The Ricochet Weekend Essay Assignment: Martin Amis on Barack Obama

 

Herewith the novelist and culture bearer Martin Amis, interviewed on Barack Obama in 2009.* (If you watch to the very end, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most astounding utterances any educated person has ever spoken with a straight face: ”He may be able to change the spirit of the planet.”)  

Your assignment: Construct a defense for Amis. Excuse him so convincingly that somewhere in America—even if only in the English departments of small liberal arts colleges—a few people find themselves able to continue taking him seriously.

*With a tip of the hat to our own John Podhoretz.

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  1. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Two words in his defense: Heat stroke.

    • #1
  2. user_536506 Member
    user_536506
    @ScottWilmot

    Calling Hinderaker/Ward: here is your Loon of the Week. Keep that man away from the Kool-Aid.

    Wow, that was mind-blowing.

    There is no defense.

    • #2
  3. Cordelia Inactive
    Cordelia
    @Cordelia

    Perhaps he is a “victim” to the Führer Principle. 
    http://www.convergingzone.com/faith/dietrich-bonhoeffer-on-the-fuhrer-principle-by-bruce-norquist/

    • #3
  4. user_512412 Inactive
    user_512412
    @RichardFinlay

    Well, obviously!  It all would have worked out exactly like that if it weren’t for Republican obstructionism.

    • #4
  5. Frederick Key Inactive
    Frederick Key
    @FrederickKey

    Probably not as big a drunk as his old man.

    • #5
  6. user_339092 Member
    user_339092
    @PaulDougherty

    Majestic in its absurdity and completely impervious to counter argument. Some artists work with oiled pigments, some with metamorphic rocks, some with fabics, and others with sound. This man’s medium is surreality.

    • #6
  7. Peter Robinson Contributor
    Peter Robinson
    @PeterRobinson

    Ah, but these are beautiful!  Keep ’em comin’!

    • #7
  8. Peter Robinson Contributor
    Peter Robinson
    @PeterRobinson

    Cordelia:

    Perhaps he is a “victim” to the Führer Principle.

    http://www.convergingzone.com/faith/dietrich-bonhoeffer-on-the-fuhrer-principle-by-bruce-norquist/

    Just read the article to which you link, Cordelia.  I don’t want to go all serious in a thread devoted to having a little fun, but, a) Bonhoeffer was certainly correct, and, b), although there’s a big, big distance, thank goodness, between Germany in 1933 and the United States today, a touch of this same desire for a man a horseback–a leader who will simply tell us all what to do–is pretty evident in Amis’s comments.  Very unnerving.  

    • #8
  9. derek Member
    derek
    @user_82953

    Imagine how much he can accomplish in the two years remaining in his term.

    Obama was the guy on horseback. Shame on the Democrats for putting him forward. The Republic requires two mature parties who can put forward capable policies and candidated. Shame on the media who has shown itself to be craven idiots. Shame on anyone who fell for the creased pants.

    Thankfully the institutional safeguards of the constitution will limit the damage.

    • #9
  10. Drusus Inactive
    Drusus
    @Drusus

    Following the example of our earth-cooling, sea-lowering leader, I often find it constructive to blame America first. Clearly he has changed the spirit of the entire planet – it’s just our fault for not being able to tell.

    • #10
  11. user_657161 Inactive
    user_657161
    @SimonTemplar

    Who is Martin Amis and can anybody give me at least one reason why I should care what he had/has to say about anything?

    • #11
  12. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Construct a defense for him? 

    Let’s highlight his one comment about how terrible the world is when we don’t talk to one another. After all, Iran is just looking for a little respect. If we can just show them that respect, maybe it will change their … their …

    No, sorry, I just can’t go any further. The nausea is too intense.

    • #12
  13. user_11047 Inactive
    user_11047
    @barbaralydick

    Simon Templar: Who is Martin Amis

     Kingsly Amis’ son

    • #13
  14. user_657161 Inactive
    user_657161
    @SimonTemplar

    barbara lydick:

    Simon Templar: Who is Martin Amis

    Kingsly Amis’ son

     I suppose I could google Kingsly Amis, but I won’t.  So because somebody has a father who (whom?)  I’ve never heard of,  I should care about what he says?

    • #14
  15. user_11047 Inactive
    user_11047
    @barbaralydick

    Simon Templar: So because somebody has a father who (whom?)  I’ve never heard of,  I should care about what he says? 

    It’s best not to.

    • #15
  16. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    You guys are being way too hard on this guy.  His prediction was correct.  Obama has destroyed our “special relationship” with Great Britain, our allies don’t really know if they’re allies anymore, and our enemies are rejoicing.  Obama has changed “the spirit of the world.”

    • #16
  17. user_554634 Moderator
    user_554634
    @MikeRapkoch

    Sing along with me and Norman Greenbaum now: “Goin up to the spirit in the sky!!!!!!!!!”

    • #17
  18. user_339092 Member
    user_339092
    @PaulDougherty

    Richard Finlay:

    Well, obviously! It all would have worked out exactly like that if it weren’t for Republican obstructionism.

     Its the end of a Scooby-doo episode and the President is unmasked. “I would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for those meddling Republicans, and that un-grateful public!!!”

    • #18
  19. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Simon,

    Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis’s father, was chosen to continue writing James Bond novels after Ian Fleming’s death…Mr. Amis the Younger obviously inherited his father’s love of word-smithing.   It’s too bad all the lovely words don’t *mean* anything, isn’t?

    • #19
  20. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    It is impossible to argue with Amis’s brilliant thesis.  He brings a childlike innocence to bear on politics; the same analytical capacity and total enthusiasm applied by tween-aged girls in evaluating the latest boy band.  No less an authority than Jesus Christ admonishes us to be more like children (Matthew 18:1-5), including, presumably, tween-aged girls.  I, for one, am not about to argue with Jesus.

    • #20
  21. user_11047 Inactive
    user_11047
    @barbaralydick

    Simon

    I have failed Peter’s test.  Because after listening to Martin Amis’  blather, I couldn’t resist having a bit of fun.  But understand, it was not meant to be at your expense.  

    : o )

    • #21
  22. Peter Robinson Contributor
    Peter Robinson
    @PeterRobinson

    George Savage:

    It is impossible to argue with Amis’s brilliant thesis. He brings a childlike innocence to bear on politics; the same analytical capacity and total enthusiasm applied by tween-aged girls in evaluating the latest boy band. No less an authority than Jesus Christ admonishes us to be more like children (Matthew 18:1-5), including, presumably, tween-aged girls. I, for one, am not about to argue with Jesus.

     Dr. Savage, comparing Martin Amis with the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.  Now that’s a defense!

    • #22
  23. Gretchen Inactive
    Gretchen
    @Gretchen

    Peter, I don’t understand the assignment. Why would we need to convince the typical leftist academic to continue taking Amis seriously? The typical leftist academic, exposed to this video, would consider it compelling evidence of why he should be taken seriously. That’s the problem.

    • #23
  24. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    I don’t know about changing the spirit of the world, but his second election switched me from whiskey to Everclear for about a week…

    • #24
  25. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    Peter Robinson: …if only in the English departments of small liberal arts colleges

    No reason to be so parochial, Peter. Might you not find some support among even, say…Trustees…of  [just to toss out a random example] Dartmouth?

    • #25
  26. george.tobin@yahoo.com Moderator
    george.tobin@yahoo.com
    @OldBathos

    Unfair to Amis! The man obviously knows almost as much about American politics as Russell Brand.

    It is conservatives’ fault! By selfishly withdrawing from all positions of cultural influence, we leave articulate, narrowly talented but conspicuously limited people slaves to the zeitgeist. Amis is merely Paul Kael writ large. (“Pauline Kael famously commented, after the 1972 Presidential election, ‘I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.’”)

    Think of this video as analogous to one of those save the children or abused pets ads. There are needy people out there who need help. Amis is information-deficient and ideologically crippled. He needs help, not scorn.

    Don’t mock Obama supporters. Smile and offer to help them scrape the Obama-Biden bumper sticker off the Prius, have a beer and listen to a podcast.

    • #26
  27. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    “Not guilty by reason of insanity.”

    • #27
  28. Wylee Coyote Member
    Wylee Coyote
    @WyleeCoyote

    I can offer only this defense of Martin Amis:

    Read Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million, Amis’ excellent book about the life and career of Josef Stalin.

    It’s a fantastic portrait of the unfathomable cruelty of a tyrant, a searing indictment of Communism, and an unsparing critique of the intellectuals in the West, including Amis’ own father, who gave Stalin cover and excused his crimes.

    Whatever stupid burbling Amis may have released about Barack Obama back when everyone to the left of Mitch Daniels was gushing like a broken sewer pipe, he at least gave us that much.

    • #28
  29. Beowulf's accountant Member
    Beowulf's accountant
    @

    Martin Amis is not a bad writer,  though not as good as his daddy.  Money  is a pretty good book, and Yellow Dog was very funny.  He was also mates with Christopher Hitchens for whatever that’s worth.  But this video is just embarrassing.  These days what do you think guys like Martin and Chris Buckley and David Brooks say about this sort of thing?  Or are they still safely ensconced behind the armor of their invincible ignorance?

    • #29
  30. Beowulf's accountant Member
    Beowulf's accountant
    @

    Wylee Coyote:

    I can offer only this defense of Martin Amis:

    Read Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million, Amis’ excellent book about the life and career of Josef Stalin.

     Yes.  I had forgotten about that one.

    • #30

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