Thursday, May 4, 2017

Brutalism We Can Believe In

Barack and Michelle Obama parachuted down to Chicago this week to unveil plans for their "family-friendly" $500 million architectural marvel.

This is their idea of family friendliness:

The Obama Center

Gee. Where have we seen this warm, comfy style of architecture before? Oh, now I remember. It's ye olde Aztec temple where all the families used to gather to watch their relatives get sacrificed in order to appease some chronically peevish deities who bore a striking resemblance to our own pantheon of Forbes 400 billionaires.

The Aztec Center

It's not as though people haven't been warned. As the blurb for The Obama Center so seductively purrs: "Greater Designers Design With Mankind in Mind."

And Obama has made it abundantly clear that he wants nothing more than To Serve Man for the rest of his life. His library will be so much more than "an ego trip," he gushed. By boasting that it will even include facilities for "family barbecues", he was giving us very fair warning indeed. Why else construct his monolithic edifice with such monstrously awe-inspiring blocks of stone reminiscent of barbaric regimes past? I suppose that once you've enjoyed the power to order thousands of extrajudicial drone killings, it must be very hard to kick the cruelty habit.

"Through participatory and immersive experiences, the Center will tell Barack and Michelle Obama's story," the Obama Center website ominously intones, "while lifting the hood on the mechanics of change and inspiring visitors to spark their own."

I am starting to not like this. I am starting to get scared. There are already too many allusions to drowning and burning in this enterprise for my particular taste. What are we anyway -- hamburgers and weenies to be poked and prodded for doneness when the barbeque hood is lifted? Or are we nothing but failing engines in dire need of the Barack and Michelle lube job special?

Generously forgoing their usual $600,000 joint appearance fee in order to display their "renderings," the Obamas appeared relaxed after a three month series of tropical vacations. According to the New York Times,
 Speaking to several hundred people on the city’s South Side, Mr. Obama, who was tieless and in a jovial mood, said that the center could be “a transformational project for this community.”
“The main thing that Michelle and I contributed was just saying, ‘What is it that we want to see 10 years from now?’” he said, recounting his conversations with the architects who designed the center. “And we don’t want to see some big building that’s dead, and kids are getting dragged to it for a field trip. What we wanted was something that was alive, and that was a hub for the community and for the city and for the country.”
Mr. Obama said he wanted his library to include a children’s play area that would attract families from the neighborhood, and a community garden for schoolchildren. He said he wanted food trucks and some grills so people can barbecue, prompting chuckles from the crowd.
“Why are you laughing?” he asked. “We don’t have any folks who grill here? I thought this was the South Side of Chicago!
The Aztec kings also attracted families to their temples with food and games and music and bling in order to make the sacrificial experience and the repayment of onerous debt to rent-seeking deities a fun time for everybody. The chuckling wealthy donors in Obama's crowd were simply ignoring history as much as Donald Trump (who already has too many numerous shrines to even mention) when they so snobbishly snicker over the basic needs of the masses. Even Obama himself was being deliberately disingenuous, what with pretending that the oligarchs in his audience don't have "people" to do all their cooking for them. 
 Because Mrs. Obama lamented that Jackson Park did not have hills when she was a child growing up in the nearby South Shore neighborhood, Mr. Obama said the presidential center would be outfitted with a sledding hill.
Not that the Obama family will ever have to use a measly old sledding hill, given their annual luxury vacations to Aspen, courtesy of the war-profiteering and drone-manufacturing Crown family, the early financiers of his political career.
 Mr. Obama said he envisioned “a studio where I can invite Spike Lee and Steven Spielberg to do workshops on how to make films,” and “a recording studio where I could invite Chance or Bruce Springsteen, depending on your tastes, to talk about how you could record music that has social commentary and meaning.”
Oh, now I get it. It won't just be a temple, it will also be a Prince-style recording studio and oligarchic party venue all wrapped up into one big monolith. All Barry will have to do is snap his fingers and the mega-celebrities of the world will appear like magic to do his bidding. And every once in awhile, the sledding and barbecuing hoi polloi might even get invited in to gawk and be inspired, and forget that they haven't gotten a real raise in decades and that they will owe hundreds of thousands in student debt until the day they prematurely die. It's no accident that the chairman of the Obama Foundation is Martin Nesbitt, Barry's best friend.  Nesbitt is the founder of the private equity group that purchased the crooked for-profit University of Phoenix, which has profited so mightily off unpayable student debt. Some of the same Wall Street characters who comprised Obama's cabinet have now spun through the revolving doors to feed at the trough of Obama's money-laundering post presidential career.

But forget about your cares and woes and Obama's historical corruption. There's always plenty of mush to consume from his New York Times-assisted public relations campaign:
“What we want this to be is the world’s premier institution for training young people in leadership to make a difference in their countries, in their communities and in the world,” he said.
Not just any institution, but the best, most premier institution on the entire planet. Stop by for a quick training session and be ready to go back to any third world country or neighborhood with some really premier neoliberal propaganda to appease the millions of people worried about where their next meal is coming from.

It's eerie that Obama's mantra of "giving back to the community" is the same dogma employed in the sacrificial rites of the Aztecs. In one ritual, the designated victim was made to intone, right before his or her heart was cut out: "I embrace mankind. I give myself back to the community." 

 So I don't understand why Obama tiptoes around the reality that we actually are the next meal for the global billionaire class of ravenous and malevolent gods. 


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Zee said...

This is not a Presidential Library. It is clearly a temple of worship dedicated to a past-president (or demi-god?) who has seen himself as “The One” since the very early days of his presidential aspirations. And who continues to see himself as some sort of demi-god even today,

I have visited and ascended any number of Mayan ruins in Belize and Mexico that closely resemble the Obama Library in toto. And in every temple tour, yes, human sacrifice atop these temples was discussed. But who has been/will be sacrificed on Obama’s temple?

Obama has cast himself as some sort of merciful god, but his “mercy” seems to have been reserved largely for the sinful pantheon of lesser Wall Street and banker gods, none of whom were punished beyond inconsequential fines for the great 2008 financial collapse. Not a single one of them did so much as a brief "perp walk." Meanwhile, the hoi polloi were left to endure the very real punishments of foreclosure, eviction, bankruptcy, joblessness and the like, without anyrelief from God Obama.

And ever since, Obama has been the patron god of the wealthy and the powerful, leaving the poor and the powerless to St. Francis of Assisi.

And now, his “temple” only affirms his belief in his own deity.

Zounds! Don’t any of the Obama-bots—or Hillary-bots, for that matter—see the pathetic little mortal behind the green curtain?

Jay–Ottawa said...


I knew Karen was kidding as soon as I saw that rendering of an Aztec temple. So I went to the source to see what was really planned. See for yourself here, Step 1.


The above link's video won't take but a minute or so. After all, it's only a new website out of the shell for the proposed center. Nevertheless, as your reward for checking in, you will see lots and lots more pictures of BO working crowds than you will see of architects' drawings. The last thing you'll hear in that short video is President Dulcet intoning "Hitch your wagon to something bigger than yourself."

Step 2: So, to really get a feel for what's going up––or going down––I suggest you next click to the following site, very high in Google's choices for seeing more pictures of the Barack Obama Cult of Personality Presidential Center.

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

Once there, scroll past the picture-sentence-picture-sentence part and you'll arrive at the comments section. THE COMMENTS SECTION ! Consider the comments section your destination on that website, your highlight of the day. Just a lot of commoners from in and around Chicago town and beyond expressing their views. Commoners are sooooo smart. I will say nothing more except:


Elizabeth -- Marysville said...

That was one of the best TZ episodes. "IT'S A COOKBOOK!!!!"

voice-in-wilderness said...

How will this thing get funded? With Obama out of office, why will the people with serious money give to this? And Obama, notoriously, does not like to do fund raising.

Karen Garcia said...


The bulk of the funding for the Obama library will likely come from a very small group of philanthrocapitalists. For example, one of the very first things Obama did after leaving office was to fly out to Omaha to meet privately with Warren Buffett. Then there was the long vacation with billionaires, including Sir Richard Branson. Buffett made a name for himself as one of the "good rich" by ostentatiously pledging to give his entire fortune to charity. This meant parking his billions with fellow philanthrocapitalist Bill Gates's charity. Half a billion to the Obamas would be just an image-burnishing drop pittance for these people. Obama's own My Brother's Keeper "charity" involves giving money to corporations interested in helping minority men for tax-deduction and public relations purposes. In other words, the Obama Foundation is just one small part of the huge global money-laundering and influence-peddling racket. You'll notice that none of this money ever finds its way directly into the pockets of poor people. It finds its way into the pockets of rich people so that they can pretend to care about poor people.

Meanwhile, the Obama.Org site is making a show of soliciting donations from the Little People as well, so we can feel they're a part of some grand altruistic project.

Zee said...


My favorite comment from the "Zerohedgefund" article?

'Putting "hundreds of thousands of visitors" and "south side" in the same sentence is hilarious.'

My one encounter with "The South Side of Chicago," admittedly some decades ago, still stands my hair on end, even though it is also a source of great humor in distant, "survivor" retrospect.

I won't tell the whole story, but just picture an AMC Pacer with California license plates and two "ten-speeds" mounted on the back, wandering through Chicago's South Side at 12:00 midnight on a hot, June night, looking for directions to a friend's condo in the high(er)-rent district. Can you spell "V-I-C-T-I-M?"

"Hundreds of thousands of visitors?" In a single phrase, the naiveté of the Obama administration is captured in its entirety,