Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ground Moving Generational Inflection

Inflexion?  I like that spelling better, considering what's up (how interesting that in this late internetted age, there should even be choices to spelling!?).

Maybe in recompense for the disappointments of W for those of us who expected or even hoped for a juicy roasting (in the event, I really liked the film, drawing as it did its drama from verisimilitude rather than satire), it was tempting to register a fist pumping skewering score against the outgoing yesterday at the moment of inauguration. Especially in the punch of the speech.

But I think W handled it right, celebrating his retirement, and keeping his prune face in check if he even registered himself any repudiation in the upswelling of arrival. 

This was a generational handoff, and the baby boomers are officially off the cusp. Thanks God. We tended too black and white; good and evil. We never could resolve the 60's movements into something more real than hallucinatory, and we weren't prepared for the marketing hype which followed which we bought as easily as we did our own imagined utopias.

The television easily mixed popular culture with what hit me hard as the first real historic turning point in my own life, on the downslide as I find myself. I felt in solid contact with greatness, but of an easy unselfconscious sort. I felt and could detect no panic at the miscue with the very sacred words of the oath. I prayed in actual fact for the preservation of this man's life and family and health. But my tears turned to a big wide grin after I finished dinner and watched Obama actually dance, almost as gracelessly as I might, but in a manner which was utterly and obviously continuous with how he might have danced at his best friend's wedding.  This is a man who rides the historic more easily than those of us in the first television generation ever could imagine.

So, I will put aside my concerns about the hucksterism surrounding the event.  Of course hucksterism has always been there from the beginnings of our nation, but finally we have mastered our age, and only we old farts feel even the impulse toward purity; as though the technoglitz were a threat to our control. The superstars cried real tears, Sting and Stevie Wonder achieved real transcendent artistry, and somehow everyone knows that a corner has been turned.

But the best part for me is the actual palpable relief that I myself don't need any longer to measure myself up against some gold ring grabbing lottery success. I'm not simply talking about a recalibration and rebalancing of the body politic, away from what I so hit home jabbingly call Savage Capitalism. I'm not only talking about the liberation from near total enslavement to wealth generation signalled by a return to neighborhoods and communities.

I also feel, palpably I might add, a powerful sense that I also am on stage, there with the Man. That it is alright for Sting to have made it, and me to have no personal trainer. That my narrative intertwines with the one Writ Large, and my role is secured in the chorus, perhaps, but secured nonetheless, in support of a plot not defined entirely by its punch.

This is a good day indeed.  To stop projecting and to start living. I will sing as hard; though noone ever picks out my voice it swells the tone of celebration still - is carried by the large and more pure note.

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