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Even the Opening Act Was a Big Improvement

While the rest of you were watching the HBO broadcast of the pre-inauguration concert from the Lincoln memorial last night, I confess I was cheering my Pittsburgh Steelers to victory over the Ravens and their 12-year-old quarterback. Sweet.

But I did catch a bit of the DC showcase, and then more of it on a repeat airing on MLK day.  Now, I'd expected the Obama administration to raise the level of public discourse above the "aw shucks, we jist simple country folk" bullshit of the Bush era, but I didn't realize it would happen so fast. Nor did I expect a pre-inauguration exercise in inclusive musical talent to escape some obligatory Branson-grade acts. (We're trying to make nice with those jist-simple folks who empowered the crypto-fascist wing of the GOP to destroy the nation, right?) But, hey, as my wife points out, Garth Brooks was as far down the cultural ladder as the show went. (We both wonder who thought "American Pie" was an appropriate anthem for the occasion; did anyone actually listen to the cynical [and dated] boomer-centric lyrics?) And the Seeger/Springsteen finale was every political revenge fantasy fulfilled. The legitimation of sedition. There's something to inspire the folk to be more than simple.

But music aside, the speakers -- Samuel L. Jackson specifically -- spoke, as they say, directly to the American people, which is to say they didn't talk down to their audience. What a difference. We've gotten so used to hearing ulterior-motive-inspired rhetoric calculated to frighten us while assuring us that the people in charge were fundamentally no brighter than the least among us, that it seemed somehow sacrilegious to hear articulate sentences from a political stage. 

The guy isn't even in office yet, and already we've leapt back into the modern world. And, sorry, Bill, but bottom line, Obama's entertainment roster beat all hell out of Fleetwood Mac. 

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