Okay, increasing Pell grants. That
I like.Update 9:
Health care. Obama just did the "If you have a better idea, let me know" thing. Bill Clinton said damn near the exact same words when his attempt failed.Update 10:
Here's where he goes after Medicare and Social Security. Government by executive order -- I don't like the sound of that.Update 11:
They just laughed at him. And now I have a new soundtrack: An obscure piece by Franck called "What one hears on the mountain." It's really good. I don't think it has a commercial recording...Update 12:
Okay, I like what he said about the Supreme Court decision. But what the hell can he do about it? Passing a bill won't do the job, because the Court will just shoot down the bill. An amendment is needed. But that won't happen.Update 13:
Now I'm pissed. Obama just said that he will try to change the tone of our politics. He said that he didn't think it was right for people to utter falsehoods about opponents. Sorry, but I will never
forget or forgive Obot behavior during the 2008 primaries.Update 14:
Here it comes -- military Keynesianism.Update 15:
Here comes the warm up to the big finish. I'm talking about the Cesar Franck tone poem. You really ought to hear this one. It's kind of long -- 22 minutes -- but then again, the SOTU is long too.
Woah...did he just jump into the gays-in-the-military thing? He just tossed red meat to his enemies. Still, it was brave.Update 16:
Good comment on TC:
Notice that he never links Clinton’s name to that surplus he touts, but he has no problem uttering “Reagan”Update 17:
Finishing up with a Kilar opus called Orawa
, which is also really good. I don't know why I didn't think of doing this "background music" thing before. It's the only way to make an SOTU go down easy.
At any rate, I liked some stuff in this speech. Gotta admit it. But he really started to lose it during the development section of the Cesar Franck.
By the way, the name of that work in French is Ce Qu'on Entend Sur La Montagne
, and it was inspired by a poem by Victor Hugo. Liszt wrote his own tone poem of that name, also based on the Hugo poem, but the Liszt version isn't nearly as good (IMO). Nevertheless, there are like a dozen recordings of the Liszt and no recordings of the Franck. At least, none known to me. I recorded it from a BBC live performance, fell in love with it, and it's been running through my headphones at least once a week ever since. The opening always makes me think that I'm visiting the Pyrenees...Post-SOTU update:
Obama's talking about $8 billion in high speed rail. Peanuts. I like this comment
China spent $800 billion building a high speed rail system during the same time that Bush spent $800 billion invading Iraq. Now we need to play catch-up, but all Obama could find in the dusty corners of the cleaned-out vault was about 1% of that. Hey, at least it's a start.