Dreams From My Father’s embellishments were not intended to be parable, allegory, or some other lyrical descriptor of simple lying; these defenses ignore that most people simply would not do what Obama did. Lying about qualifications is the largest sin one can commit when seeking employment or education, and selling a book certainly falls under employment.
Yesterday, David Maraniss — author of the bestselling Barack Obama: The Story, his book which revealed that Obama fibbed about one two thirty-friggin’-eight incidents in his first autobiography — noted that he has been troubled by the response to the book, as he hadn’t intended it to be used to assail Obama’s reputation. Yes, really.
I mean, a memoir is far different from rigorous factual biography. So it’s not as though I’m trying to say, aha, I got you, at each point, I’m just trying to present the way I really found it, which in many cases was different from what he presented.
He was writing a memoir that was shaped through the lens of race, almost entirely. So that led to certain distortions, composite characters, which he acknowledges.
You know, it’s been fascinating for me. The right wing sort of is at once dismissing the book, but cherry-picking every single negative thing in it to use against Obama. It’s almost why I didn’t want to write this book.
Well, he wrote it when he was in his 30s before he was running for president. He had no clue that people like me would come along later and try to tell the real story.
I think he did it for reasons of trying to tell a story about his search for — to find himself. I don’t think he was trying to create a mythological character.
Yikes. There’s enough moral ambiguity, doublespeak, and simple nonsense in there to negate the whole passage as being simply incoherent. I am in my 30s and am not currently interested in being president (it sounds decent, yes, but right now I prefer a job that both challenges my intelligence and allows me to wear gym clothes and shave once a week): does Mr. Maraniss let me off the hook if I spew crap and lies until I hit 40? Can I assume everything Maraniss wrote before 40 is crap?
The only clear message you should or can get from the interview:
I personally like Obama and am defending him. I am not sure how to do this.
Mr. Maraniss: you are neither making sense nor speaking well of your profession. Many have expressed this response to you already (see Roger L. Simon and Ron Radosh); what interests me most about the affair is the motivations (and not yours, Mr. Maraniss). Obama’s Dreams was intended to be exactly what you revealed it to be: a false resume. Yet most disturbing to me is the “job” he was applying for.
Obama crafted tales of racial victimhood, familial persecution, and even dramatic death, and in doing so dirtied his name, and for what? Where is a man considered more qualified for employment or admission based on the degree and “authenticity” of his and his family’s suffering?
Well, it’s all Marx, or — more timely and relevant to Obama’s formative years — the Frankfurt School, the philosophers behind a world of La Raza, Elizabeth Warren, “first black presidents,” ethnicity scholarships, BET, and affirmative action. When you speak of “oppressed classes” rather than individuals, and with the intent of advocating a transfer of wealth and opportunity to those “oppressed” by identity, you create favored identities. And that, of course, is incentive to burnish your authenticity.
This gives you two motivations for simply making your story up, one immoral and one tragic; I believe Obama was driven by both.
You may be: a) someone who simply isn’t terribly concerned with honor. An opportunist will embellish a resume. Or, you may be b) someone suffering psychic, spiritual pain at being inauthentic, unfavored, or simply invaluable to the community. This is common when authenticity, under Marx’s perverse, illiberal laws, makes you a demigod.
Obama wanted to be one of socialism’s cool kids. He knew he wasn’t. He took self-esteem orders from a segment of society that cared nothing for his actual, unique self. The tragedy is that he believed this crap and let it destroy his honor, and further, that charlatans like Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers were waiting at every bus stop to gather pawns by convincing the inauthentic that they were, in fact, authentic — that they had suffered “enough,” that they were in fact Marx’s demigods.
Luckily, identity authenticity doesn’t exist, and those who have truly suffered at the hands of those who believe it does will tell you how repugnant it is to long to have been persecuted. Tragic that so many were fooled into chasing “Dreams,” but Obama is the author of his misdeeds and deserves his current liar’s fate.