What Maraniss Obviously Missed
By Jack Cashill June 19, 2012
I read the lead in the review of David Maraniss’s much discussed new book, Barack Obama, the Story, by Ben Smith of Buzzfeed of with at least one eyebrow arched.
“David Maraniss’s new biography of Barack Obama is the first sustained challenge to Obama’s control over his own story,” writes Smith, “a firm and occasionally brutal debunking of Obama’s bestselling 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father.”
Although those of us in the blogosphere lack Maraniss’s resources and access to friendly witnesses, we have been debunking Obama’s Dreams for the last four years. As I note in the introduction of my 2011 book, Deconstructing Obama, “In unlocking [Obama’s] past, I have discovered that the story that Obama has been telling all his life varies from the true story in ways big and small.”
Maraniss documents those variations better than I ever could have. “I counted 38 instances in which the biographer convincingly disputes significant elements of Obama’s own story of his life and his family history,” writes Smith. According to Maraniss, and this comes as a revelation to Smith, Obama falsified his bio largely to portray himself as “blacker and more disaffected” than he really was.
What is missing from the Maraniss book, however, is any real understanding of how Obama came to do this. A little background is in order here. It just so happened that Barack Obama was not the only black icon in his neighborhood to write a best-selling memoir. Boxing great Muhammad Ali produced one long before Obama, and he too with more than a little assistance. In Ali’s case, that assistance has been well documented by black scholar Gerald Early.
According to Early, the Nation of Islam oversaw the entire production of The Greatest: My Own Story. The NOI newspaper’s Marxist editor, Richard Durham, taped any number of conversations with the nearly illiterate Ali or between Ali and others and then gave them to an “editor” for writing. That editor was a young Toni Morrison. Ali’s is surely the only boxing autobiography ghosted by a future Nobel Prize winner. NOI honcho Elijah Muhammad’s son Herbert reviewed every page. As you might expect, Ali’s Muslim helpmates rendered his story poorer, tougher, and blacker than the truth would bear. I relate this tale of literary gamesmanship in my own book, Sucker Punch.
As I came to believe early on, whoever guided Obama steered him towards a grievance narrative like Ali’s, if not quite as obvious or extravagant. Even on my first reading in July 2008, I could see that Obama’s muse proved particularly eloquent on the subject of the angry black male.
Phrases like “full of inarticulate resentments,” “knotted, howling assertion of self,” “unruly maleness,” “unadorned insistence on respect” and “withdrawal into a smaller and smaller coil of rage” lace the book. Yet in the several spontaneous interviews Obama had given on the subject of race, I had not seen a glimpse of this eloquence or of this anger.
The evidence eventually led me towards an odd conclusion: The man who lent Obama his voice on the subject of blackness gave all appearances of being white. The more I researched Bill Ayers’ background, the less unlikely this seemed. Skin color aside, Ayers and Obama had much in common. Both grew up in comfortable white households, attended idyllic, largely white prep schools, and have struggled to find an identity as righteous black men ever since.
“I also thought I was black,” writes Ayers only half-jokingly in his 2001 memoir, Fugitive Days. He read all the authors Obama did — James Baldwin, Leroi Jones, Richard Wright, Malcolm X. As proof of his righteousness, Ayers named his first son “Malik” after the newly Islamic Malcolm X and the second son “Zayd” after Zayd Shakur, a Black Panther killed in a shootout that claimed the life of a New Jersey State Trooper. Just as Obama resisted “the pure and heady breeze of privilege” to which he was exposed as a child, Ayers too resisted “white skin privilege” or at least tried to.
Tellingly, Ayers, like Obama, began his career as a self-described “community organizer,” Ayers in inner-city Cleveland, Obama in inner-city Chicago. In Chicago, Ayers also found a strategic ally in Jeremiah Wright, a man he called a “distinguished theologian and major intellectual,” meaning that Wright too spelled “Amerikkka” with three Ks. In short, Ayers was fully capable of crawling inside Obama’s head and relating in superior prose what Obama calls, only half-ironically, a “rage at the white world [that] needed no object.”
In Fugitive Days, “rage” rules. Ayers tells of how his “rage got started” and how it evolved into an “uncontrollable rage — fierce frenzy of fire and lava.” In fact, both Ayers and Obama speak of “rage” the way that Eskimos do of snow — in so many varieties, so often, that they feel the need to qualify it, as Obama does when he speaks of “impressive rage,” “suppressed rage” or “coil of rage.”
This rage leads Ayers to a sentiment with which Obama was altogether familiar. Ayers writes, “I felt the warrior rising up inside of me — audacity and courage, righteousness, of course, and more audacity.” Ayers had likely pulled the concept of “audacity” from the same source Jeremiah Wright did, Martin Luther King. Something apparently got lost in translation.
Ayers may have outgrown his affection for violence by the time he and Obama hooked up, but his attraction to radical politics smoldered on. Like so many on the hard left, he supported those politics with whatever historical invention he could get away with. “If there is no God,” said Jean Paul Sartre in his famous paraphrase of Dostoevsky’s Ivan Karamazov, “everything is permitted.” Ayers admits as much. “The old gods failed and the old truths left the world.” Ayers observes. “Clear conclusions were mainly delusional, a luxury of religious fanatics and fools.”
The respective memoirs of Ayers and Obama follow the kind of rules one would expect from someone indifferent to truth. Ayers describes his as “a memory book,” one that deliberately blurs facts and changes identities and makes no claims at history. Obama says much the same. In Dreams, some characters are composites. Names have been changed. Events occur out of precise chronology
Like Maraniss, Obama-friendly biographer David Remnick
cuts Obama a lot of his slack for his many twists of the truth. What makes Dreams “exceptional,” he observes, is “not that Obama allows himself these freedoms, but, rather, that he cops to them right away.” Not that exceptional. Ayers copped to these freedoms right away too. He asks of his own memoir, “Is this then the truth?” He answers, “Not exactly. Although it feels entirely honest to me.”
Maraniss’s book promises to be the first of two volumes. For all of his good work to date, until he can bring himself to address the obvious question of authorship, he will be casting only the dimmest light on history’s greatest presidential mystery.
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I am also in a “rage.” I am in “rage mode” right now. I am upset, and I need a hug. How dare the United States not be perfect. I dream of my father being perfect. My daddy was a perfect person. I have an audacity of hope for the future–we will overcome. I want a perfect world, within a perfect future, for a perfect human race. We will all be: tolerant, empathetic, caring, expressing random acts of kindness, compassionate, understanding, inclusive, AND FILLED WITH RRRAAAGGGEEE. We will rage against the machine. We will rage against Amerikkka. We will rage against the Republicans. We will rage against capitalism. We will rage against reality. We will rage against growing up. We will rage against wealth. We will rage against white culture–except the Europeans. We will rage against logic. We will rage against rational thought. We will rage against reason. We will rage against rage as we rage a raging rage of rage. Rage is compassion–compassion is rage. Rage is good. Rage is the future for your children Amerikkka. You will suffer. Your children will Rage against the world like Billy and Obummer. RRRRRAAAAGGGGEEEE. Like, rage, man.
You may be onto something! I think its’ called Oedipal Rage which is essentially father hatred or patriphobia. That hatred gets extended to all things male/masculine: (patria)tism; god (atheism); the military and police (too authoritarian); corporatism/capitalism (too competitive). At least that’s my laymen’s opinion. Too bad we can’t sic the professional mental health twits on this but they’re all Lefties!
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/what_maraniss_obviously_missed_comments.html#disqus_thread#ixzz1yJSo5OWl
From what I’ve seen so far, the book seems to be a preemptive strike against the real and whole truth coming out. Essentially, the premise is that the Boy King is quite the ordinary guy, whose main sin is exageration in an effort to better relate to his ethnicity.
But the facts are that his avowed father was a card-carrying communist muslim, his mother was raised as a communist athiest who hated America, the movements of his family and obama himself are mysterious from the 50’s through the 90’s, he was mentored by a communist pedophile, his spiritual advisor for 20 years was a marxist race baiter; obama himself has lied and obscured his past, has never held a real job or has any accomplishments other than the ability to get elected as a conniving half white con man who can act white or black when convenient, and has spent his life learning how to create political divisiveness.
So I’d say Maraniss has done him a BIG favor by suggesting obama is a actually a mild-mannered, relatively normal guy who likes to pretend to be black.
Poor aggrieved Obama. Brought up in a white family, he had no blackness training. Just as Bill Ayes, brought up in a wealthy family, had no poorness (or blackness!) training. Fortunately, both were able to correct this deficiency at American universities with remedial PhD programs in Black Studies, Poor Studies, and how to be a lifelong victim. Obama’s books would have been properly titled as “Delusions From My Father” and “The Audacity of Mental Illness.” With these psychopaths, identity and reality seem to be as fluid as their definition of “is.”
Jack Cashill will sadly never it seems receive the attention credit and accolades he richly deserves…
I’m sorry, Flying Tiger, but your fear is misplaced. Cashill is receiving preliminary richly deserved credit right here at American Thinker and in other patriotic circles, and will undoubtedly receive much, much more in due time.
Are the former main stream media doing their worst to hide the truth? Of course—but I didn’t just call them the “former main stream media” just to exercise my sourcastic inclinations. They don’t still “own the narrative,” as I’ve been hearing lately, when it comes to news, and won’t ever own it again. Real news is on the internet and AM radio, and history, which will pass final judgement, is already being researched and written by people of integrity.
I believe the truth about the current occupant of the White House will inevitably come out in dribs and dabs over a period of years: the sheer number of lies makes it almost impossible for any one person or group to ferret them all out; further, the odds have to be high we’ve seen only the tip of the fraud iceberg thus far; further, political lies tend to be told and retold by many liars and woven together, so the unraveling process will prove complex and time-consuming.
Keep your chins up where they belong, people of truth.
Yes, that’s right. He was too busy smoking dope and what ever else to be “angry”. That was all made up by Bill Ayers. Now, though, president O is going to get angry because people are beginning to question him. We’re not supposed to question the Messiah. He WILL be mad and start having temper tantrums….just wait.
…Ayers also found a strategic ally in Jeremiah Wright, a man he called a “distinguished theologian and major intellectual”…
Look into a Marxist’s mind, and you’ll soon make two discoveries: a cracked and leaking intellectual septic tank, and towering, shining, lavishly wrought delusions of intellectual grandeur. Marxists seem to operate on the assumption if they claim intellectual superiority long enough and loudly enough, everyone who might uphold genuine standards will be too astounded—too bewildered!—even to think of discussing the topic.
You nailed it shut S+W: “For all of his good work to date, until he can bring himself to address the obvious question of authorship, he will be casting only the dimmest light on history’s greatest presidential mystery.” – Jack Cashill
Jack, what you say is so very true but, Maraniss and liberals will be afraid to trespass on the composite character called Barack Obama, or once they open Pandora’s Box, they will have to follow it through to the source material. What we can hope for, perhaps, is that it is acknowledged that “Dreams” is not an autobiography but, a book of fiction.
The truth is that Barack Obama was raised the same as a privileged White child. In fact, Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s childhoods are nearly identical Both attended ritzy private prep schools and Ivy league Universities. That’s something that most Americans (no matter what race) know isn’t possible for them. The main difference between the two, is not race, but religion. Romney is a faithful Mormon who doesn’t drink, smoke (anything) and tries to maintain his body as the gift it is from God. Obama, on the other hand, freely admits to drinking too much; smoking cigarettes, weed, and crack. He also attended a “Church” for twenty years that continually complains about the “injustices” done to the Black man by the White man, none of which Barack Obama ever suffered from. Have you seen the group picture of the “Chom Gang” while Barack was attending his ritzy prep school? The Chom Gang was a pot smoking group. Obama is the only Black looking guy in it. So much for the “hardship” of being Black in America for Obama.
Obama borrowed his urban ‘blackness”. He does not come by it honestly.
I found this very insightful, expecially the passage relating how the dimissal of the existence of God means there are no truths (to those who believe that). I had always thought that Marxists dismissed religion out of practical considerations. It takes a little research and imagination to realize how they actually think and how it enables them in all the ways a conscience and morality inhibits the upright man.
I could never understand how the liberals, progressives, communists, whatever, can lie, lie, lie as they do. Many lie constantly as far as I can tell. Now it makes more sense to me, to them it really makes no difference. Lying is not better or worse than telling the truth to them. They are pathological. In Rev. Wright’s recent interview he revealed that Obama told Wright “You know what your problem is. You have to tell the truth.” That is confirmation and quite revealing about this lying proclivity.
I believe it’s a sign of character that decent folks don’t take to that understanding instantly. We’ve been raised better than that and it’s not a natural inclination for us to understand that kind of thinking. I hope there are a good majority of us that wear that badge of distinction, we’ll need them in November.
It is interesting isn’t it. Every time a blatant lie is told, I am dumb struck. It appears as if they have no concept of truth. I am going to start visualizing them as a snake with a flicking tongue each and every time any of them speak. Garden of Eden style.
Yes. They lie. Like you, I react with the same fury everytime they lie. I often think; why would they lie, when the truth is easily ferreted out? I have discovered, they lie when the truth would serve then better.
Consider this.. they also lie to each other. They revel in their so called “intelligence”. They use flowery, tiresome prose as they lie to each other, thinking the fancy words add flavor to the lies they dish out. Their fellow liars nod feverishly to the lies they are being told, not wanting to admit they do not know if the facts are true or not and are far too lazy to search for the truth.
Meanwhile, a hayseed plow boy can see a lie a country mile away.
We became complacent. Those of us who grew up before or during the cold war never thought we’d have to worry about collectivists in America. McCarthy was shamed and maligned and anyone who brought up the commies in America was accused of McCarthyism. They grew in numbers with little or no attention being brought to them and in 2008, they took the farm. Now we have a long tough war against them. We let them take control from the inside so they have a claim to legitimacy. They dumbed down the electorate, belittled conservatism, patriotism, and traditional values so they have millions of immoral reprobates as their “useful idiots”. Our work is really cut out for us this time, this will be the biggest struggle since WWII because the battle is here at home, we don’t have the luxury of fighting a foreign enemy.