Media Blog

Hymns to St. Obama

Oh, goodness. This is just absurd.

A few weeks ago, covered in Hillary badges, I approached a young couple in California and, as I was about to offer up my pearls of electoral wisdom, they just began singing at me. And they were singing Yes We Can, the song by Black Eyed Peas’ Will.I.Am, whose video has become a phenomenon on YouTube.

That first video, which took as its text Obama’s victory speech in Iowa, was an internet sensation, garnering millions of hits, and solidifying Obama’s support among students and young people all across America. It featured glossy stars such as Scarlett Johansson and John Legend, and encapsulated all that is best about Obama’s campaign – his soaring language, his ability to bring young people into the political process, and to inspire.

But this week, the musician has put out another singalong. The new video captures a different side to supporting Obama: its fanaticism, its breathless, quasi-religious excitement, and its inherent problems. Instead of the text of a speech, the refrain has simply become “Obama”, and its message: “We are the ones.”

This video makes my eyes bleed. The chanting–”O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!”–is just insufferable. For a guy whose idea of “change” is running on Walter Mondale’s platform, this level of cultish worship is creepy.

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