Human beings are uniquely narrative creatures. Bees gather pollen, make hives, produce honey. Birds build nests. Whatever else we do, Homo sapiens alone curate shared and personal experiences into meaningful narratives, into traditions, religions, and great stories shared across generations.
For premodern peoples, shared story was context, a comment on social and existential needs, a source of shared values, a record of common founding and communal purpose. These needs were not overcome by the scientific project of the moderns, and even though their ascendant story replaced the role of lore with a zealous faith in science, the drive toward making meaning from a particular way of viewing the world was very much the same. In our time, the postmodern metanarrative seems to be a return to story-based, anthropomorphic meaning-making, and the pantheon of our myth system is filled with living, breathing gods we see in hi-def color. A typical breakdown of Western history says Gutenberg destroyed the oral tradition, but anyone who's ever listened to sports radio or watched the Oscars knows that we are still in the business of myth-making and transmission. In the information age, we don't simply recount the exploits of our heroes, we comment and opine ad nauseam about them. We have the greatest expectations of these idealized and idolized forms, our actors, our athletes, our pop stars and our presidents. In the time of Wikipedia and Wikileaks, myth-making has been open-sourced, no longer the domain of wizened elders or great scientific minds. We still love and need good stories, and we all expect to contribute to them through means very literally at our fingertips: we have blogs and Twitter, the status update and the 'Like' button.
Joseph Campbell argued famously for the existence of one shared human monomyth that forms the basis of all great tales and its persistence in every generation. "A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man." Being a believing Christian does not preclude me from seeing the brilliance of Campbell's work. That the Christ story fits Campbell's blueprint doesn't mean there isn't something uniquely redemptive about the life of and work God in Jesus. Indeed, it might explain the claim of a famous hymn about the hopes and fears of all the years being met in Christ on Christmas. That said, I want to use Campbell's monomyth as a lens through which to view the world's most prominent Christian that isn't named Bono, Benedict or Billy. Bracketed comments below are my connections between the narrative surrounding Barack Obama's election and inauguration two years ago and the scholarly deconstruction of the monomyth. [Quoted sections come from the holy writ of collaborative metanarrative, Wikipedia, and full footnotes can be found on the "monomyth" page.]
"A hero ventures forth from the world of common day [born of humble origins to a single mother] into a region of supernatural wonder [Indonesia, Kansas, Harvard Law, Chicago politics, the 2004 convention, the 2008 primaries]: fabulous forces [the Clintons] are there encountered and a decisive victory is won [the nomination, and then, the general election]: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man [naturally].
Other specific stages of the Hero's Journey in Campbell's taxonomy include:
David Adams Leeming adds concepts like Miraculous Conception and Birth ["with a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas"] and Initiation of the Hero-Child ["she used to wake me up at 4 am to go over my lessons"] to Campbell's structure. Phil Cousineau includes The Vision Quest [Obama's trip to Kenya to meet his father and his father's family, thereby informing Dreams From My Father .], which equates to what Leeming calls the Withdrawal stage.
Heroic figures on this order rise in tumultuous days when the need for redeeming or reassuring narratives is particularly acute. John McCain's own story was compelling, but against the monomyth in anxious times, it never had a chance. That the monomyth (and the need to believe it) was affirmed in Obama's historic election is no great surprise. "Yes We Can" is, after all, the original American metanarrative, even as "Yes We Will" (yes we will make this political/military/sports myth, yes we will contribute to or oppose it, yes we will immerse ourselves in it with our time and dollars and fanhood) is the recreational credo of an era who's gods are not in twilight.
That Obama has lost effortless mastery over memes about hope and the redemptive expectations of the electorate should likewise not surprise us. By the act of governing, Obama has become a known human and political entity, no longer a canvas upon which weary people can project the greatest of their hopes for what America might be. In a real sense, Obama has been demythologized and demystified, and we hate it when we can see the wizard's feet behind the curtain. It turns out that the President might just be a pragmatist. It turns out that every President compromises. It turns out that every President moves to some extent toward politics as usual. George W. Bush was once the great outsider. Obama was once the ultimate outsider. Starting this year, charges from the feigned hinterland of American politics will be made toward the Beltway. Watch how candidates position themselves. Watch for the motifs of Campbell's monomyth and know that you are always voting, at least in part, for echos of a common journey, and for the hope that once your hero wins the victory, he or she will not be changed by it, or by the culture of political boons and their bestowing.
Obama's presidency and election are historic for many reasons, but his campaign for reelection will look more like the former than the latter by necessity. Hope is, as Carl Sandberg wrote, "a tattered flag and a dream of time." That's no less true now than it was in Sandberg's time. That's no less true now than it was four years ago. That might be a good narrative for the President's team to start promoting.
Mrs. C. Crawford
7 January 2013
Presidents in Comparison: Barack Obama
President Barack Obama is by far one of the most influential, courageous, and admirable people who has served as president. His first term was believed to be prominent in the eyesight of many. Based on Obama’s performance to fulfill his duties as President of the United States, it has been said that he is commendable enough to be compared to those presidents in which their terms served as a significant turning point in history. Presidents of such standards, policies, and administration would be those like: Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Ronald Reagan. More specifically, they were most notable for ideas and standards as: The Jacksonian Democracy, The Slavery Dilemma, The New Deal, The Great Society, and that of Trickle-down Economics. All ideologies are areas in which most people compare these great presidents to that of President Barack Obama.
Barack Obama has achieved many milestones in his lifetime and has gone where no president has gone before. Born a U.S. citizen, Barack Obama is elected President of the Unites States in 2008. As leader of this great country, Barack is expected to fulfill the expectations of the citizens of the United States. Like Andrew Jackson, Obama is associated with the movement toward increase popular participation in government. Because Andrew Jackson was seen by many as the symbol of democratic feelings of his time, his term was recognized as the
Jacksonian Democracy. Some would call him a hero, an expansionist, a man of his word. As time continues, dispute grows between historians over the Jacksonian Democracy’s social nature. Barack Obama’s first term puts him in a field of authority. In his first four years as president, Barack has been a man of integrity, humbleness, and honesty, all characteristics of a great leader. Both Obama and Jackson, alike.
By Kathy Gill. An outsider in Chicago’s system, he was meticulous about constructing his own. When Barack Obama decided he wanted to run for the Illinois Senate in 1996, he ensured his candidacy by dissertation motivation successfully challenging the nomination. Search Term Papers, College Essay Examples and Free Essays on Essays24.com - full …. Free example essay on Barack Obama: The Barack Obama presidency has elicited a lot of interest essays on barack obama not Paper writer only in the United States, but all around the world. Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States—becoming the first African American to serve in that office—on January 20, 2009 Following is a plagiarism free essays on barack obama essay example about the Presidency of Barack Obama. The presidency of Barack Obama began at noon EST on January dissertation introductions 20, 2009, when Obama became the 44th President of the United States. Join organizational the world's largest study community Barack Obama This essay Barack Obama is available for you on how to write an emotional essay Essays24.com! Obama. A Barack Obama essay gives a picture of his life and political activities. Barack Obama essays on barack obama has invited serious. Professional Of research and thesis statements Help with Writing pre 1914 war poetry essay Obama Research Papers. But as our first black. Keluarga Barack Obama, Presiden Amerika Serikat ke-44, terdiri dari keturunan Afrika Amerika, Inggris, Kenya. dan Irlandia, yang diketahui melalui tulisan-tulisan. Obama's running mate, …. As a candidate, Barack Obama said we needed to reckon with race and with America’s original sin, slavery. Although merely a man of forty-three years, Obama has had a diverse. Help with college admissions essay Barack Obama Election The United States Presidential Election 2008: An in depth description of the. 11/4/2015 · Because a gift for oratory had helped propel him to the White House, expectations were essays on barack obama high when President Barack Obama introduction family essay delivered his inaugural …. Find essays essays on barack obama and research papers on Barack Obama at StudyMode.com. We've helped millions of students since 1999. Fear of a Black President. Politics Essays - Barack Obama Election. Barack Hussein Obama How to write my paper (Barry Soetoro) is the United States' first black man — or should I say, black Bear — to serve as president and is the U.S.'s 44th president My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors Barack Obama on the South Side during his first campaign, for the State Senate. Be sure to use this custom written paper to your advantage Barack Obama is undoubtedly one of the most influential African Americans of today. Published: 23, March 2015. introduction essay paragraph.
Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler has penned an essay supporting US President Barack Obama’s campaign for re-election.
In a long piece written for the 90 Days, 90 Reasons blog, the singer joked that he wanted “four more sweet years of Canadians liking Americans” and praised Obama’s charisma and ability as a communicator.
“Barack Obama is perhaps the greatest president of modern times at communicating directly with foreign populations,” he writes. “He has also changed the way the government communicates with its own citizens about the outside world.”
He adds: “I am excited for four more years of an Obama presidency for many reasons, but the one I am going to write about is selfish: I want four more sweet years of Canadians liking Americans. The Republicans will try to convince America that President Obama being a good communicator is somehow a bad thing.
“Often times politicians act as if the only use of public speaking is trying to get elected. In fact, this kind of personal charisma is perhaps the most direct way a president can pursue America’s interests abroad.”
Butler also criticised Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s communication skills and cited his visit to the UK during this summer’s Olympics as evidence, stating: “In attempting to pander to a US audience and show how ‘presidential’ he was, he ended up convincing our greatest ally that he’s prone to terrible gaffes that could jeopardize relationships with our allies – delicate relationships where a few misplaced words can do great harm.”
The singer is not the only artist to have voiced his support for Obama: in recent months, the likes of The National, Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z have all lent their star-power to the politician’s election campaign.
Arcade Fire are currently working on a new album, which will be the follow-up to their 2010 effort ‘The Suburbs’. Earlier this month, a new track by the band, titled ‘Crucified Again’, surfaced online – scroll down to the bottom of the page and click to listen.Song Stories This Week's Magazine Connect With Us NME Newsletter
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