Saturday, January 24, 2009

Redefining Poetry—Downward

Talk about low expectations:
At least one passage in Obama's address stood out that may, upon reflection, resonate through history. In it, Obama challenged Americans to rise to meet a difficult moment. '[T]here is nothing so satisfying to the spirit,' President Obama said, 'so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.' With this line Obama not only reached for poetry, but achieved it. And for anybody who ever faces a difficult challenge, I hope they'll pull inspiration from it.
Now, I'm not as critical of the inaugural speech as Michael Gerson is, but come on. Let's read it again, straight through:
There is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
Aside from the fact that "nothing so satisfying to our spirit" would make for more parallel and better writing, are we really going to pretend that this line will be remembered for decades? Or even suggest that it's even close to that caliber?

Ridiculous.

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