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Jon Robin Baitz

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Lear on the Heath

Posted: 04/29/08 04:10 PM ET

Monday, the world was treated to the spectacle of a seemingly intelligent man of the cloth, named Jeremiah Wright, intoxicated by the giddy exhilarations of lights, camera and press action -- behave like any two-bit celebrity from reality TV. It was a sort of psychological portrait of a bad father figure, at the National Press Club -- a Post-Modern Vaudeville Abraham trying his best to sacrifice a child on the alter of his manic high self-regard. The American circus, once again, exploding in a cacophony of the narcissism of the ongoing cult of personality which fuels all news cycles. I must also drily note that the good reverend's appearance seems to have been orchestrated by a gleeful and fervent Clinton supporter, another member of the clergy (sigh), named Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds.

Tuesday, Barack Obama, riven with quiet anger came out at a press conference in North Carolina, and finally dropped the other shoe. He stood there, and with certitude said "enough is enough." He was visibly appalled, outraged at being labeled a pandering inauthentic politico by his(semi/faux) surrogate. Still, you can see how painful it is for Obama -- how it goes against his intrinsic sense of loyalty and history -- to finally jettison the mad Reverend Wright.

What the last day has been about for many Obama believers, was how long it would be until the inevitable denunciation. One knew, of course, watching Wright rage madly about HIV as a government conspiracy against minorities, not to mention American terrorism and "God Damn America" still being justified, and his mockery of various regional dialects -- that it was a matter of hours before this strange modern Lear on the heath would be excommunicated.

What I find sad is that Wright's soul-sick glee at being heard nationally has all but obliterated whatever was good about the work the man did for decades on the south side. Well, media attention is an intoxicant, and humility is the first quality to collapse when one is drunk with the sounds of one's own narcissistic dialectic. Wright, of course, messianic, and thrilled, and out to sell books, will keep it coming". It's an American tale.

Hopefully, now, Barack Obama can return to a campaign of honor, of hope, and of ideas that inspire. There are miles to go before he sleeps.