A Spectacular Anti-Climax
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
WNYC Guest Blogger: Young Jean Lee
I’m at an inauguration party hosted by singer/songwriter Mike Doughty. Almost everyone here is either a theater person or musician, so all of us are simultaneously judging the event as an entertainment. Rachel Murdy points out that Dick Cheney in his wheelchair looks like Dr. Strangelove, while Mike thinks he looks more like the evil Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life.
The Rick Warren prayer passes without much comment. Mike and Andrew “Scrap” Livingston find the orchestration of Aretha Franklin’s song to be “super-cruddy” but are fans of the John Williams piece that follows. We all spontaneously stand for Obama’s swearing-in and applaud after his speech. We writhe in agony through Elizabeth Andrews’ stilted reading of her poem (which sounds like the winning entry in a high-school poetry competition), but go crazy over the benediction by the wonderful Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery (the high point of the inauguration aside from Obama’s swearing-in and speech).
I have to say, while seeing Obama sworn in was an unforgettable experience, the event as a whole felt anticlimactic. Beyond the shots of the huge crowds, the inauguration wasn’t a great spectacle. The performances weren’t that moving and didn’t create a feeling of, “This is a tremendous moment in history”. Not that any of that matters. The spectacular, moving, tremendous thing is that Obama’s our president now. And the really exciting thing is seeing what happens after this.