Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

51

Yes he can (or: Is McCain able?)

As Obama has proven, if you want to snag the vote, get your mates to come up with something people can e-mail to each other. An uplifting, musically inspired, goosebump-inducing B & W viral video. Can it work for John McCain too? Watch all the way to the end. The guy with the paper bag was the absolute highlight for me.

Alas, Hillary still hasn't managed to capture the YouTube wave. Maybe her new campaign manager will get it? I wish I had the skillz to make a video of her best moments to the tune of Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman."

Or at least to produce some lip-synched version of her debates with Barack, using footage from Bob the Builder... with Hillary as the eminently capable but always sidelined Wendy. Only that would make Bill Bob, and ... oh it's so confusing.

I'm hugely sympathetic to the feminist arguments about how Hillary's historic candidacy is being systematically devalued via traditional and surreptitious sexism. After all, this is a woman whose mother was born when American women (in all but a handful of states) still didn't have the right to vote. The righteous fury of this piece by the legendary Robin Morgan warmed the cockles of my radical feminist heart. Amen, sister! Old school but right on! It's certainly more cogent and less omg-she-could-like-totally-be-me! than Erica Jong's similar article in the Washington Post. Lest this seem like an exclusively female meme, good old Stanley Fish covers similar ground in the NY Times (including comparing the blithe sexism and misogyny of Clinton's opponents to anti-Semitism).

It starts young, though. My older boy is a confirmed Obama fan, and ventured the other day that "African American people are just smarter at the job than women." Where to start parsing that one?? I'm so thrilled he's gotten the message of Martin Luther King day (this year he mastered the words of the song that he insisted last year was called "Martin Luther King was a silver rights leader"), but I do have to take the second half of that statement a teensy bit personally.

I think he's picked up on the either/or vibe, and formulated his answer in those terms because binary thinking is very hard to get outside of. I asked him to expand on it a little bit, and he made the cogent point that "Perhaps Obama's father from Africa taught him some different ways of thinking, from that part of the world, not like the way Americans think, so he's more smart about the world than if he was just American. Because people in Africa have to do more things from scratch rather than just buying stuff, like in America, so it makes them smarter."

There are some issues there, true, but on the whole it's a nuanced perspective I hadn't heard before and I kind of liked it.


On the other hand, this open letter (thanks permiegirl for the link) from a fellow Wellesley College alum is troubling, whatever you think of GE.

And what do you make of Shep's suggestion in the comments thread to my previous post, that Star Trek precedent suggests we'll have a woman at the helm before a black man? Highly logical, captain? Or proof that American women can run things only in some parallel universe? (Captain Janeway was British, if I remember rightly).

I don't know - all this either/or black/white XX/XY stuff is doing my head in. Somebody point me towards a paradigm for thinking about it that doesn't take into account each candidate's "first"ness but rather their fitness for office...

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Other good stuff. Bob Munro posted a link to BagNotes which does a great line in visual analyses of the news.

And I liked Anjum's take on Obama's expedient response to rumours that he swore an oath on the Quran as opposed to the good old Bible.

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