On Leaders

President Barrack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 25, 2011

“It takes a mountain of myth to make even a grain of difference. It takes Mr. Yacub and the Isle of Patmos to make a man in the ghetto put on a suit. Oscar, you say Allah showed up in Detroit in 1930 in the person of a raincoat peddler called W.D. Fard and then disappeared in 1934; the Christians say He showed up in Jerusalem in the year 30 and then disappeared in the year 33. What is the result of these incredible rumors? Slaves lift their heads a fraction of an inch higher. Is this enough result? It is. Nothing less will produce any result at all. The dictatorship of the proletariat, the divinity of this or that itinerant – the crucial question isn’t Can you prove it? but Does it give us a handle on the reality that otherwise would overwhelm us?”

“Colonel Hakim Félix Ellelloû” in John Updike’s novel The Coup (1978)

Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times: President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 25, 2011

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