I have been listening often to “Impossible” by Shout Out Louds over the past few weeks. Emotionally, it touches similar territory as David Gray’s “Shine,” though on a different level. Anyhow, the point is that right around the four-minute mark of “Impossible,” the song seems to be winding down, but then it returns when you least expected it—just when you thought it was over, it isn’t. I could get into the way that the formal break here in the song echoes its content and question whether you can actually separate form from content, etc., etc., but I’ll leave it at that.
In this weekend’s New York Times, one of my favorite writers, Lorrie Moore, dismisses Hillary Clinton’s appeal as a woman in the 2008 election cycle, asking: “Does her being a woman make her a special case? Does gender confer meaning on her candidacy? In my opinion, it is a little late in the day to become sentimental about a woman running for president.”
Boys are faring worse [than girls] — and the time for symbols and leaders they can connect with beneficially should be now and should be theirs. Hillary Clinton’s gender does not rescue society from that — instead she serves as a kind of nostalgia for a time when it might have. Only her policies are what matter now, and here — despite some squabbling and bad advice that has caused her to “go negative” — the Democrats largely agree. But inspiration is essential for living, and Mr. Obama holds the greater fascination for our children.
Mr. Obama came of age as a black man in America. He does not need (as he has done) to invoke his grandfather’s life in colonial Kenya to prove or authenticate his understanding of race. His sturdiness is equal to Mrs. Clinton’s, his plans as precise and humane. But unlike her, he is original and of the moment. He embodies, at the deepest levels, the bringing together of separate worlds. The sexes have always lived together, but the races have not. His candidacy is minted profoundly in that expropriated word “change.”