Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The Economics of Rhetorical Rituals
Eric Boehlert at media matters demonstrates the statistical distortion fueling the controversy over the economic costs of Obama's inaugural. But, the cost figure controversy may be participating in a media logic my comrade Jayson Harsin calls a rumor bomb, as such, the ability of the critical-rational work of media matters may come too late. It is noteworthy, however, to comment on the less controversial figure of 45 million dollars of private funds being raised by Obama's inaugural committee. The "private" financing of rhetorical rituals deserves attention because such financing and lack of controversy reveals how public address partakes in a political economy all too easily relegated to arcane Federal Election Commission regulations, Supreme Court decisions and pay-to-play scandals. Money/speech takes as its primary concern the political economy of rhetoric and the rhetoric of political economy to address the conflict of values embedded in U.S. public culture. It is from such a vantage point that Money/Speech will begin to assess the truth of those values called forth by President Obama as the foundation for our new era of responsibility: "hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism." I am likely to add a few values to the list.