Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Obama Bubble

Self-described Obama girl Margery Eagan over at the Boston Herald--a conservative paper--is worried:

"When Backing Obama Feels Like Joining a Cult"

Her compendium of distant early warning signals is both alarming and funny--in a sort of dark future, we're all doomed anyway kind of way. I especially like the eminent political scientist Susan Sarandan's take: she loves Obama and cant wait to find out what he stands for!

Reminds me of an anecdote in Charles Mackay's classic Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. In it he tells of the credulity that overtook ordinary people during the stock market frenzy in London surrounding the South Sea Bubble ( circa 1717), with this instance as the nadir:

"But the most absurd and preposterous [stock offering] of all, and which showed, more completely than any other, the utter madness of the people, was one started by an unknown adventurer, entitled, "A company for the carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is".

The purport of Mackays' book, with its perfectly descriptive title, is to show the almost unbelievable things people believe in when swept up in irrational, emotionally charged moments.

Moments like now.

The only difference I can see is that Barack Obama is not a totally unknown adventurer.


David C. Innes said...

Loves Obama and can't wait to learn what he stands for? That reminds me of a New Yorker cartoon twenty years ago when Allan Bloom's Closing of the American Mind was selling wildly to more people than were reading it. Someone leans over to someone standing beside a display of the book and says with hearty recommendation, "I haven't read it, but it's a great book!"

Anonymous said...

I had never even heard of this guy until the Iowa primaries. To me, he is a totally unknown entity. Wolf in sheep's clothing? What's behind all the rhetoric and campaign speeches? Who knows?

In these trying times for our country, we need a proven leader.

Btw, I like the anecdote by Mackay. I'll have to read that book.