Selected thoughts on the inauguration of President Barack Obama:

Aretha still has a beautiful tone to her voice, but that was a shaky rendition of ‘God Save the Queen’. Barack Obama is the son of a British citizen and therefore America’s first British president (apart from all those Founding Fathers, who were basically British as well), so it’s apt that he had God Save the Queen at his inauguration, though I think Aretha messed up just about all of the lyrics.

Dick Cheney was wearing an exquisite Zac Posen wheelchair. The official story is that he strained himself while moving the coffin filled with the earth of his homeland, but I think that’s a cover. Now he’s no longer veep, he’s been unplugged from the giant black battery of boiling baby blood that pumps yellow bile through his canker heart. I’m told the Bidens intend to use that room as a parlour.


Pastor Rick Warren’s prayer was an extraordinary piece of hypocritical garbage marring an otherwise wonderful event. It was rather bare-faced of the fat ginger God-weasel to choose the fulfilment of the promise of the struggle for civil rights as his theme. “When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us”, he said. You have to repent your sins before seeking forgiveness, Pastor Rick. Revered Joseph Lowery’s benediction showed Warren how these things should be done.

(Oh, if you’re wondering how Obama intends to make up for the dreadful error in judgement that was Rick Warren, Towleroad reports that the White House website posted a series of pledges to the LGBT community today, including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, support for hate crime legislation, and opposition to a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Well, that’s a start, Mr President.)

Joseph Robinette Biden? Really?

I was a little worried that the John Williams quartet was going to sound like Williams’ usual shallow metronomic movie bombast - he is truly the Michael Bay of composers - but thankfully it was an arrangement of Simple Gifts, an apt and elegant Shaker melody better known in some quarters as Lord of the Dance. If Williams had ruined that, he’d have been thrown out of the secretive Composers’ Circle.

Barack Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts both fluffed their lines at the inauguration proper, so I suspect Obama still isn’t actually president. In fact, when we look back over the tape in slow motion, I think we’ll discover that Aretha Franklin is the 44th president of the United States.


As for the big speech; is, “These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics” the new, “Ask not what your country can do for you…”? Is Barack Obama the first president to include qualifying footnotes in his inaugural address? I’m surprised he didn’t end on the bibliography.

Not quite the great speech I was hoping for, but he found his rhythm at the halfway mark, and  I did like his preliminary sketch for the Obama Doctrine; “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist”. Does this mean the end of the terrorist fist jab?

Finally, Elizabeth Alexander read from her LiveJournal entry for the day. “Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others’ eyes, or not, … Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair. Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum…”. I’m told she also writes poetry. I’d love to hear some of that.

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4 Responses to “44”

  1. Wilfredo Says:

    I think Obama’s gesture to include Warren was too grand. It’s the kind of gesture that makes these GOP members all puffed up.

  2. Helen Says:

    “Elizabeth Alexander read from her LiveJournal entry” - snigger. Based on her speech, I wonder if her poetry is along similar lines to the Queen’s in Blackadder?
    “When the night is dark, and the dogs go bark; When the clouds are black, and the ducks go- quack;….”

  3. Andrew Says:

    Wilfredo: No disagreement from me. I understand the impulse to reach out to the right like this, but they’re an intransigent bunch; I’m not sure that including the likes of Warren in the public discourse does anything useful.

    Helen: Well, at least Queenie’s poems rhyme! Honestly, is it too much to ask for a nice bit of rhyming at the inauguration? Thankfully Joseph Lowery picked up the slack on that one.

  4. Wilfredo Says:

    I don’t get how too many of these poets can’t recite their own poetry.

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