UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

June 30, 2009

BILL AYERS' DREAMS OF OBAMA'S FATHER CONT'D

We have previously reported on the fascinating job that Jack Cashill has done analyzing the similarities between Bill Ayers' work and Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father. Cashill, writing for the American Thinker, invited others (quoting them with pseudonyms) to contribute their analyses which he discusses in the current issue. Sample:

What Mr. Midwest noticed recently is that both Ayers in Parent and Obama in Dreams make reference to the poet Carl Sandburg. In itself, this is not a grand revelation. Let us call it a C-level match. Obama and Ayers seem to have shared the same library in any case. Both talk of reading the books of Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Dubois and Frantz Fanon among others. In fact, each misspells "Frantz" as "Franz."

Ayers and Obama, however, go beyond citing Sandburg. Each quotes the opening line of his poem "Chicago." From Dreams:

He poured himself more hot water. "What do you know about Chicago anyway?"

I thought a moment. "Hog butcher to the world," I said finally.
From [Ayers'] Parent:

"At the turn of the century, Chicago had a population of a million people and was a young and muscular city - hub of commerce and industry, the first skyscraper city, home of the famous world exposition, "hog butcher to the world" - bursting with energy." This I would call a B-level match. What raises it up a notch to an A-level match is the fact that both misquote "Chicago," and they do so in exactly the same way. The poem actually opens, "Hog butcher for the world."

Concludes Cashill: "Mr. West independently came to the same conclusion that I did, namely that Ayers was not meaningfully involved in Audacity. These two Obama books almost assuredly had different primary authors. What should be transparent to any literary critic is that the author of Audacity lacked the style and skill of the author of Dreams. There are a few pockets in Audacity that evoke the spirit of Dreams but without the same grace."

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