Baroque Obama

Baroque Obama

Following the Healthcare Reform summit, I wanted to do something which contrasted Obama’s words on certain things with his follow-through. I auditioned several more-accessible ideas, but too many of them seemed to merely argue “the President isn’t doing what he promised when he campaigned.” I hoped to avoid this cliche, and instead focus more on what Obama has said and done since he was elected, as well as what he may potentially say and do in the future. So, I came up with this as an alternative approach that would edge more on those two areas.

I’m not sure if very many people are likely to understand this cartoon, and for that reason it probably wasn’t worth the time I spent carefully copying the now-barely-legible notes on the “Words” sheet music. This music, by the way, is actually Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #2, which I selected for the gag because it was used as the theme song for Conservative commentator William F. Buckley‘s “Firing Line” television program, and I thought it would be funny to imply that Obama is no more liberal than the founder of the National Review, even if most people wouldn’t recognize the music (and even fewer would make the noted connection).

This entry was posted on Friday, March 12th, 2010 at 1:12 am and is filed under Cartoons & Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

15 Responses to “Baroque Obama”

Buckley? The Republican talking duck is getting to you.

I think the cartoon is easier to understand than you think, though, even without recognising the music (which I agree it’s pretty unlikely anyone will).

By » W Gordon (March 12th, 2010 at 1:43 am)

Yeah, he totally hasn’t done anything at all.

W Gordon said:
Yeah, he totally hasn’t done anything at all.

See the new opening paragraph I added to my post.

This was why I wanted to do something which contrasted “Words” with “Actions,” as opposed to commenting on “Promises” alone. The difference is subtle, but I think people associate “Promises” more with things said on the campaign trail, as opposed to things a person says once he’s into his term. “Words” and “Actions” can indefinitely address things he’s said and will continue to say post-election. Furthermore, this approach allows me to comment on things he’s said or implied which were not technically promises.

I had thought about putting a few notes here and there in the “Actions” music, but I felt that would make it harder for people to get a joke which probably has enough accessibility issues as it is.

R said:
I think the cartoon is easier to understand than you think, though, even without recognising the music (which I agree it’s pretty unlikely anyone will).

The gag’s accessibility depends on how familiar people are with musical notation for rests. I know what they are because I played an instrument in junior high, but I’m not sure how likely the average person would be to recognize them.

Dont you think the “inaction” is the fault of the congress?
We blame the president for all these things but we know his hands are kinda tied in these matters. Bill Clinton gets blamed for “dont ask dont tell”, but it was the republican congress that passed it.

Congress didn’t force Obama to drop support for (or oppose from the beginning) some of the avenues most likely to accomplish his claimed goal of finally providing healthcare to all Americans, not just those with enough money. Congress didn’t force Obama to allow ethically questionable detention facilities like Bagram to continue operating or keep holding detainees indefinitely and without adequate judicial review. Congress didn’t force Obama to keep the extraordinary executive powers established by his predecessor or to openly support the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program.

They didn’t have to force him, because he’s been at least complicit with a lack of progress when it comes to these and other important issues. I would rather Obama fight hard to accomplish the things he was elected to do and which he claims to support, directly against Congress if necessary, and ultimately fail entirely than compromise those goals to the point of meaninglessness.

Congress should not be his scapegoat. The buck stops in the Oval Office.

I don’t know much about musical notation. To me, it looks like the second page has lots of progress bars (computer UI element) at a mere 10% completion. This gets the message across.

Still, that doesn’t mesh with what you’re actually saying in the cartoon.

The sheet titled “Words” is elaborate and well-developed; contrasting is the sheet titled “Actions” filled without exception by rests. At the end, all it’s doing is repeating the meme that ‘Barack Obama hasn’t done anything in his presidency.’

That’s why I linked the “Obameter” above – it quickly and easily shows all the promises President Obama has made over his campaign and presidency and exactly how much progress he’s made on each. They’re all neatly sourced and elaborated on, so if you want to see exactly when and how he kept his promise to expand hate crime legislature to cover sexual orientation you can.

If you’re interested,

(And, for the record, they *have* changed their position on whether a promise was actually kept several times, so issues you have with the legitimacy of a kept promise might be worth contacting them about).

Really, I’m just going over this because the Democratic meme of “Obama hasn’t done anything!!” is almost nearing Republican levels of destructiveness and shows about the same level of research on the part of the speaker. He _has_ done quite a few things, even if he hasn’t fixed everything he can possibly do. After all, he’s been in office about four hundred days so far? He has a massive amount of presidency left in him and by all objective accounts he’s certainly on his way to completing more promises.

So chill.

“The buck stops in the Oval Office.”

But it has to get there first, and it hasn’t. I blame the Senate for that.

The music’s also used as the theme music for Learn out Loud lectures. It’s pretty good at implying erudition.

By » Perestroika (March 13th, 2010 at 8:37 am)

I don’t know of you intended this, but on the first glance (that is, when I didn’t yet understood the point about the musical notation of a break) I noticed a different meaning in this:
The positioning of the pen and papers suggested to me that Obama was just about to begin with “Actions” after finishing “Words”, but was interrupted. In this context, the bust in the back could mean that he “died” in the meantime, i.e. went out of office.

This is probably somewhat contrary to what you intended, but I find that it also brings the point across that not every issue can be fixed in a single legislative period.

By » LagomorphMan (March 15th, 2010 at 2:06 am)

When I saw this, my first thought was “Obama speaks well, and speaks clearly of what must be done, but his follow through is somewhat… lacking.”

And I agree completely, sadly. But for all that, the saddest thing is everyday I find myself defending the man. I have a laundry list of complaints with Obama, but I almost find myself having a higher opinion of him merely because the people I find criticizing him do so for reasons that range from “not well informed” to “batshit fucking crazy.”

I know its wrong for me to have my opinions altered because of others uninformed opinions, but when you have people like Glenn Beck calling everyone and everything a Communist plot in a manner that would make Joey McCarthy blush, Tea Party protesters claiming his highly-centrist, pure-vanilla policies are 100% socialist plots to destroy America, and people who still think he’s some kind of Kenyan Manchurian candidate, I find it difficult at times to essentially jump on-board his ship. If a man is measured by the quality of his enemies, what does it say when your enemies are like this?

Barack me Obamadeus!

Oh man!
I’m so glad I took music, I get this! xD

By » dreamslayer (May 31st, 2011 at 10:17 pm)

If actions speak louder then words, then why is the pen mightier then the sword?

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