Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Barryspeak, Part One: The Student Speech

I've just finished my readthrough of the President's remarks (as the vid broadcasts at the time I'm trying to feed kids and get out the door for work (noon is lunchtime, dammit!!!)), and am ready to share my brief impressions. First of all here's the full text, straight from the horse's ass mouth (it was funny when I wrote it, ok?). And now, my thoughts on the speech:

Meh.


Oh, that wasn't enough? Then let me clarify. It was a run-of-the mill Obama speech, touched all the standard do well in school points, brushed a little liberal crap (but not any overt policy references), as well as some standard conservative messages (as we are all a little conservative at heart), and wasn't nearly as entertaining as my post on the same subject.

But what would be the point of this post if I didn't pick a nit or two?

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

The only problem I see here is the expectation that government can do this (and this is bipartisan criticism). Quite simply, the biggest problem in education is that government keeps trying to fix things it's ill-equipped to handle, and fosters the attitude among those who need the kick in the ass that it can handle them. In this, the criticism is for the whole system, not just one party.

Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer.

I actually question this a little. I've seen people who are psychologically incapable of being any use to society. Not that the speech shouldn't have this line (standard feel-good), but I freely admit I'm just adding filler so the post takes more than a minute to read. That's kind of what I have to offer.

So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

(conservatives: insert you own joke here.)

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

I'd be remiss if I didn't give the Prez a "FUCK YEAH!" on this. Because this is the part of the message really matters.

And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

*vomit rising, followed by laughter at how stupid this line sounds when I hear him read it in my head*

That's pretty much it. So unless he changes the speech at the last moment, or, er, um, varies, um from, uh, it, er um (thus pissing off the TOTUS), those of you who were bitching at your schools to let your kids out of watching the speech are full of shit.

Let me end this post properly, at President Obama should have done (he has one more shitty paragraph after the following):

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

[paragraph with blather redacted]

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

19 comments:

Jennifer said...

I think the speech was good. It didn't contain politics and it had a great message to the kids, but then I wasn't boycotting my school for making them listen to it either....

I am curious what those radical righties that were going crazy over it say now.

TAO said...

Even though it was a long time ago, I remember my early school years and a speech on the first day of school would have gotten....

A very loud YAWN from me and most likely I would have been dying for the damn thing to end because I wanted to get out of school...

Then I would have gone home and have been asked by my Mom, "..what did you do in school today..." and I would have told her "nothing..."

Which is exactly how I would have saw it...

I hope that Obama has a greater effect on his audience but I doubt it...

Much ado over nothing

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Didn't contain politics? I truly beg to differ.

"What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?"

I find this statement to be as deplorable as JFK's insistence that Americans ask themselves what they can do for their country.

In America, the citizens are not subservient to the State (i.e. government, the country, etc.). Traditionally, the idea in America is that individuals pursue their own rational self-interests and in so doing, the country and the rest of the citizens comprising it may in fact benefit.

But that is merely a secondary; a consequence. That is not the primary. We do not labor or serve the country or the state only to then pray for a return on that investment.

TAO said...

If rational self interests was all it took then we wouldn't need speed limits on roads...

Without government we have no forum to explore and establish in a rational and logical manner what is REALLY rational and what is REALLY the best self interests.

Osama Bin Laden is acting in his rational self interests as someone who robs a bank does...

Without government you have survival of the fittest....jungle!

Patrick M said...

Jenn: The excuse will be "it was all about the lesson plan."

Tao: Your enthusiasm is underwhelming.

You're probably right for the most part. However, if the speech inspires even a few kids who weren't, then it was worth it.

Soapster: Traditionally, the idea in America is that individuals pursue their own rational self-interests and in so doing, the country and the rest of the citizens comprising it may in fact benefit.

And (ick) that was the point that Obama appeared to be going for in his speech.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Tao, you need to learn the difference between rational self interest and merely self interest.

Simply because one can argue, in a futile attempt, the rational of their action(s) doesn't make said actions rational.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

What's more TAO, I don't agree with your premise that it is in man's self interest to murder or rob another in the pursuit of his interest.

And so again I'll remind you that while you may indeed make the case for such things serving a man's interest, at the very same time with that assertion, you've removed any concept of rational.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Ironic, no sooner do I post my beef with the apparent proclamations that the American citizenry serve the state than a friend of mine posts a link on Facebook which vindicates precisely what I was saying.

It comes from Chapter 2 of Milton Friedman's book Capitalism and Freedom.

The paternalistic "what you can do for your country" implies that government is the master or the deity, the citizen, the servant or the votary. To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them. He is proud of a common heritage and loyal to common traditions. But he regards government as a means, an instrumentality, neither a grantor of favors and gifts, not a master nor god to be blindly worshipped and served. He recognizes no national goal except as it is the consensus of the goals that the citizens severally serve. He recognizes no national purpose except as it is the consensus of the purposes for which the citizens severally strive."

TAO said...

Soapbox,

Nice try because when you say:

"Simply because one can argue, in a futile attempt, the rational of their action(s) doesn't make said actions rational."

You are acknowledging a higher power, an authority, another party outside of individuals that would determine when someones rationale was rational.

If the individual is superior to everything and rational self interests is the ideal then how is rationality determined? Culture? Education? Society?

Thus you acknowledge a higher power than the individual and a shared definition of what is rational, what is right, what is wrong, and and presto...GOVERNMENT!

As far as Milton Freedman goes...too bad he died I would love to ask him about supply side economics and why he was so against George Bush Sr., for calling it Voodoo Economics so much so that while serving on the RNC he cast the only vote in 1980 for Rumsfield for VP....and they were always loyal friends....

Name: Soapboxgod said...

You don't need a culture, a society, or a government to know that A is A; that existence exists.

Nor do you need some mystic higher power or presence.

What you need is reason and logic; the cognitive ability of the human brain to recognize and percieve and subsequently accept reality and its existence.

Additionally, I hadn't read any of the text of Obama's speech. I'd only seen what you posted Patrick. And so naturally curiosity got the better of me. I went and found text of George H. W. Bush's speech from 1991 and read it. Almost exclusively on education and the importance of it for one's future.

Contrast that with Obama's in which (only getting through the second page of the printout) he's already invoked new energy technologies, environmental servitude, fighting poverty, homelessness, crime and discrimination, making our nation more fair and that if the children don't do that they will have not only quit on themselves but they will have quit on their country.

Much of the rest similarly mirrors what Bush said in 1991 which was inspirational in its overall tone.

But he also closes with saying "God Bless you and God Bless America" which, not only remarkable coming from a liberal Democrat whose party members have gone to great lengths to make every attempt to keep church and state as separate as possible, it is also quite different from George H.W. Bush's closing (according to the text version I have) of "And now Ms. Mostoller, if you'll kindly lead the way. Thank you all very much. Nice to be with you."

TAO said...

So now Soapy go read Reagans speech and see what a really political piece that was...

Again, for me to know that A is A is that knowledge that I was endowed with at birth? Or was that the result of socialization, education, upbringing?

If reason and logic were so readily observeable, so obviously manifest in individuals then why has our knowledge expanded over the centuries? Why do we know things as true today that at one time we knew as untrue?

If reason and logic and rational thought was something that we all shared then why the hell are there so many differing opinions on everything?

Obviously you believe that your reasoning and logic are more rational than others, thus then you acknowledge that different rational self interests do exist...

Thus my example of robbing a bank is apt and I could make a very sound explanation of why robbing said bank was in my best self interests and without society, without government I could very much get away with it.....

My World Is Changing said...

I didn't care to listen to the speech, I knew it was going to be rewritten to appease the press and the naysayers.
Can someone tell me if there was there a laugh track?
After Glenn Beck scored a touchdown for the right with the announcement this weekend that Obama's Green Jobs Czar Van Jones had resigned, liberal MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has come out swinging.

In a post made to his Daily Kos blog, Olbermann says he wants readers to help him dig up dirt on Beck, as well as Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.

Olbermann promised his fans: "Tuesday we will expand this to the television audience and have a dedicated email address to accept leads, tips, contacts, on Beck, his radio producer Burguiere, and the chief of his TV enablers, Ailes (even though Ailes' power was desperately undercut when he failed to pull off his phony "truce" push)."

On Sunday Olbermann offered an "update" to his blog: "This posting has been visited lately by visitors who have kind of rushed through this and concluded I have decided, out of the blue, to collect 'dirt' on Glenn Beck."

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"Again, for me to know that A is A is that knowledge that I was endowed with at birth? Or was that the result of socialization, education, upbringing?"

Aside from any mental birth defects or brain injury thereafter which would preclude you from proper mental processes, all humans have this cognitive ability. It doesn't typically manifest itself until adulthood which explains why teenagers and children, without the full development of the portions of their brains from whence logic and reason come, make really boneheaded decisions. Some individuals however go to their grave denying the fundamental truth that A is A. They try to evade that concept and when they do, deletarious consequences result.

"If reason and logic were so readily observeable, so obviously manifest in individuals then why has our knowledge expanded over the centuries? Why do we know things as true today that at one time we knew as untrue?"

It is precisly BECAUSE of reason and logic that we have expanded our knowledge. Epistemology is the philosophical branch concerned with the theory of knowledge or more specifically how we acquire it. In short, knowledge is the middle ground between belief and truth. If we never accept that A is A or rather the truth of anything, we'll never acquire knowledge and never be able to pass along that knowledge. Opinions are belief and people like to always throw around this sort of blanket statement that "Well that may be your opinion but that doesn't make it the right one blah blah blah."

The truth of the matter is that there is an opinion that is the correct one. It is the one which predicates itself on truth.

"Thus my example of robbing a bank is apt and I could make a very sound explanation of why robbing said bank was in my best self interests and without society, without government I could very much get away with it.....

You'd be able to make a case for acting in your self interest indeed. However you'd be hard pressed to make your case for a "rational" self interest when in engaging in said act you denied the other bank holders (by force mind you) the right to the pursuit of their self interest without initiating the same tactic of force.

There is nothing rational about the use of force (unless employed as a means of resistance against someone who initiated it) against other men to necessitate or achieve your goals. Simply because you deem it so does not make it rational. That is merely a belief lacking in truth.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"Thus my example of robbing a bank is apt and I could make a very sound explanation of why robbing said bank was in my best self interests..."

Self Interests..? Yes.

RATIONAL Self Interests...? No.

Shaw Kenawe said...

My World Is Changing,

Please give us your evidence for stating that the speech was changed.

If you don't have it and can't link to proof of that statement, then what you typed is a lie.

We'll be waiting to see where the evidence is for that assertion.

Anyone can come to a blog and state any sort of wild accusation. Let's see you back your accusation up.

Otherwise you're just full of typical conservative whiney beans.

Patrick M said...

My World: As much as I hate to agree with dear sweet Shaw (listen for the grinding of teeth), you don't have proof that thew speech was substantially changed. The only thing that changed were those lesson plans, which is where most of the "controversy" came from.

Continuing to try to condemn this speech is not only mindlessly ignorant (as it was a fairly conservative speech overall), but also seeks to denigrate speeches made by past presidents with the same purpose. Because the message from Reagan to Bush to Obama is generally consistent here.

TRUTH 101 said...

Only Obama didn't try to sell them on a tax cut.

dmarks said...

I'd be happy if he just went and implemented them, instead of talking about it to kids.

dmarks said...

Patrick: No, the speech was not bad at all. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and remember, a stopped clock is correct twice a day.