American Elephants

Woot! New Harry Potter Trailer! by American Elephant
September 26, 2010, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Movies, News, Pop Culture | Tags:

It’s been out for a week, but it’s new to me! The final book in JK Rowling’s series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is split in two parts. The first part hits theaters in less than two months, November 19, with the final film following six months later in July.  Being an enormous fan of the books, I’m more than a wee bit excited.Even though the books are infinitely better, and they always screw up the films, I love them just the same. But I often wonder how anyone who hasn’t read the books could enjoy them much. Do they stand up well on their own?


Wake Up America, and Remember Who We Are! by The Elephant's Child

A post on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government,got me to thinking.  The post was about a new Quaker Oats commercial that was described as looking back at Ronald Reagan’s 1984 reelection commercial, “It’s morning again in America.” It was a simple message of renewal and Americana that touched hearts.  It could not have been made two years ago.

I suppose it does look back at ‘Morning in America’ as inspiration, but it is not political in intent — they’re spending millions of dollars to sell oatmeal as a very American breakfast.  And to describe America as energetic, inventive, for dreamers, trailblazers, champions and builders.

Marketers and advertisers try to take the temperature of America to decide how to frame their messages to most appeal to the most Americans.

Enough with the negativity, the need to remake, transform, reinvent America.  We’re pretty proud of us as we are.  When Barack Obama said shortly before the election in 2008 “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming America” to a cheering response — what did those people think he was talking about?

Americans are angry about the spending, worried about unemployment, wasted stimulus, bailouts, a government that procures power for itself rather than empowering its citizens, nanny government that cannot resist telling us how to live our lives, ignores the rule of law, and sneers at the Constitution.   I don’t think that was what we expected. We did not expect a government that was so out-of-touch with the expectations of the American people. And of course we are angry about those things.  And we are angry that Congress and the administration did not understand that we would be angry.  What were they thinking?

Americans, from the first resolute but terrified Englishmen who spent months crossing an unknown ocean to start anew, to the astronauts who headed for the moon, have always been energetic, inventive trailblazers. And they don’t lack for courage. There is an American story that speaks to our beliefs about ourselves.  It was told by Robert B. Athearn, western historian, in his book The Mythic West:

The legend is rooted in a story with which just about anyone can identify.  It tells what happened when ordinary people moved into an extraordinary land.  Often enough they overcame the challenges that they met there, but the real point of the story is not what happened to the land, but what happened to the people.

They were changed, the legend insists — transformed, reborn.  And they were better for it.  The ordeal in the wilderness created the American, we believe, free-thinking, open, tough, optimistic, self-reliant — the litany goes on and on.  The western hero has embodied these virtues and this message.  He is us, only a little bigger, tougher, braver.  From James Fenimore Cooper to John Wayne,  whenever anyone has told us this story and has done it well, we have clapped and made him rich.

The legend is not always told in Westerns, it’s told in real life, it’s told in history and even in space epics like Star Wars and stories of super-heroes like The Incredibles.

Perhaps the biggest mistake that Barack Obama made, was his failure to understand our history. He went on an apology tour around the world to tell the nations of the world that now that he was president, America would be more humble, more like all other countries.  No more throwing our weight around, no more self-aggrandizement, America was nothing special, a modest country, and then he did something no other American president had ever done, he bowed, first to the King of Saudi Arabia, and to the Emperor of Japan and to the Premier of Communist China.

Yet on his trips around the world he traveled with entourages of 500 aides, including the White House chef, fleets of vehicles, and the inevitable teleprompters — five, in case some didn’t work.  Arrogance and appeasement.  This was not the America with which most Americans identified.

It was a wake-up call to America. Our ancestors had a wake-up call when an arrogant British government enacted the Stamp Act.  When they enacted a tax on tea, Americans quit drinking tea, and dissolved their bonds with the old country.  Quaker Oats has tested the temperature of America and found them free-thinking, open, tough, optimistic and self-reliant.  It will probably do a good job of selling oatmeal, but it reminds us, once again, of who we are.

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