Obama and the Politics of Ritual

Benjamin Netanyahu came to Washington this week and danced the minuet with Barack Obama.  They held a handkerchief between them and at AIPAC they came together.  And once Obama's Jew-charm ceremony was completed, they danced apart.  The talking heads from the left and right side of the audience commented on the dance, the partners as a couple, and as individuals.  There was George Soros' J Street, which immediately commented on Obama's grace, and there were the Zionists, who understood that Obama could dance well but not as a partner. Over the next several days, the number of commentators about the dance grew as did the complexity of their observations.  But the reality was something that complex society refuses to acknowledge: when it comes to politics, ritual is as much a part of life in the modern world as it is in primitive society.  We just refuse to recognize that our complicated rituals, forever reinterpreted and reified into agonizing...(Read Full Article)