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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inauguration Day: for the eyes

A photo-booth shot of John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, possibly taken during their honeymoon, in 1953. From the John F. Kennedy Library.

I am a visual person. So much so that I think it trumps every other sense a lot of the time, making me vulnerable to the beauties of cinematography, paintings, a sunrise, an ornamental chicken, and photographs.

The advertising industry knows many of us are in this same boat. Gorgeous images of beautiful people sell products. The Marlboro Man - simultaneously macho on his horse and romantic in the great wild West - sold lots of cigarettes, including to himself: Wayne McLaren, leading to his death from lung cancer at age 51.

In politics, being handsome and charming sure doesn't hurt. In the famous debate between Nixon and Kennedy, Nixon's chances to win might have slid into thin air, like the sweat off his ski-jump nose - partly because of that visual.
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We'll never know how much of the Kennedys' Camelot was based in visual appeal, but it has to be a lot. How do you not stare at Jackie and Jack's faces in the photobooth image, above, and then want them to be your mom and dad, or leaders (king and queen)? Anyone with such genuine gorgeous smiles has to want what's best for me, right?


VF Feb. 2007 cover, one of 20 different covers for the Africa issue, guest edited by Bono, photograph by Annie Leibovitz

When I found Vanity Fair's slideshow of their Presidential portraits over the years (all the photos here are from that gallery), I felt the power of the visual image. Even this cover of Rice and Bush, above, conjured sympathy and even some affection for a man I have found little of either for these long eight years. It's a brilliant stroke, actually, that we will always have Liebovitz' portrait of Bush for the Africa issue, since his contribution to raising funds and awareness for the AIDS epidemic in Africa is a true legacy. How many lives have been, and will be saved and improved because of him? That is a strange question, and my insides do somersaults around it and the conflicting answers. But I can't deny this, and if I were one of the saved ones, I might gently hand him my shoes, gratefully.

photograph appears here, by Jonas Fredwall Karlsson

Our new President takes office Tuesday. People have compared his wife Michelle to Jackie visually, and not all favorably (yeah, Ann Coulter). The new First Lady's style is of utmost importance to some: she wears sleeveless dresses like Jackie, what does it mean? (There wasn't a portrait of Michelle in the Vanity Fair gallery, so I didn't include an image of her here.)
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As for Himself, there is so much going on in images of him, that I have to keep checking my emotions with hard facts to keep myself from hoping too much. He's handsome, tall and lean (my instinct is to follow him), African American (a hallelujah FIRST!), has a genuine-looking smile (I want to have a cup of coffee with him and tell him about myself), dresses well without flash (I don't want to see a man dress with too much attention to his clothes), walks with a confident - almost cocky - gait (he reminds me of guys I didn't like who thought too highly of themselves), puts his hand on people's shoulder - including President Bush's (making me think that he feels a little sorry for him too), wears baseball caps and cargo shorts (he's like me), has impressive abs (not like me), scowls at the press when he isn't left alone at times of grief (cool, he's real and doesn't always have to be Mr. Nice), looks people in the eye (nothing to hide), wore shoes during the campaign that had holes after already being re-soled (a sense of thrift and recycling), and puts his hand on his wife's knee, snuggling with her during TV interviews (he respects his wife and genuinely loves her, but maybe too much PDA - public display of affection? Nah.).
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Decisions, policies, crises, mistakes and thousands of mundane details that lie ahead for this President will be communicated to us in more ways than during any other Presidential term, from the puppy the Obamas bring to the White House, to protracting the war in Afghanistan. Visual images will help me relish them or cringe, but I'm going to try to balance them with the facts the best I can - that is after curling up on the couch watching Tuesday's Inauguration, relishing the visuals of a million people crowding Washington's mall and Mr. Obama being sworn in on the Bible with his wife standing behind. And will she be wearing a hat?
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Jan. 20 12:34: You can read the text of President Obama's inaugural speech here.


138 comments:

kanmuri said...

That was a really intelligent post. I must confess that when I saw the first Kennedy couple picture, I thought: wow, they're so pretty!
I do think this presidency will be expressed through more images than the previous ones; Obama's direct use of the internet for his campaign, messages and most probably for his presidency, had and will have a lot of impact. Let's hope he lives up to our expectations.

Anonymous said...

hi, nice photoshot. but actually i love US president obama. deserving and very intellegent. hoping he's not like other president..

Coffee Messiah said...

Finally someone who can complete a sentence, look at both sides, listen to others and hopefully share the responsibility other than blaming others....it's been a long 8 yrs, but that it has taken an African-American to get us here is totally amazing.

Look at those crowds, people of color, not just white folks ; ) Now that's a picture worth a thousand words.

Even a little positive is a good step after all the negativity these past 8 yrs.

I digress.....nice post! ; )

Cheers!

Susan said...

Dear Ruth, you have said in a few paragraphs what I could never hope to express so eloquently. You write what is in my heart and in my head. My fingers just don't know it.

I remember that Vanity Fair issue and kept it for a long time. I think you're right and President Bush's compassion for Aids victims will be his legacy. At least it proves that the man does have a heart.

I simply love the way Barack is with Michelle and the way he looks at her as if he is in awe, wondering how he ever got that lucky.

And as for Ann Coulter, I just want to kick her skinny ass up between her shoulder blades. Oops, how did that get in there? hehehe

NJ said...

Ruth, I love your post. And that photograph of Obama, is that not a telling one. Seems very impromptu, personal and unstaged. It's what his friends who see. Like a person who has moved into their first home. You can see the happiness and satisfaction in his face.

Coachdad said...

Wow....no wonder you are a Blog of Note. Beautifully done!

afiliate programs said...

this guy is good. very good blog
thumbs way way up :)

rabbi lars shalom said...

news from planet heaven!!!

Anet said...

I can hardly wait for Tuesday Ruth.
Thank you for this wonderful post!

My Castle in Spain said...

Cool pics !

i just read Ann Coulter's article you're mentioning. So appalling and some of the comments too...

on another note, CONGRATS for your blog of note !!!

meryl's musings said...

Great post -- it was like you were reading my mind, but saying it so much more eloquently than I ever could. Being just a couple years older, I sigh when I think of the innocence and yet power of Camelot.

Hunks (as I refer to my husband in my blog) and I were in Dallas a couple years ago, the first time for both of us. Surprisingly, it brought back wonderful memories instead of the harsh realities that moment brought.

Kennedy represented change and excitement -- something I haven't felt for a very long time.

Please, let us hope that Obama and his family win over the rest of the reluctant nation and join our hopes and dreams.

Butternut Squash said...

I love the art that you are creating here. It is a gorgeous synthesis of images poetry and prose. I can't wait to see what new beauty will be you next adventure.

Clementine said...

I love love love the JFK and Jackie image! Thanks so much for showing it in preparation for the inauguration!
Clem x

Anonymous said...

I celebrate with you in your blog being BLOG OF NOTE. It was beautifuly written and informative. Your layout will help me with my blog.I will continue to folllow you.
I just love your photographs as well. I have a passion for nature too.
Thanks
Ms. Mona
Sunrae and friends

Monica said...

I may be offending some and it may have already been said somewhere by someone, but I mentioned to my husband the other day that Michelle may earn the nickname, Blackie-O. Its a play on their race, her similarities to Jackie and their last name. It is most definately not meant to offend...I am more than excited about the next US president (despite being Canadian born & bred) and am actually taking the day off to watch the ceremonies with my family.
We all can't wait to see how the Obamas (both the Pres & the first lady) change both the country, its image internationally and the state of the world in the next 4, or [crossing fingers] 8, years.

Gwen Buchanan said...

A wonderfully written article Ruth...
JFK meant a lot to Canadians too... that HOPE.. I remember as a child in my grade 2 classroom sitting in my little seat and the teacher announcing to the class about the assassination... I was stunned... just a small child.. and I sat there with my head in my hands feeling this so personally.. I cried... feeling this great sadness...and wondering what would ever happen now.. that day has always stuck in my memory.. as in most everyones... How could it not?

I WISH for better things this time...

R2K said...

: )

Deedee said...

Wow, so glad I found you. Great to read such Intelligent, thoughtful writing and your photos and the paintings you've posted are so beautiful. A treat for the eyes and the soul- Thank you!

Ruth said...

Kanmuri, I wonder what people are saying in Japan about our new President? It really feels like we are starting something very new this week.

Ruth said...

Anon., I hope so too. I wonder how much that's possible.

Ruth said...

Coffee Messiah, as someone said, we'll get back to political nuance.

Ruth said...

Glad you said it, Susan.

We will all be watching Himself closely, poor man.

Ruth said...

NJ, I agree with you. This photo speaks volumes. To be willing to has his pic taken with his feet on the desk says a lot about his confidence. It doesn't even say to me "this person is slacking" the way we tend to with such an image. I guess it's because I know how hard he worked for the past two years on this campaign.

Ruth said...

That's nice, Coachdad. Good luck to some other Senators, eh?

Ruth said...

Afiliate, fingers crossed, everything's crossed. But there's so much else to consider, I'm afraid.

Ruth said...

Rabbi, good one, Planet Heaven. We make it heaven or hell, that's for sure. It's up to all of us to make it heaven, not just Himself.

Ruth said...

Anet, we've walked this road together, yay!

Ruth said...

Lala, thank you to a felow Blog of Noter!

Ruth said...

Hi Meryl, oh it's fascinating how that event shaped us. Of course we fear it for the new President too, but I will not focus on that.

Alex said...

Thank you for this pics. They awsome!

Ruth said...

Butternut, thank you for that. You are perceptive of adventure, having had so many yourself. Beautiful work you're doing.

Ruth said...

Clem, I almost feel like no one should be that beautiful! But it's so interesting thinking about all the connections and memories being sparked by this inauguration.

Ruth said...

Ms. Mona, oh thank you thank you! I'm glad you like the layout here and that you can utilize something here for your own. I am always surfing blogs for inspiration myself, and much of what you see evolved that way.

Ruth said...

Monica, no offense taken. I hadn't heard the term, but I can see how it evolved! The world is happy with something we did for the first time in a while. And I'm reveling in that, even if reality will set in and the world won't change all that perceptibly. But small changes matter. A lot.

Ruth said...

Hi Gwen, old friend! I was small too when JFK was killed, and I related to little Caroline on the TV, she was a year or two younger than me. I just felt sad that she and John-John had lost their dad.

Ruth said...

R2K, I loved visiting your R2K blog.

Ruthie said...

First of all, I wanna say: great blog!

Secondly, I looove your name! ;).

-Ruthie<3

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Ruth , great post, it may surprise you to know I am a visual person too,lol. We are in troubled times, we shall see if your new President can take hold and make a difference in the coming years.

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JE said...

So many go by looks and fancy speech, so few by the actual content of character.

Anonymous said...

check out www.wizardofotin.blogspot.com

Kathy said...

Lovely pictures of JFK and Jackie. I am a visual person too.

lakeviewer said...

Tuth,
Thanks for your pictures and your comments. I'm impressed with your critique of photographs from a photographer's view point. We all want to know everything about a person when we see him in a photograph.

sixtyfivewhatnow.blogspot.com

Ruth said...

Ruthie, yay! You have a really good one too, name I mean. Seriously, your blog is great. But I tried leaving a comment, and the skinny little box wouldn't let me in.

Ruth said...

Bob, that is indeed a great surprise . . . NOT.

I am trying to keep my hopes to a little bit of change, a slight shift. When you think in terms of the galaxies, universe, a small thing can make a difference in the big picture, right? I just hope it doesn't take light years.

Ruth said...

UFO Blogger, I like it! But the rating stars were disabled for some reason.

Ruth said...

JE, that, and what is actually done.

Ruth said...

Anonymous, keep thinking for yourself. That's what we need. Period.

Ruth said...

Kathy, they are easy to look at.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Lakeviewer. Yeah, how many photos have I seen that are actually misleading!

vivacemusica said...

Love the breakdown of Obama's image, and what he potentially represents to various people. We, in Canada, are excited, as must be the rest of the world! As to expectations, it'll be hard for any human to live up to them, and especially since Obama is currently burdened with such symbolic value. But he's a breath of fresh air, and can excite the masses into believing in hope. That's a huge accomplishment for any mere human.

laura said...

Jackie was so beautiful--I often forget--those wide-set eyes! I think Annie Liebovitz is a genius, but even she can't make GWB look like anything but a smacked ass to me! I felt sorry for Nixon and Johnson, but doubt I'll ever be able to muster anything but disdain for Bush, which I think mirrors what he's given us.

Oliag said...

I see that you and I see eye to eye on visual culture in general and on our new President!.... The only complaint I have of him is his continued smoking - I fear getting a visual picture of that but I have to admit I haven't yet....he is hiding it well..

You write beautifully of the connection between photography and politics..Thank you!

Ruth said...

Deedee, that is nice coming from a writer. Thank you.

Ruth said...

You're welcome, Alex. It's nature that gives the gifts. Thank you.

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Ruth said...

Vivacemusica, as one American I am hoping our relations with the world will continue to improve, because of actual changes, and not only perceptions. Perception helps us hope though.

Ruth said...

I know, Laura. Pitiful, these 8 years have been shameless and pitiful.

Ruth said...

Oliag, you're right, I haven't seen an image of him smoking. I can't imagine being able to quit a habit like that now at the onset of the most stressful job in the world. Wow.

Thanks.

JE said...

Ruth said...
Good point. You have an interesting blog, I like it. Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment at synchronizing.

January 18, 2009 11:52 AM
JE said...
Thx, Ruth, and you're welcome. Your blog is awesome, I'm glad I stumbled upon it and will be checking back.

Elaine B. said...

Great stuff!!

nathalie in avignon said...

Ruth I super excited that Synch-ro-ni-zing has been chosen as "blog of note" on the blogger home page. That's fantastic! And well deserved! I hope lots of people discover your blog through this.

Another most interesting post today.

Sam said...

Wow...to me, it doesn't really look like Jackie! But he sure does have a huge grin :)

Loring Wirbel said...

Did you catch any of today's Lincoln Memorial program? Stirring, though at times a little over the top. Your blog hinted at the fact that we have to be careful with the myth side of Camelot, as many people mythologized too much about the Kennedy Camelot. But for now, enjoy the spectacle! (And congrats on the blogger recognition, well-deserved.)

rauf said...

i'll write about swearing on the Bible after a couple of posts Ruth.
Very impressive name Wayne McLaren.
Wonder why he didn't become the president. probably he would have won. i think i have seen pictures of JFK smoking a cigar. Jackie used to offer Cuban cigars to the visitors. There was some joke about Cuban crisis and Cuban cigars in the white house. i think Clinton smoked cigars occasionally.
Everybody was talking about Jackie and John. Now Obama. There were holes in his shoes bikkaas his wife has been using all the money. Sarah Palin's visual appeal did not work.

'we are the president for godssake' said Mrs. Clinton' whats her name ? i forgot so soon Ruth, her visual appeal didn't work too. She is good looking, no doubt about that. i think lot of young voters turned up to vote this time. Some one will come up with statistcs.

Condra said...

I got your blog from the chosen blog of blogs of note. I am Indonesian learning to write blogs in English. I need much more friend whose daily language is English. Four you, Ruth and for all of those read my comment here, would you mind being my sharing partner in writing?
Supposing it is not ridiculous request...:)

Condra A. Nasir
Indonesia
email: condra.antoni@yahoo.co.uk

egm said...

wow.

lapangbola2119 said...

Nice article


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Viji said...

that's a wonderful post...nothing is going to stop me from staying glued to CNN on tuesday..

CottageGirl said...

You are so eloquent. You put in a nutshell what would take me weeks to write...
Also, what wonderful pictures you chose.
I'm so glad I found your site!
God bless our country and our new President.

dutchbaby said...

Like you, I have to check my expectations. It's hard when there is so much to admire.

You chose some beautiful images.

Be one with the Fro said...

Hello Neighbor!

Amazing blog! You have a way with words...I must agree with Coachdad when he says, "No wonder you are a blog of note!"

Keep it coming!

Ruth said...

Elaine, wow, you do some fun Web work over there!

Ruth said...

Nathalie! Hello, my friend. Thank you so much.

Ruth said...

Hi, Sam, I don't know that Michelle resembles Jackie a lot, I agree. But the media have to find something to write about. Apparently the fashion industry thinks Michelle will rekindle interest in fashion.

Ruth said...

Hi, Loring! No! I didn't see that. Rats.

Yes, we might as well enjoy this for the moment, for no doubt soon enough we'll be ranting.

Ruth said...

rauf, I have to laugh about the swearing on the Bible thing. So many people are certain he was sworn in on the Quran in Illinois.

You are so right about Palin, I hadn't thought of that! I think her looks backfired actually. Maybe there is a double standard for women in politics. Hmm.

I hope you're feeling better.

Ruth said...

Hi, Condra. Possibly the best way is to read as much English as you can. I hope you have friends in the UK who can help too.

Ruth said...

EGM, :)

Ruth said...

Thank you, lapangbola2119. These are interesting times, so much to think about.

Ruth said...

Wow, Viji, that's remarkable. How many around the world will be watching, I wonder.

Ruth said...

Cottagegirl, that is quite kind of you. These are exciting times, and I'm glad more Americans are paying attention. I hope that will continue, and increase.

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, we just have to keep being open and honest with ourselves. It's hard not to get sucked in by the hope part.

Ruth said...

That's very nice, Be One. Sometimes I have no idea what to say.

Delphine said...

I am so knocked-out by your nost beautiful site blog. I am so new to this ( just over one week now) and am still learning. I was also enthralled to see the quality of your photos- I have hardly any on mine, just a pic of my three dogs and myself as a toddler. I am a widow living in the centre of France .My husband died 8 years ago and my site is about his writings and poems. I have a new man in my life at present so am not lonely anymore. You have been an inspiration. Thankyou for letting me into your life. Happy New year.... Delphine

Ruth said...

Delphine, it takes time. I was lucky to have a sister who already had a blog when I started mine in 2006. She had posted on hers for a year with -0- comments. I learned from her to visit blogs and leave comments, start a conversation. One way is to click on the elements in your profile page, which will display all the other bloggers who have that same word on their profile.

Once you have a few steady visitors, their visitors may also start coming to you. It's about community, and you must become part of other communities in order to start one of your own. Become part of their world, and they will want to become part of yours.

Stick with this unique theme you have of sharing your late husband's work. It's a great idea, and very touching. You will get inspiration from many blogs, the way I have. You would not recognize my blog when I began, it has evolved so much.

I've added you to my following list because I am interested in what you have to say, and how this will progress.

Barry said...

Excellent post Ruth (and isn't being notable fun!).

I especially like "the sweat off his ski-jump nose" line.

You make a power and important point about balancing appearance with fact. Appearance can be deceptive and we can be buried under a mountain of facts, but if we can balance the two maybe we have a chance at something like the truth.

Daisy said...

A thought provoking and visually stunning blog

Peter said...

I have read your message and the almost 90 comments and have not much to add, but what has already been said. I guess that even abroad, seldom, if ever, an American President has been awaited with higher expectations, probably also because the contrast with the departing one, today disregarded by almost of all of us (although you elected him twice, WHY TWICE?). I sincerely hope that at least some of the expectations can be met, not always so easy when it comes to reality. JFK who we all those days regarded as a saint, wasn’t one, but he obviously managed to create a positive change in the society. The image of Obama is today almost 100% perfect (although I understand that he’s smoking, which somehow makes him more human). Hopefully it will remain so (or close to it), but once again, the importance for us all is what he can bring as a positive change to the US and the world.
(The swearing on the bible thing is another matter which confuses me, but that’s another story.)

Helena said...

Your blog has been hanging there in blogs of note for days now so I thought I'd take a look. And this was completely different from what I expected. Beautiful photos and wonderful thoughts! But what is that bondage doing there because I don't see any sign of it in the blog. ;-) Well, maybe I just didn't look closely enough.

Delphine said...

Thanyou Ruth for visiting my corner of France and for leaving valuable comments. I have taken note and will continue with more enthusiasm. I you ever cross the waters drop me a line and visit..........

Blogamator said...

well, not bad

Uppity Diva said...

Hey check out our blog: www.theuppitynegro.blogspot.com. Thanks!

Morna said...

Ah, Ruth - I am so filled with JOY and, yes, HOPE, when I think about our future with Obama.

California Girl said...

I clicked on your blog out of curiosity, having seen it listed on "Blogs of Note". The more I read, the more I like. Your posted photos are beautiful and your writing is as well. I was immediately drawn to the pin as it reminds me of my mother's costume jewelry I've saved so lovingly. Your Christmas wishes matched the beauty of that pin. I agree with a number of your political musings. Ann Coulter, pah!
Meanwhile, tomorrow is a very special day.

Sandy said...

Great post and I hope my cynical nature gets kicked in the butt.. I'm on a wait and see kind of thing. oh well, that's just me.

And I love that you have so many new visitors, you deserve it with your great photos and wonderful writing. Makes me want to jump and down and say, hey I'm her auntie sandy, ha!

I really enjoyed your post.

Jaime said...

I am very impressed with your blog, it truly got my mind going.
Kudos.

@ SmalL G!RL said...

Ive found an interesting blog indeed :)

Ruth said...

Hi, Daisy, thank you. I laughed at your post about the water park and related to your mom perspective.

Ruth said...

Hi, Peter. I'm beginning to think and feel that something is changing just because of Barack Obama, nothing to do with anything he is doing. He just is. He is President (almost, it's 6:46am, he'll be President in about 5 hours). This changes the U.S. (and world) in and of itself. So I'm growing less concerned about expectations. Something has happened in this election, with the ground level participation of citizens, that has created a momentum for US to make this country better, not someone else. The U.S. is US now. That's what I feel today.

Don't ask me what happened the last two elections. I'm totally with you, especially on the second Bush term.

And yes, the Bible. Today there will also be a church service tradition Obama will uphold, before the ceremony. This isn't a theocracy in theory, but people's thinking keeps it there in some practices.

Ruth said...

Helena, well thank you.

I'm happy about what you wrote about bondage. Bondage is mostly what is in my memories, which I write about occasionally. But if you don't see it here, that means I'm free!! (mostly)

Ruth said...

Oh, Delphine, you don't know what you're saying. I would hop over there right now if I could. Well, after the inauguration is over. Thank you sincerely for your offer of hospitality.

Ruth said...

Blogamator, well I guess that's not bad.

Ruth said...

Uppity Diva, your blog is wonderful, much needed. Things are changing, our culture is changing. I love watching it, feeling it.

Ruth said...

Morna, we've been through this together. WE are changing, I feel it. It's partly because of this man, and partly because WE elected this man. We've changed, already.

Ruth said...

California Girl, that felt great reading what you wrote about the blog, thank you so much. It's nice to meet someone of like mind.

It's great to be home enjoying the Day.

Ruth said...

Auntie Sandy! Regardless of anything that he does, or what happens from her, we've changed. Something's changed. This election is bigger than US. But is about US. The world needs this new way of seeing people, people kicking themselves in the butt to get working and actively making our communities better.

Ruth said...

Jaime, you're new to blogging. I hope you will find as much good friendship and discussion as I have found with my blog friends.

Ruth said...

@ SmalL G!RL, oh, I was so happy to see all the LoVe at yours.

Chantoosie Events said...

You are incredible and I am very excited to have found you! I posted a link to your blog from my humble little blog.

Very intelligent post. :)

dancingdan said...

Obamas presidency is bound to be the most visual of all time. The fact that he is America's first black president means that one of his defining features is visual. It almost seems like more attention has been paid to the colour of his skin than the content of his character, Haha! I'm looking foward to seeing how he will handle the world's biggest job!

Karin said...

These photos are just wonderful, Ruth. Thanks for posting them. And thanks for such a beautiful weblog - it has inspired me.

masterymistery said...

congratulations on blogs of note. well deserved. Layout is specially good --- I'm so tired of seeing the standard template with the rectangular box for the main head. Also, the fact that you are using a fluid style template that extends to the user's screen size to take advantage of all the real estate. Well done.

masterymistery at cosmic rapture

Cuidado said...

Hi, Ruth. Congratulations on the Blog of Note designation. I visited your blog once before through Ginnie. We both have Shutterchance blogs and Blogger blogs. What is most amazing is that I found my friend Gwen and John through your links. I was a professional artisan as well and we met doing whole sale shows together. Their first year we had neighbouring booths. We always hung out and went to dinner together after work. I changed careers and don't see them anymore. I will get in touch however, thanks to you.

Cuidado
/Mary MacADNski (Ginnie)
/OtherName (Gwen & John)

William said...

I love this post Ruth. It is very honest and heartfelt and I know I will be looking forward to hear how you felt about the Inauguration if you care to post it of course.

Ruth said...

Chantoosie, wow, that is very nice, I am touched. It's been an inspiring week.

Ruth said...

Dancingdan, it is interesting. For me, the focus on his being the first AA president was a one-day celebration, marking history. I didn't feel the campaign was about that, and I don't think it will be the focus from here on - though of course it will keep being talked about.

Ruth said...

Karin, that touches me, thank you. Best wishes on your new blog and on figuring out all the blog etiquette stuff as I mentioned at yours.

Ruth said...

Masterymistery, that feels great, thank you!

Now yours is something else too! Talk about FRESH.

Ruth said...

Cuidado, well blogworld is small for us then, amazing. I was so glad to see you reconnect with Gwen!

Ruth said...

Dear William, I was moved by your statement launching your blog yesterday. Your experiences are powerful, and your response to it is positive and strong. I have the same sense of hope and pride today. Thank you for sharing your unique view of the world.

Wrensong Farm said...

A most excellent post, Ruth! Barack has such a hard time before him, I, like you, have to rein in my enthusiasm a bit....but it is hard to not have such hope for our new President and what he will be able to accomplish.

Ruth said...

Tammy, I think what's changed is US. And we have been freed to help create something new and better.

InforMarmY.com said...

I like very much this blog.

Paolo

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http://paolomarmiroli.blogspot.com

Ruth said...

Grazie Mille, Paolo.

Andrea said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. I am entranced by Obama. He is a joy to me. Everything you said is true.

Anonymous said...

Read this... http://kennethelamb.blogspot.com/2008/08/update-on-barak-obamas-and-everybody.html

Obama is charming, and he is frightening. What will all the Obama lover's say when he shows his true colors?

Ruth said...

Hi, Andrea, it was such a treat to read your post just now. You have experienced many sides of life, and I could learn a lot from you. Your music students are so lucky to have you.

Yes, President Obama is a joy to many of us, and to many he is a sorrow.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Anonymous. I don't know if you are Kenneth, or if you just agree with his blog.

I would like to see folks pour energy into efforts to help in our communities, rather than into hate and fear - and investigating whether Mr. Obama is a black or an Arab or a pickle. It's time to hold our public servants accountable, yes indeed. And it's time to hold ourselves accountable too. Please feed some positive energy into something to help someone around you, Anonymous. Maybe you already do. I make no assumptions - well, I try not to.

Jen said...

Thank you...for the calm perspective. This is the first of your blog that I've read and I'm grateful, mostly, for a reason to honor and respect George Bush - a reason that matters to someone if not to me personally. That's enough. I bet you make a wonderful cup of coffee. Thanks again.

sour said...

Ruth, I stumbled upon your blog by chance, and boy am I glad. You speak your mind and say what you mean, and it is a pleasure reading what you have to say.
I think I can speak for most of us North of the border, we heaved a great sigh of relief the day Obama won the election. In fact, some friends and I were out in a pub, and the entire place erupted in cheers. We ordered the "blackest" shots in the bar to celebrate. (They turned out to be jagermeister, yuck)
Being Canadian this is a difficult to admit, but American politics affect us almost as much as they affect you. I look at those pictures of the Kennedys with envy. We did have our Trudeau years, boy was he a dreamboat, but these days nobody even comes close to Obama.
I hope he is everything he seems.

Ruth said...

Jen, an honest blogger you are. It's wonderful.

My husband and I have been talking a lot about this the last few days. One side demonizes the other, and by so doing, we demonize ourselves. We just have to stop it.

Ruth said...

I meant about demonizing Geo Bush, or Bar Obama, like that. Not you.

Ruth said...

I know, Sour. It's been quite incredible to watch and listen to the world respond to this election. I think most out there are ecstatic, in other parts of the world.

There are many who are very afraid here. We all need to be healthily wary and watchful. But I don't know that we need to be frightened. But then, we become afraid of what we don't understand.

It was nice making our Canadian friends happy.

Edward Yablonsky said...

When I found Vanity Fair's slideshow of their Presidential portraits over the years (all the photos here are from that gallery), I felt the power of the visual image. Even this cover of Rice and Bush, above, conjured sympathy and even some affection for a man I have found little of either for these long eight years. It's a brilliant stroke, actually, that we will always have Liebovitz' portrait of Bush for the Africa issue, since his contribution to raising funds and awareness for the AIDS epidemic in Africa is a true legacy. How many lives have been, and will be saved and improved because of him? That is a strange question, and my insides do somersaults around it and the conflicting answers. But I can't deny this, and if I were one of the saved ones, I might gently hand him my shoes, gratefully

Your words captioned above capture the power of visual images. A picture is worth a thousand words,yet some say appearances are deceptive. Pictures tell more than words could ever tell.I liked your comments on the images of Bush and
President Obama and the Kennedys. Funny you should mention Camelot and smiles.
It's the symbol of the Arthurian world of goodness, of Romance transplanted on American soil
(see the article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camelot). Kennedy embodied it in a pciture with Jacquelyn.In 1868 Illustrated Camelot from "the Idylls of the King". Camelot represents nowhere and the "everywhere of possibility" and embodied by JFK.

Ruth said...

Edward, thank you for your thoughtful comment, and also your post about Camelot.

It is hard to figure the things that invade our psyche as a people, that affect us, our emotions, our responses, our hopes. When I try to assess what Obama captured for some of us, it's hard to pin it down. Some of it is impossible to express. But I like that phrase "everywhere of possibility."

Edward Yablonsky said...

All things are possible but not probable. I would like to think of that as a positive vieqw and that as Dr Pangloss said in Voltaire."This is the best of all possible worlds." As I grow older however, I see the blights they are so glaring and obvious. I just cannot close my eyes to that. I used to watch the Christophers when younger and well remember the saying,"It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."

Ruth said...

Edward, let's keep lighting.