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October 17, 2008

Why Obama, by Alan Cohen (The Alan Cohen Experience)

Why Obama is a series of guest essays by musicians and authors, where they share their support for Democratic United States presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama and offer arguments why he needs to be elected president of the United States.

Alan Cohen records music as the The Alan Cohen Experience. The band's self-titled EP will be released on October 28th.

In his own words, here is Alan Cohen's Why Obama essay :

A pop culture phenomenon is a uniquely democratic event. There is a simple formula for creating one:

1) Create something awesome.
2) Share it with people.

That's it – if enough people see it, like it, and talk about it, then POOF! – you have yourself a pop culture moment. Any publicist or marketer will tell you that the #1 most valuable tool of promotion is that elusive “word of mouth”. This is why every person on earth knows about the Obama girl. It is something that cannot be created by even the best advertising campaign. Pop culture moments are true representations of the democratic process in terms of a person or idea being widely accepted and embraced by the masses.

There is a reason that movie stars and famous musicians (and other such manifestations of pop culture) make headlines when they jump into politics. The knee jerk reaction usually goes something like, “why on earth do I care what [insert celebrity] has to say? How are they qualified?” Truth be told, some are not (witness Matt Damon's embarrassing anti-Palin rant). However, there is something to be said about the things that pop culture embraces. In the old argument of who mimics whom, I am a firm believer that pop culture is always a reflection on what is currently being embraced by society.

Here are some links currently featured on the Drudge Report:

“Springsteen rocks Obama rally in Philly; Bush Bash...”
“Hollywood goes political as election nears...”

As for Obama's pop culture appeal, he was not a celebrity before his political career. He is a politician first and foremost, and what is truly unique about him is how pop culture has embraced Obama in a way that we have not seen with a politician in our lifetime. It is in the songs and poetry we hear about Obama. It is in the graffiti and concert posters that feature his face. It is in collaborations of bands and comedians and actors and painters. It is in music and literature blogs posting essays from entertainers!

Obama has truly energized the people down at the most grassroots level. His speeches become cultural events, filling stadiums and arenas across the world with his supporters. He has engaged aspects of our society that are usually written off as apathetic, and his campaign slogans of “hope” and “change” have inspired millions to get involved in our democracy. Obama is striking a chord with the greater American public who is looking for a change in a corrupt and dysfunctional political system. Barack Obama has been embraced by pop culture because he is a populist that has passed the tipping point and met the threshold of mass appeal. Obama will follow through with, as another great Illinois politician once said, a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” He has created something awesome and is sharing it with people. This is why Barack Obama is a pop culture phenomenon.

Below are lyrics to a song I wrote which outlines the specifics of why I support Obama:

“Obama” [mp3]
“Obama” [video]
by the Alan Cohen Experience
feat. Ryan Pressman on the drums and AfroDZak on the trumpet

Obama, he's the candidate for me
Obama, he sets the right policy
Obama, he'll manage things responsibly
Obama, he's the candidate for me

He understands the nuances of issues that he'll have to face
He won't define them with how lobbyists present their case
From the get-go he knew the Iraq war was off base

He speaks with a clear and simple ideology
He doesn't have a “my way or the highway” philosophy
He's not a slave to the free market or fundamentalist theology

He has the right ideas of health care and education
He'll invest in infrastructure for the future of the nation
He's not gonna be another Bush administration

Alan Cohen Experience links:

Alan Cohen Experience's website
Alan Cohen Experience's MySpace page

Barack Obama link:

Barack Obama presidential campaign website

also at Largehearted Boy:

other Why Obama essays
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews