Sunday, November 2, 2008

Consuming Obama: Guest Post by Jan Davidson

Readers of SemiO may remember the photo of Obama, California sent to us by Jan Davidson, a resident of Olema, CA. Today, Davidson makes her debut on SemiObama with a post-Halloween piece that is less about a McCain trick and more about an Obama treat.

Recently, a friend presented me with this piece of chocolate with Obama's image on it. It sat on her dashboard a little too long, and she was very apologetic that the image had become cracked and wrinkled.

I love the idea of Consuming Obama as Obama and the election are certainly consuming me. Consuming also reminds me of the term "grok" from Stranger in A Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein, (a book which I admit I haven't read since high school). And after reading the plot summary on Wikipedia, let me say right here that I'm making no analogies between that story and Obama. That's a wormhole I intend to avoid at all costs!

However, the definitions of "grok" are interesting.) The Oxford English Dictionary defines "grok" as "to understand intuitively or by empathy; to establish rapport with...and to empathize or communicate sympathetically (with); also, to experience enjoyment." In the past eight years, I've found little, if any, reason for empathy, sympathy or enjoyment around the activities of the Bush Administration.

Wikipedia defines "grok" as " share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity," and goes on to say that "In an ideological context, a grokked concept becomes part of the person who contributes to its evolution by improving the doctrine, perpetuating the myth, espousing the belief, adding detail to the social plan, refining the idea or proving the theory." This seems particulalry apt in the light that Obama's message of change is not only all-inclusive but implicitly and explicitly asks us to participate to ensure that change happens. That participation may take the form of donations of time and money now, but I wouldn't be surprised if the internet connections continue after election day.

Finally, I like the fact that the image on this particular chocolate makes Obama look old. It's easy to be worried about Obama's safety. Comparisons with Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King fuel these fears, not to mention the recent activities of some self-avowed white supremacists. When these anxieties arise, I counteract them by picturing Obama as an old man, his 8-year term as President just the beginning of a long and brilliant career as a highly respected and influential world leader.

By the way, I haven't consumed my Obama chocolate yet. I'm waiting for the morning of Novermber 5th.

Obama chocolates are made by Cosmic Chocolates in Oakland, CA. You can see the unmelted version on their website:

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