Where were you when Obama was sworn in? That will be the question asked for the next 50 years. My kid will ask me. My grandkid will ask me. (I so badly want to post the Saturday Night Live sketch with Tim Kazurinsky and Jim Belushi talking about where they were when Kennedy was shot – brilliant, but impossible to find).
My answer: I saw the first Black man to become President of the United States of America on a mismatched audio/visual feed streaming in from Fox News Online.
In the lobby of an ad agency, under whose employment I will no longer be after next week.
On a flat screen that was hooked up to the streaming connection, because said AD AGENCY DOESN’T GET CABLE!
Don’t get me wrong. I love these people and we will part ways in fine company. That said, is this not just fucking caked with irony?
An ad agency. That makes ads. Ads that go on TV. And while they have big, beautiful TV screens in the lobby and boardroom, you can’t actually watch TV on them.
So it’s just me and a bunch of my soon to be former co-workers, (and not and African American in sight, which by the way, felt very wrong in the moment), sucked of all energy and excitement, trying to feel something, anything, from the fragmented speech and halting video.
Oh, and as fascinating as it was that so many people turned to the Internet to bear witness to this historic moment, jamming up all the lines to something altogether unwatchable, the feed happened to come from friggin’ Fox dot com so I had to stare at that goddamed symbol of greed in the bottom right corner throughout, and imagine all the hate they were gonna spew later in their post-inaugaration analysis.
So with Yo Yo Ma crushing it out on the cello, and a simultaneous audio feed of Obama telling the bad guys that "we will extend our hand, if you’ll unclench yours,*" I had no idea if I was truly witnessing history, something I would remember forever and retell generations to come, or had it already happened?
*Credit due to my former Creative Director for first quoting that quote.