Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Et tu, Brute?" Obama "most powerful writer since Julius Caesar"?


You know, you've got to wonder. First Obama was "the new Lincoln." Now he's the "most powerful writer since Julius Caesar."

What is it with this fetish to link Obama with historical figures who

a. wrecked Republics on the altar of their vain ambitions,

b. plunged their nations into civil war and

c. ended up assassinated?

Do they WANT to have him killed as a sacrifice on their collectivist altar?

Sheesh. You've got to wonder . . .


"Et tu, Brute?"

Rocco's Modern Life

October 27, 2009

Posted by Scott at 5:37 AM

Rocco Landesman is President Obama's handpicked chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Last week he gave the keynote address to the 2009 Grantmakers in the Arts Conference. Those of us concerned about the politicization of life and art in the Age of Obama will not be consoled by a reading of Landesman's speech. The speech bears examination in its entirety, but Landesman's tribute to Obama is especially worth a look:

This is the first president that actually writes his own books since Teddy Roosevelt and arguably the first to write them really well since Lincoln. If you accept the premise, and I do, that the United States is the most powerful country in the world, then Barack Obama is the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar. That has to be good for American artists.

Landesman compares Obama favorably with Julius Caesar as "a powerful writer." Landesman is not referring to Obama's skills as a writer, but rather to the power he holds by virtue of his office. Some might think that the literary comparison sells Obama short. Caesar was something of a self-promoter and propagandist in his writing.

Yet Landesman knows Obama is like Caesar, somehow -- a friend asks, is it in the transformation of a republic into an empire with a divine ruler? Perhaps if Landesman had his wits about him, he would note instead that Obama is the most powerful speaker since the other JC.

Well, so what if Landesman is a bootlicker? Landesman is also an idiot. Lincoln never wrote a book, although I believe he did compile the texts of his 1858 debates with Douglas for publication in book form. And Landesman misses a few presidential authors since Theodore Roosevelt.

Woodrow Wilson wrote several influential books as a Princeton professor. Herbert Hoover wrote books including, I am reliably advised, a classic book on fishing. Richard Nixon wrote books before and after his presidency. And even Bill Clinton wrote his apologia pro vita sua.

Landesman leaves JFK unmentioned by name. JFK was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Profiles in Courage in 1957. My guess is that JFK and Obama share the attribute of authorship in roughly equal measure.

One reader of Landesman's speech wonders: "Isn't Obama the first president since Jefferson to more than double the size of the country? The first since Lincoln to free the slavers? The first since FDR to win a war against fascism?" Betraying the spirit of Rocco Landesman, however, the reader injects a note of caution: "I might be wrong. Can any of you fact check that?"

It would be hard to pack so much ignorance into one short paragraph if one were really trying. We can deduce that Landesman doesn't even have to try.


Christopher Darren Horn said...

Messiah, don't forget he's the messiah too. LOL. Just my humble opinion, but I think he is going to be sacked on the altar. It will come out about his birth problems and then laws will have to be changed to prevent this horrible thing from happening again. Then, say hello to President Schwarzenegger, and ze new reich, LOL. Just my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that it has been reasonably shown that Ayers co-wrote/ghost wrote one of Obeyme's two books.

Shades of Great Caeser's ghost!

B Woodman

Old Pablo said...

Commentary's John Steele Gordon points out:

Herbert Hoover wrote sixteen books in his life, including Fishing for Fun--and to Wash Your Soul, published three years after his death, and a translation (with his wife) from the Latin of De re Metallica. Just a guess, but I don't think there are many ghosted 640-page translations around.

Woodrow Wilson was a college professor and president before entering politics. Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics, his best known work and one that ran through many editions, was not ghost written. . . .

Landesman implicitly accuses Theodore Roosevelt of being, unlike Barack Obama, a second-rate writer. Roosevelt wrote a total of 38 books in his life (not to mention countless magazine articles and thousands of letters, all while holding a day job and living only sixty years). His first, The Naval War of 1812, written when he was 23, is considered a basic historical text on that subject and is still both highly readable and in print. Will The Audacity of Hope be in print a 125 [sic] years after it was published? . . .

Landesman seems ignorant of even the existence of The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. They were written in the last months of Grant's life (he died in agony from throat cancer three days after he finished the manuscript). They are universally regarded as the greatest military memoirs since Caesar's Commentaries, and among the genuine masterpieces of American literature. Perhaps Mr. Landesman should give them a try if he doesn't object to reading memoirs written by someone who had actually done something (like-- you know--save the Union) before writing them.

Flight-ER-Doc said...

I don't know if Caesar had a ghost writer, but his 'Commentaries' were about the same level as the Zero....self aggrandizing revisionist history.

Jeffrey Quick said...

Whoa! Let's get the quote right and be fair: he said, "Most powerful writer since Caesar." "Powerful" modifies "writer", not "writing". As stated, it's at least a plausible statement, though arguably Adolf Hitler and Mao Tse-tung were more powerful writers (and better-sellers, maybe even better writers) than the Won. The subtext here is nothing about talent; it's "Obama has written, and he has power, and his power can help YOU writers."

Anonymous said...

Wow! I had no idea that Obama was the first US Preident to write his own books since Theodore Roosevelt. Evidently, these other pretenders had Bill Ayers do their ghost writing.

Books By Woodrow Wilson
Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics 1885
The State: Elements of Historical and Practical Politics 1889
George Washington 1893
An Old Master, and Other Political Essays 1893
More Literature and Other Essays 1896
A History of the American People (5 vols.) 1902
President Wilson's Case for the League of Nations 1923
Books By Warren Harding
Rededicating America (1920), with Frederick E.Shortemeier
Our Common Country (1921), ed. by Frederick E. Shortemeier
Books By Calvin Coolidge
The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge (1929)
Books By Herbert Hoover
The Challenge of Liberty (1934)
America’s First Crusade (1942)
Memoirs (3 vols., 1951-52)
The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson (1958)
Books By Franklin Roosevelt
The Happy Warrior, Alfred E. Smith (1928),
F.D.R.: His Personal Letters (4 vols., 1947-50), ed. by Elliott Roosevelt
Books By Harry Truman
Memoirs (2 vols., 1955-56)
Books By Dwight Eisenhower
Crusade in Europe (1948);
Mandate for Change (1963)
Waging Peace (1965)
At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends (1967)
Books By John Kennedy
Why England Slept (1940)
Profiles in Courage (1956)


pdxr13 said...

De Re Metallica is a book worth getting. I have a 1950 Dover hardcover. We may be re-starting our economy with gold scratched by hand from surface mines, and 15th century tech is the kind we can afford.

I read the 2 available Obama titles before the election and told everyone I know that the "candidate" being shown had nothing to do with the man who wrote those books. Sen. McCain was only the lesser evil in that election, not the right man to have at the helm. It's too bad he was sold as a "stay the course" candidate, since he could have easily been a GOP "Hope4Change with Integrity" guy as well as Barry.

Based on Obama speaking without speechwriters/teleprompters, he did not write or edit his books, imho. He may have been the source of most of the stories.

Like so much media, the grey area of historical bio-fiction is 80% wide between the black&white of lie & truth. We have to invent words like "Truthiness" to explain that some data points may have been invented of whole cloth but that the intentions of the author/researcher are still alleged to be honorable.

Multnomah Co. Bicycle Militia, New Western Oregon Territory, FUSA.


Anonymous said...

Par for the course for the Mighty O's sycophants. Ignore the truth and spout what they wish to be the truth, hoping that repeating the lie enough will lend legitimacy to it. If Obama is a powerful writer, I should be seeing flying pigs by now.

Casca said...

Speak, my hands, for me!

cj428 said...

"Walking to the edge of the Abyss" BY, JOHN
On Friday October 23 Obama declaired A State Of Emergency, under the guise of an impending Swine Flu Pandemic. It turned out that he Declaired A State OF Emergency so he could transfer "Top Secret" missile technology to China, without the permission of congress. Russia and India have been trying to develope A suppersonic cruise misssile,(Code named BrahMos)since 2002. Thier last public test, Feb, 2009 was A failure. They want three variants of the missile, land, sea, and air launched. They tested The land launched variant and missed the target by 5 miles.
To obtaine this technology The Chinesse, in cojuntion with thier Japanesse alies threatened to sell , dollar denoted debt insterments. When the technology was transfered, the dollar dump was stopped,and Russia announced they were going to sell several tons of gold to cover A budget shortfall, thus ending the run on the dollar, for know.

Anonymous said...

[A]rguably Adolf Hitler and Mao Tse-tung were more powerful writers (and better-sellers, maybe even better writers) than the Won.--Jeffery Quick

As an undergraduate student, I thought the social philosopher, John Rawls, had the most impenetrable prose of any writer I had encountered.

Several years after graduating, I checked out from the library a copy of Mein Kamfp.

Judging from the historical record, Hitler may have been a persuasive orator, but his writing leaves much to be desired. It is pedantic, obscure, sophomoric, shrill and endlessly repetitive.

In short, it is a bore. I am mystified as to how it could have inspired so many fanatics.

Maybe it reads better in the original German.


Anonymous said...

Wasn't it said of Caesar that he was every woman's man and every man's woman?

Just saying.

For communists, they sure are fascinated with Czars.


Fat Balding Caver said...

A humerous twist on a business speak clice says "You have to be 100% behind someONE, before you can stab them in the back"

It is strange how through history, "the great" have so oftem met their end at the hands of one of their trusted inner circle.

Rome to Romania and on...

have got a copy of Hoover's translation of De re metalica - having trained and worked as a mining engineer Hoover knew the subject well.