Ed Driscoll

‘Known To Be False But Felt To Be True’

From the first chapter of Virginia Postrel’s The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion, now out today in hard copy and Kindle format:

In this chapter, we begin to understand what kind of phenomenon glamour is: like humor, a form of communication that elicits a distinctive emotional response. In the next chapter, we’ll identify and investigate that response— a sense of projection and longing— and explore why so many different objects can produce it: what glamour does. We will discover that, like the gilded world seen through a candy wrapper, glamour is an illusion “known to be false but felt to be true,” which focuses and intensifies a preexisting but previously inchoate yearning.

* * * * * * *

The most striking recent exemplar of glamour was not, in fact, a movie star or fashion plate but a political candidate: Barack Obama in 2008. With its stylized portraits of the candidate gazing upward and its logo featuring a road stretching toward the horizon, the iconography of Obama’s first presidential campaign was classically glamorous. (The Onion satirized the candidate’s many glamorous photographs in a story headlined “Obama Practices Looking-Off-into-Future Pose.”)

Well, it’s over five years since that Onion headline; who knew that this would be the future that Obama would be gazing into? (Oh right, the voters in half of the country that didn’t buy the confidence man’s pose, and were demonized as racist retrogrades as a result.)

WHEN THEY’RE RUNNING ARTICLES LIKE THIS IN THE NATIONAL JOURNAL, IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE: Lying About Lies: Why Credibility Matters to Obama. The president is trying to reinvent the history of his you-can-keep-it promise on health care.

—From Instapundit.com today.

Regarding the disastrous rollout of the Labyrinthian complex and downright Kafkaesque Obamacare Website, Postrel recently wrote in Bloomberg.com that “Obamacare’s Virtual Fantasy Couldn’t Handle Messy Reality:”

Glamour is a powerfully persuasive tool. Taken as a guide rather than the literal truth, it can lead to positive, sometimes life-changing, action. But it is also an illusion. In the real world, the hidden details matter.

And they do – which is why the MSM worked so hard to conceal them from voters in 2008 that by the end of the campaign, even they were pointing out little they claimed to know about the man they insisted voters support.

But hey, why shouldn’t the president be as magical as government itself?

(To hear my interview with Virginia on her new book or read a transcript of the audio, click here.)

Update: “Obama, The Noxious Liar, at 39% Approval,” Ace writes:

The old take was that, no matter how bad Obama was doing, he was a Nice Man who was Trying to Do the Right Thing. His serial lying and new round of serial lying to explain his past lies (which I’ll link next post, even though you now all know about it) obliterates the Nice Man who Is Trying to Do The Right Thing narrative.

He’s not just a failure anymore; he’s a dishonest, shifty politician who lies to the American people — and hurts them! — to get what he wants.