Obama’s triumph of style over substance
A new film has handed Obama credibility and momentum, says Patrick Collister
When you have the mo, you go.' That's what Josh Lyman said in one of the episodes of The West Wing and right now, in the fight for presidential nomination, momentum is most definitely with Barack Obama.
This video of a song written by will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas and directed by Jesse Dylan, son of Bob, is further evidence that Hillary Clinton is falling off the pace.
What will.i.am has done is to take Obama's speech, when, actually, he lost the New Hampshire primary and make him sound like a winner. He's turned a passage of the speech into the lyrics of a simple song, which he, and several others, then sing in synch with Obama's spoken words.
It's a powerful piece of communication for several reasons.
First, it is one man's personal idea about what Obama means for the future of America. Obama himself had nothing to do with it. The dead hand of a committee could not take the idea and mutilate it. So, slick though it is, the film has an artistic and political integrity about it.
Second, it's inclusive. It says nothing more complicated than 'together we can change things around here', but says it in a way that is non-confrontational.
Thirdly, it is a powerful endorsement of Obama by some pretty hip characters. True, I only recognised Scarlett Johansson but the more youthful of you will probably also identify John Legend, Kate Walsh and basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
One-day, Obama's team will look back and see this video as the nudge that toppled the vote their way. It is a triumph of style over substance, selling no more than a feeling. A feeling that this is the next President of the USA. ·
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