On July 15, 1979, President Jimmy Carter addressed the nation in a televised speech concerning the ongoing energy crisis. In what became known as the “Malaise Speech,” the President described America’s “crisis of confidence” and declared overconsumption the culprit. The American standard of fossil-fuel gluttony would have to end, the solution being self-sacrifice as much as policy. His candor went over well for a few days, lifting Carter’s approval rating, until the American public realized that the President was pointing the finger squarely at them. It is known as the final nail in the Carter Administration’s coffin.
Artist Ryan McNamara loves Jimmy Carter and the “Malaise Speech.” To mark the speech’s 35th anniversary, he is dusting it off, sewing on some sequins, and parading it in front of the American people once again. Perhaps a little razzle dazzle will help the public take the blame better this time around.
"While Carter’s original speech only led to dwindling support, McNamara’s performance had viewers and passersby constantly joining in the celebration, even if they didn’t know what exactly they were joining in on. Everyone wants to be part of the party, I guess.
And while many passersby may have initially joined in the crowd purely for the exuberant theatrics, invariably they ended up having to listen and contend with the words of the speech."
-Art F City