Thursday, December 28, 2006

counterfactual thursday

Sure, as far as titles go, "Leader of the Free World" is more important in the abstract than "Godfather of Soul." Still, if a shadowy figure stepped into the wayback machine and contemplated the following options:
red button: Going back to 1913 and preventing Gerald Ford from being born, or

blue button: Going back to 1933 and preventing James Brown from being born.
Does anyone really doubt the world would be more different from what it is now if the shadowy figure pressed the blue button vs. the red button?

Plus, it seems also more straightforward that the ways the world would be different would be for the worse had James Brown never been born than if Gerald Ford never been born. Artists have this advantage. With an elected official, you can point to how they did A and B and C, but they also kept someone from holding that same office who would have done D and E and F. I think it's very likely we would have had the Nixon pardon and "Whip Inflation Now!" even if Ford had never been born, while I think it's very unlikely we would have had "Get Up (I Feel Like Being Like a) Sex Machine" had James Brown never been born.

That said, I do have these married friends that had an unusual number of aspects of their courtship involve Gerald Ford--e.g., a pivotal date being a trip to the Gerald R. Ford presidential museum--so much so that they sent him an invitation to their wedding. He did not respond. Their love endured the snub.

Meanwhile: That John Edwards is running is the only reason I have not provided an early JFW endorsement of Barack Obama for the 2008 presidential race. Likewise, the seemingly likely Obama candidacy is the only reason Edwards's announcement was not accompanied by his getting the official JFW endorsement today.


tina said...

How much does it suck if you manage to make it all the way to U.S. President, and the reasonable assessment of your contribution is still, "eh, not much"?

jeremy said...

I would think it would soften the suckiness if you hadn't gotten to be president without ever actually being elected to national office.

Plus, note, we are not pitting him against just anyone, but James Brown.

Kim said...

Too bad James Browns' timeless lyric, "Hyeh" (as in "I feel good...hyeh") doesn't translate well into type. Heck, I tried five different spellings and I still couldn't capture the raw emotion and *sniff* sheer beauty of the word.

Anonymous said...

it's also a bit sad to me that the primary association many people seem to have with james brown is the eddie murphy 'hot tub' skit on SNL (funny as it was/is).

p.s. -- is hillary out of the running for JFW endorsements?

jeremy said...

Anon: You will be happy to know I have no memory of this skit. Maybe I'll try to find it on YouTube later.

The entire point of the endorsement is my opposition to Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee, on the grounds of "Why should the Democrats nominate the person Republicans are hoping and praying they nominate?" Plus, the whole glacial inevitability surrounding the Clinton march to party-nomination and general-election-loss is borne of various kinds of cronyism and elite-establishmentarianism that political liberals ought to oppose.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

47% of American voters -- including Democrats -- said in a recent poll that they would not vote for Hillary in the general election. That makes it just about impossible for her to win. But why support Obama now? What has he actually done to deserve the JFW endorsement?

And tina, at least Ford got to be the moron who pardoned the second most corrupt president in US history. How about William Henry Harrison? He won a hard-fought election, then died about three minutes after completing his four-day-long inauguration speech.

jeremy said...

What I see in Barack Obama is somebody who basically has free rein to run very far to the right in many respects as a candidate while keeping the enthusiasm for the prone-to-wander white liberal base. I'd like to see Michael Moore stand up for Nader in a campaign where Barack Obama was the Democratic nominee.