Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
A funny and serious encomium to our First Lady-to-be's booty.
But what really thrills me, what really feels liberating in a very personal way, is the official new prominence of Michelle Obama. Barack's better half not only has stature but is statuesque. She has coruscating intelligence, beauty, style and -- drumroll, please -- a butt. (Yes, you read that right: I'm going to talk about the first lady's butt.)
As America fretted about Obama's exoticism and he sought to calm the waters with speeches about unity and common experience, Michelle's body was sending a different message: To hell with biracialism! Compromise, bipartisanship? Don't think so. Here was one clear signifier of blackness that couldn't be tamed, muted or otherwise made invisible. It emerged right before our eyes, in the midst of our growing uncertainty about everything, and we were too bogged down in the daily campaign madness to notice. The one clear predictor of success that the pundits, despite all their fancy maps, charts and holograms, missed completely? Michelle's butt.
Lord knows, it's time the butt got some respect. Ever since slavery, it's been both vilified and fetishized as the most singular of all black female features, more unsettling than dark skin and full lips, the thing that marked black women as uncouth and not quite ready for civilization (of course, it also made them mighty attractive to white men, which further stoked fears of miscegenation that lay at the heart of legal and social segregation). In modern times, the butt has demarcated class and stature among black society itself. Emphasizing it or not separates dignified black women from ho's, party girls from professionals, hip-hop from serious. (Black women are not the only ones with protruding behinds, by the way, but they're certainly considered its source. How many gluteally endowed nonblack women have been derided for having a black ass? Well, Hillary, for one.)
But Michelle is bringing those two falsely divided minds together in a single presentation -- finally, unity for the real world! Talk about a power base. Thanks to Michelle, looking professional and provocative in a distinctly black way will become not only acceptable but also part of a whole presidential look that's more, well, inclusive.
P.S. Bonus points killer use of coruscating.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Vanity Fair's James Wolcott bemoans the never-ending soap opera of Bible Spice:
Que Sera, Sarah
It isn't that I loathe or fear Sarah Palin. It's that she grates. If she were any more grating, she could cut cheddar.…
Sarah Palin isn't pursuing mere transient fame but actual power, a pursuit driven by a brassy assurance shielding an apparent lack of knowledge about nearly everything and a breathtaking complacency about that voluminous lack. She doesn't seem to care about what she doesn't know, it doesn't seem to register that what she doesn't know might matter and might be worth knowing even if it didn't. Her sentences seem to be missing vital ligaments when she speaks, yielding a concrete poetry similar to Rumsfeld's musings but with nil intellectual content (Rumsfeld's known unknowns and unknown unknowns at least had an ontological coherence).
Now we're stuck with her twangy shtick and her family soap opera, which makes the former Clinton saga look like Les Sylphides. Just as Al Gore must live with the shame of elevating Joe Lieberman to the national stage, no act of contrition John McCain can perform will be penance enough for foisting Sarah Palin on us, subjecting us to her supreme sense of entitlement.
I love Wolcott. He's an adult version of Christopher Hitchens—what Hitch could be if he'd outgrow his adolescence. Rapier wit, dry sense of humor, and none of the bilious qualities.
From Obama's 60 Minutes interview:
Kroft: Does doing something about energy is it less important now than...Emphasis added. Can you believe we now have a president (elect) that speaks like this? My skin is bruised from pinching myself.
Mr. Obama: It's more important. It may be a little harder politically, but it's more important.
Mr. Obama: Well, because this has been our pattern. We go from shock to trance. You know, oil prices go up, gas prices at the pump go up, everybody goes into a flurry of activity. And then the prices go back down and suddenly we act like it's not important, and we start, you know filling up our SUVs again.
And, as a consequence, we never make any progress. It's part of the addiction, all right. That has to be broken. Now is the time to break it.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
On to more harmonious topics. Here's Ron Suskind on the beginnings and ends of political eras:
Eras end with a whisper, with reflection and the quiet drift preceding sleep. They start with a roar, the declaration that a particular dawn is different from all its predecessors — a case made, day by day, over years of sunrises.And a bit about the man who grabbed the moment:
Across the country, a wave was gathering force. But it was diffuse, difficult to measure and seemed to be coming from many directions, many sources at once.
Obama sat quietly for a moment, and everyone waited. “This I know: When I raise my hand and take that oath of office, I think the world will look at us differently,” he said. “And millions of kids across this country will look at themselves differently.”
Obama understood, through his own search for identity, how America’s seminal struggle over race was part of a wider story, of a search for dignity and hope that defined the lives of countless people throughout the world. A battered America, he felt, was ready, even anxious, to prove the truth of its sacred oaths — liberty, justice and equality. To show the world. If, through his own ambitions, he could offer his country a chance to step forward, it might rise to the occasion.
And it did, with astonishing speed. You could see it so clearly that night, the last night of a historic 21-month campaign, that last rally, in Manassas, Va. By 10 p.m., there were 90,000 people gathered in the Prince William County Fairgrounds. They’d been gathering since midafternoon. And it was America. Make no mistake. This was border territory, where the edge of Washington’s Northern Virginia suburbs meets the true Old Dominion. Starbucks gives way to gun shops, whole grains to grits and whatever liquid can get you drunk fast.
So, now conservatives are whining because of the push back on Prop 8? All I can muster is a big, Waaa. Politics ain't beanbag kiddos. You want to go around disenfranchising fellow countrymen and creating second-class citizens you'd better be prepared to take some hits.
Click here for a list of those who contributed to Prop 8.
Here's TBogg from Firedoglake's commentary:
Blowback is a bitchCouldn't have said it better.
The kind of person who contributes money to deny their fellow citizens their civil rights are not someday magically going to be part of the solution: they're the problem. These are not people to be reasoned with; they're ignorant, they're haters and they're bigots and the only thing people like that understand is power.
So when they stick their noses in other people's affairs, they forfeit the right to be considered just another "ordinary person". They're involved and they would be foolish to expect that those other people in whose private affairs they have meddled wouldn't return the favor. As they say: you pays your money and you takes your chances.
Click here for a list of those who contributed to Prop 8.
While America's favorite child-abusing, polygamist cult is responsible for tipping the balance, it looks like it was one of the world's oldest child-abusing cults that invited them into the mix. Via NYT:
Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay MarriageLovely people, these.
First approached by the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco a few weeks after the California Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in May, the Mormons were the last major religious group to join the campaign, and the final spice in an unusual stew that included Catholics, evangelical Christians, conservative black and Latino pastors, and myriad smaller ethnic groups with strong religious ties.
Shortly after receiving the invitation from the San Francisco Archdiocese, the Mormon leadership in Salt Lake City issued a four-paragraph decree to be read to congregations, saying “the formation of families is central to the Creator’s plan,” and urging members to become involved with the cause.
“And they sure did,” Mr. Schubert said.