So, who knew this day could happen? Its hip to be patriotic.
Bush wrapped himself in the flag for so many years, you’d think we could never get the smell of hypocrisy out of that thing. But lo and behold, Facebook is full of feklempt Friscan bleeding hearts who felt the totally alien sensation of national pride when Aretha stirred souls with her not dog-calling version of Our Country 'Tis of Thee.
And she wasn’t the only relevant recording star to belt in out for Barack yesterday and Saturday, at the star-studded concert for we, the people.
In July, John McCain painted Barack Obama as little more than a mimbo -- a Paris or a Britney, a dumb blonde in statesman’s clothing, After that, Obama must have asked the Hollywood elite to lay low until he got elected. But yesterday and all weekend, the A-listers came crawling out of the woodwork.
I love that virtually all of us are walking on sunshine But permit me a moment of snark:
Did you see that HBO concert, We are one??
This self-satisfied, everybody sway now telethon gave me flash back to the “We Are the World” vibe– Artists United to Show How Concerned They Are.
The Oscars-type celebrity pairings. The inter-racial duets. Ebony and Ivory together in perfect harmony. I half expected Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson to make an appearance.
Instead other ghosts of bad radio past showed up. John Cougar (yes I brought it back) Mellencamp: Why? He so belonged at the Bush inauguration with Clint Black and Ricky Martin. That “Ain't that America” song? It gave me Post-traumatic willies for the Reagan years.
And Jon Bon Jovi: why were you there, taking away verses from Bettye LaVette who was doing an awesome job singing Sam Cooke’s “Change is Gonna Come” ?
And Tom Hanks, sure he’s no light-weight, but Hanks and Denzel and Marisa Tomei (??) and Jack Black quoting Lincoln and Roosevelt (and Reagan?) -- it all felt rather self-important and unctuous and kinda antithetical to all things Obama.
Obama’s oratory always sounds genuine and unscripted, important but not pompous.
But lets return to hope and good will towards man, shall we? Mary J. Blige rocked with her version of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” which now seems like a new anthem for volunteerism. Bruce Springsteen getting out there with Pete Seeger to sing “This Land is your Land” was a inspired moment.
On Saturday, they re-inserted Woody Guthrie’s verse, often cut by elementary school music teachers:
“By the relief office I seen my people; As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking Is this land made for you and me?”
This is usually the final verse. On the eve on the inauguration, Seeger and Springsteen transposed the verses, so the song ends on the hopeful note --
…I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!
Seeger, Springsteen and the ghost of Woody Guthrie up with government? Wow.