Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Obama Speaks

Did you listen to the State of the Union last night? Whatever you think of President Obama's ideas, you can't deny that he is a superb orator and a talented writer; I interned as a speech-writer at a Paris foundation for the arts and, a few years later, at the French embassy in Tokyo, back in the 90's, and I find speech writing a fascinating process.
Ever so cool, with its great team of designers, Penguin has released a slender blue hardback with Obama's inaugural address, some speeches by Abraham Lincoln and my dear Ralph Ellison's essay, "On Self-Reliance." If you are interested in Obama, in history and in the USA, it's a wonderful little book. Here's a brief passage:
And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself.

And if we mention our President, can we fail to mention Michelle Obama? I find her as stunningly intelligent as she is elegant and beautiful, and Glamour voted her one of its Women Of 2009 - how could it be otherwise?

24 comments:

Debra said...

We were at Obama's inauguration a year ago and it was a thrill in so many ways. I am still full of hope - it's going to take a little more than a year for him to be able to un-do the wrongs of the years before him. I find Michelle Obama to be full of grace and a wonderful role model for young women today-and she's just plain fun! GREAT post!

vintage simple said...

He is an incredible orator - the best we've seen in a long time. And so is Michelle. They're both intelligent, thoughtful and well-spoken. Change takes time. And cooperation. I have no doubt that this country is moving forward. And it feels good, even with the many problems we're still facing.

Thanks for posting, dear.

xoxo,
-maria

Giulia said...

Well, I am here, as always, in the capital. I do admire both of them. And I'm no blind follower of anyone. Ever. I just wish that so many immature people who think that after the last many years, one person can say "snap" & it's all better would knock it off. The nastiness is overwhelming here; I thought I was used to it.

I'm rereading Camus & trying to keep a bit of balance. Which is not easy.

Thanks for the post, M-L.

Mary-Laure said...

DEBRA - oh lucky you, I wish I had been in DC for the inauguration!
I agree that Michelle is a perfect role model. She worked hard, studied and became a top attorney. She's also so poised, beautiful and a perfect mother...

VINTAGE SIMPLE - I agree, change takes time and cooperation. What a perfect way of putting it.
I too think we're on the right track, but change won't happen in a day - or a year.

GIULIA - so true, people tend to expect miracles and when those don't happen, they go out spreading nastiness and slander. Yuck.
Wonder how Miss Giulia feels about the fact that the Obamas have a dog, not a cat... Hmmmm...

Giulia said...

Well, Giulia likes dogs a lot. And she is understanding about Malia's allergies. (I'm allergic to lots of dogs, for instance. Thanksgiving was a bit of a nightmare as I did not realize that was still true.)

A lot of people didn't know that the previous occupants had a couple of cats on the premises. It's the only thing we liked (along with the First Lady's literary activities) about that particular administration. Was it? Yep, pretty sure that was it. ciao-meow to Benjy.

Joyful said...

Well I'm jumping on the Obama fan club wagon :-) I think they make an excellent couple and seem to be wonderful parents. President Obama is a gifted orator and his wife, I just love what she is doing all around. Especially trying to grow vegetables and set a positive example for young girls.

donna baker said...

MaryLaure, you must have been 10 back then. I love the Obama's and politics, though I never talk about it anymore. I do follow what's going on in the world though and think about the different views. I have always considered myself a liberal free spirited hippie, but most of my friends are, gulp, the republicans. Oh well, I have always loved Alexander Pope's Essay On Man.

Mary-Laure said...

GIULIA - Benjy is quite saddened to learn of your allergies... He was hoping to meet you some day, but not to make you sick!

JOYFUL - yes, I like her agenda of promoting healthy eating. Her vegetable garden is really great.

DONNA - hmmm, I haven't read Pope's essay On Man, I need to look it up; thanks for the recommendation.

donna baker said...

Oh, and how is Benjy? You heard about my little girl Sister didn't you? It took 10 years off my life. Does Benjy jump off of things? I can't keep Sister from it. Since the surgery, almost daily she leaps off something. It's going to kill me.

Anonymous said...

Marie-Laure, sans faire de la politique, n'oublie tout de meme pas que tu es 50% francaise.
Mr OBAMA=BUY AMERICAN avant tout et comme tu t'en doutes il devrait, pour une fois, conseiller a son epouse de s'habiller..un peu mieux!
BUY AMERICAN, oui, mais pas ses robes!
Mme OBAMA devrait passer un coup de fil a CARLA SARKOZY..

Kwana said...

I found the SOTU wonderful and inspirational and Michelle beautiful as always.

Spangler Cummings said...

A speech writer, too! OK..go ahead, continue to stun and amaze me.

Laura in Paris said...

I have to order that book ...

KIRAFASHION said...

the best couple ever!

Mary-Laure said...

ANONYMOUS, alias JL - je sais que je suis francaise, mais les discours de Sarko ne me semblent pas tres inspirants; je ne l'aime pas.
Quant a Michelle Obama, je trouve qu'elle est tres elegante, moderne, et n'a rien a apprendre de Carla Bruni.
Tu peux regarder comment elle etait habillee l'autre soir pour le State Of The Union:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/28/michelle-obamas-state-of_n_439975.html

Miss Cavendish said...

Back in the day, I wrote speeches (artistic ones; not policy!) for a foreign ambassador to Canada. A well-turned sentence on the page to be uttered is a thing of beauty indeed!

Belle de Ville said...

Ilove a great rousing speech as much as the next person but there was nothing special about Obama's SOTU address.
The fact that he said the word "I" 96 times and the word "me" 18 times in a 70 minute speech pretty much says it all.
What happened to the Obama of the campain whose speeches were so riveting?
Michelle, as usual, looked gorgeous.

Giulia said...

Yes, but remember...

"We campaign in poetry, but when we’re elected we’re forced to govern in prose” said then-New York governor Mario M. Cuomo in a speech at Yale University (New Haven, CT) on February 15, 1985. Cuomo often repeated: “You campaign in poetry, you govern in prose.”

The quotation has been often used in politics, especially during the successful 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama, who was known for his campaign speeches.

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pennycones said...

I would actually like to read this little book. It sounds interesting.

I haven't paid so much attention to Michelle, perhaps its because I'm in the UK but I keep reading how much people like her.

xxx

Karena said...

Michelle Obama is both gorgeous and intelligent. Her sense of style and fashion is impeccable.
Karena

Angie Muresan said...

Sadly I did not get to listen to the speech. But I am not at all surprised that it was an intelligent one. He has the poise and the confidence, as well as the common sense to run this country as it needs to be run.

Des said...

Great recommendation. That sounds like an outstanding book. I'm fascinated by speechwriting as well.

iñaki said...

I love LOVE love that picture!

xx