Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election day special: Why I voted for Obama

"What really matters is what you like, not what you are like... Books, records, films - these things matter. Call me shallow but it's the fuckin' truth." -High Fidelity

Back in 2008, it was the first presidential election I was able to vote in. I was excited, I couldn't send my absentee ballot fast enough. But while it is my god given right to keep my vote a secret, I have no problems admitting who I voted for: Barack Obama.

His name still doesn't show up in my spell check.

The fact is, Obama has some good taste. Any dude that can get down to Stevie Wonder is my kind of president. Some people vote for the guy they can drink a beer with, I vote for the guy whose dvd collection I wouldn't mind borrowing from. And he's the president, he has his own damn movie theater. That's cool as hell. I have no party ties when it comes to my votes, there is nothing more petty than that. I would of voted for Ronald Reagan if I could of, he was a fan of Back to Future. I split the three parts of Obama's taste that I most admire into the holy trinity: film, music and television (I don't know what books he likes).

Film: Do the Right Thing

He may be considered racist but Spike Lee has made some good movies.

While he hasn't outright endorsed Do the Right Thing as one of his favorite movies, Michelle and him watched this film on their first date. Frankly, I can't think of anything more awesome than that. It's a perfect film and one of my favorites. While it isn't in my all time top five, it certainly breaks my top 15. It's one of those movies that you have to watch every time it's on television just to remind yourself how good it is.

While controversial, the film is a perfect look at racism in contemporary America. It doesn't beat you over the head with it's themes or wrap itself up in melodrama. It's not like Crash, which was one of the most overrated movies I have ever seen. Crash was too pretentious and heavy handed with it's view of racism. Everything was too theatrical and it's message lost. For some reason Crash won an Oscar in 2005, giving credence to the movie's overblown message. Do the Right Thing doesn't plead for us to get along, it just shows us the length we can all go when the breaking point is reached. Anybody that likes Do the Right Thing is good in my book, cause they get it. It's an important film, yet it lost out to Driving Miss Daisy at the Oscars. What a waste.

Music: Stevie Wonder

Songs in the Key of Life!

Nothing makes me sadder than when I put I Wish by Stevie Wonder on the speakers and people think they're listening to Wild Wild West. Wonder has so much soul in him he doesn't even need his eyesight. According to Rolling Stones (I copy and pasted this quote off Wikipedia), Obama said, "If I had one, it would have to be Stevie Wonder. When I was just at that point where you start getting involved in music, Stevie Wonder had that run with Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Fulfillingness' First Finale and Innervisions, and then Songs in the Key of Life. Those are as brilliant a set of five albums as we've ever seen."

When we are first getting into music, there is usually that first band that kicks off our love. For me it's always been The Strokes, for you it could be Interpol or Waka Flocka Flame. Obama grew to love Wonder. During his prime, Stevie really was the Motown king. His period in the early-to-mid 70s was a renaissance that few artists could ever achieve. Forget the stuff you listened to during your middle school dances, if you want R&B or soul look to Wonder and no one else.

Television: The Wire

I'm not sure if I've mentioned my love for this show yet.

If having a brother has been beneficial in any way, it's because he introduced me to The Wire. The Wire is, without a doubt, the best television show ever. Forget crap like Dexter, The Wire makes Dexter look like the cartoon that it is (maybe I'll talk more about that in a later post). The Wire is the most brutally honest, realistic show ever made. It's not just a police procedural show, it's a five season long crime scene investigation for the whole city of Baltimore and the American Dream in general. Cops, drug dealers, stick-up men, dock workers, teachers, students, politicians, homeless, addicts, journalist, and every person has a role to play in the American experiment. The Wire shows the cracks in the institutions that keep this country moving and reminds us that the game we play is rigged.

Obama has gone on record saying that The Wire is his favorite show, and that just makes me respect him all the more. Not only does it show that he watches HBO, it shows he chooses to watch only the best in television and not just another Law & Order rerun (SVU is awesome though). The Wire is the modern day, great American novel. It paints a picture with its characters that are haunting and real. Obama admitting that he loves this show just proves that he gets it.

Scene one of season one of The Wire.

Obama's taste just shows how much of a real person he is. Do you even care what kind of movies politician's like? Hell I don't even keep some friends because of their crappy DVD collection. Their taste alone can speak volumes more about their personality than any planned teleprompter speech. Because, like the opening quote says about taste, these things matter.

Plus I just really wanted to talk about The Wire again.

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