Personal pronouns

George Will has written some pretty jerky things in the time we've been reading him–usually straw men or just plain lies.  This time he gets really personal with Obama.  Here's a taste:

Both Obamas gave heartfelt speeches about . . . themselves. Although the working of the committee's mind is murky, it could reasonably have rejected Chicago's bid for the 2016 Games on aesthetic grounds — unless narcissism has suddenly become an Olympic sport.

In the 41 sentences of her remarks, Michelle Obama used some form of the personal pronouns "I" or "me" 44 times. Her husband was, comparatively, a shrinking violet, using those pronouns only 26 times in 48 sentences. Still, 70 times in 89 sentences conveyed the message that somehow their fascinating selves were what made, or should have made, Chicago's case compelling.

I actually found myself downtown for the announcement: lots of emblematic scenes of Chicago 2016 signs on the ground or in the trash.  Then of course the strange cheering from people that the Olympics were not awarded to Chicago–such is their dislike of Obama.

Imagine for a moment "Crawford Texas 2016."  I think you'd hear a little autobiography from our former President–even though he didn't grow up there and he doesn't live there anymore.  So Chicago, my adopted home town, is a great place, even if I still root for the Tigers, Lions, and Red Wings. 

The President, who still lives here, sort of, and the First Lady, is was born and raised here, are naturally going to make a personal pitch.  I don't think, considering their relationship to this place, there was really any other choice.

10 thoughts on “Personal pronouns”

  1. John, I’m not sure how many people cheered that the Olympics were not awarded to Chicago because they dislike Obama. I think for most people in Chicago (less than half wanted the Olympics here to begin with) it was a combination of more traffic, more tax-money and more corruption.
    So, while I’m sure that there are people that like to link Chicago’s defeat to Obama, I think that’s just ludicrous. I think Obama did the right thing here. He went and tried his best. Using or not personal pronouns could definetly shows some of his character; however, it had nothing to do with Chicago loosing the Olympics.
    On a different note, good luck to your Tigers tonight! Beat those piranhas.

  2. For those who cheered Chicago not getting it–follow the link in the post above.

    For those in Chicago who did not want them, that’s another matter entirely. I’d agree on the traffic, etc. I don’t think the Olympics would have brought the deli on my street back.

  3. For those who cheered Chicago not getting it based on their dislike of Obama, there is no way Obama could ever please them. So, why even bother? Do I find it odd? Yes. But I expected it.
    There’s always a group that does not like anything that our president does. It doesn’t even matter who the president is.

  4. Right. It’s the hypocrisy (ahem, country first?).

    Obama seems however to have a magical power. Few on the right can muster a legitimate criticism of him. There is so much about his policies and actions one might legitimately criticize. Why don’t we talk about that?

  5. Well, John, I think you’re expecting too much from a “brain-death” group 🙂

  6. There’s a great deal of evidence that the Olympics harm a city rather than help it. I’ve no doubt many people cheering that Chicago lost the bid did so with that in mind. However, it is troubling that those people don’t make up the entirety of the anti-Olympics crowd. The propagandists in the media from the “Right” (I still have trouble trying to figure out what that represents) have been cheering for Obama to fail since he assumed office, and they’ve done an admirable job of whipping up brain dead dissenters to wage a war against the current administration. The utter irrationality of this war and the dominating media presence it receives has done nothing but frustrate and obfuscate national debate on actually important issues like health care, corporate regulation, and WAR.
    George Will’s piece is an appalling example of the baseness of our political discourse. It is a character assassination of the pettiest sort, and it is extraordinarily vicious for no discernible reason; Will’s only objective is to illustrate the president’s vanity and suggest that it was the contributing factor to our Olympic bid loss. Unfortunately, the only affect this sort of article can have on its readers is anger or hatred, and it does little more than reinforce the void of irrationality and ignorance preventing a real political discourse from proceeding, especially when Will is considered to be one of the most important political commentators in the nation.

  7. Ok, I am probably just a heartless jerk, but Michelle Obamas speech made me a little nauseous. When people tell stories, they should tell them because they think the audience has some legitimate reason to want to hear them. I dont really think that was the case with Michelles speech:

    See, my dad would have been so proud to witness these Games in Chicago. And I know they would have meant something much more to him, too.

    You see, in my dad’s early thirties, he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. And as he got sicker, it became harder for him to walk, let alone play his favorite sports. But my dad was determined that sports continue to be a vital lifeline — not just to the rest of the world, but to me and my brother.

    And even as we watched my dad struggle to hold himself up on crutches, he never stopped playing with us. And he refused to let us take our abilities for granted. He believed that his little girl should be taught no less than his son.
    So he taught me how to throw a ball and a mean right hook better than any boy in my neighborhood. But more importantly, my dad taught us the fundamental rules of the game, rules that continue to guide our lives today: to engage with honor, with dignity, and fair play.

    My dad was my hero.

    Yes, I know she loves her dad, and its very sad he had Multiple Sclerosis, but its not a very inspiring story. Having a disease and being a good father doesnt make you a hero. Sorry, it doesnt. The Olympics is supposed to represent strength of humankind, but her story about a crippled man who did rather ordinary things is definitely not that.
    (Side note: And this may be off topic and petty, but it seems like she made the part up about watching the olympics on her dads lap, because she would of been 20 at the time. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/10/chicago-olympics-michelle-obama.html
    And please excuse the lack of apostrophes, I am typing on a keyboard with a broken apostrophe button).

  8. Yes, indeed, I think you’re being mean spirited. Her father was *her* hero. And the other part about being 20–right out of Malkin–brilliant job. She indeed would have been twenty at the time one of the people mentioned in this list performed in the Olympics, but I think she needn’t be interpreted to mean he was one of the Olympians she watched on her Dad’s lap.

  9. It was a sales pitch…
    Gravitas is mostly missing from contemporary political speeches. Just compare an Obama speech (perhaps his historic speech on race during the elections) with an MLK speech. The complexity and depth of thought of the latter is incomparable with the former, and Obama’s speech was perhaps one of the “best” of the last 25 years! It just seems obvious that the level of political discourse is approaching Idiocratic levels. I personally never want to her the term “naysayer” or the phrase “make no mistake” ever again.
    I’m no Obama basher. I’m certainly glad he’s in power and not “the other one”. But, let’s be sure we understand what in fact the President of the United States is: a PR head representing the collective interests of those who helped put him into power (Moveon.org AND Goldman Sachs, but mostly Goldman Sachs).

  10. You make a good point about Michelle probably not meaning Carl Lewis to be one of the athletes. I didn’t really look into it.

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