A Different Inauguration Than the Previous Two, 36 Years Ago

The inauguration of the 39th governor of California was markedly different than that of the 34th governor, even though both are the same man – Jerry Brown.

No Sufi choir was invited to sing at Brown’s January 3 inauguration.

Instead, the Oakland School of the Arts Choir offered a souped-up version of thw Woody Guthrie classic, “This Land is Your Land” and closed the ceremony with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

In 1974 – and in 1978 – Brown’s inaugurations were not marred by cell phones ringing since commercial cellular technology was not invented until 1984.

(The first cell phone call, however, was made on April 3, 1973, a year before Brown took office. It was made by Martin Cooper, a Motorola researcher, on a device somewhere between the size of a brick and a walkie-talkie. The person Cooper called: Dr. Joel Engel, his rival at Bell Labs.)

Nor were a large percentage of the audiences at Brown’s first two inaugurations scrolling through e-mails and responding to them on their Personal Digital Assistants.

Apple’s “The Newton” appeared on the market in 1993. PalmPilots in 1996. Blackberry was invented in 1999.

There was no Internet until 1990.

Brown, whose penchant for unscripted remarks is legendary, turned to the audience in the middle of his oath of office after repeating the phrase “no mental reservation” to say: “Really, no mental reservation.”

During his inaugural address, Brown introduced Connie Carlson, the 99-year-old grand daughter of one of his ancestors, noting that those “hankering for his job” would have to wait awhile.

“God willing, the genes are good,” he quipped, then accidentally repeated  previously read sentence of his prepared speech.

“That’s what you get when you ad lib,” he said.


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