Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"A More Perfect Union;" Obama as Archetypal Trickster


You will only "get this" if you think, like I do at times, in esoterically subversive paradigms. I see a deeply subversive role in Barack Obama, almost a sacred role, as nationalist trickster-- that is, in the African American incarnation of the tribal trickster role, but in white shirt and tie, speaking a perfect American dialect of English with eloquence and erudition at a level only an archetypal visitation from the heavenlies could accomplish in messianic splendor.

I'm thinking of a specific myth narrative as old as Africa itself, one that was transported to America in slave ships. In my American political narrative, I see Obama as the totemic medicine monkey whose role it is to restore humanity to its greatest spiritual ideals; I see the sell-out Democratic Party gone blandly aristocratic as the ferocious lion, much like the blathering lion in the Wizard of Oz who lacked courage; and I see the grand old Republican Party in the role of all powerful corporatist Elephant.

This is the ancient tribal story retold on American soil by an African-American
trickster, the most famous of whom was "Dolemite," the comedian Rudy Ray Moore. Translation of this tragic/comedic tribal narrative into modern political relevance requires the bending of the archetypal imagination. It emerges resurgent from its archetypal depths, evoked by widespread fears of a Democratic Party betrayal. It reveals itself persistently, grudging, within the multi-layered fabric of the American racial power struggle, a struggle that presents with an insistent sense of developing irony, one that threatens to engulf and transform the political role of candidate Barack Obama into that of tribal trickster and dress him in the culturally presentable disguise of the sparkling clean, charismatically yuppiefied, high achieving Middle Class American incarnation of:
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