Becoming: by Michelle Obama. Book review.


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As we live through life under the Donald and, perhaps even worse, the Boris, it takes the breath away to read this account of an ordinary, but extraordinary, woman who rose to global prominence by a mixture of serendipity, love and intelligence.

This is the story of a woman of colour who reached unexpected levels of influence but never forgot where she came from.

It is also a true love story, not just of her wonderful husband and family, but of humanity.

And it’s a story of activism, on fairly extreme levels; activism for the rights of women and black Americans but mainly both.

From the first page we uncover a person, bit by bit, that was never prepared to accept the status quo.  Brought up on the rough side of black Chicago, in, essentially, a ghetto with a disabled dad she was fortunate enough to have parents that strove for her and her brother to pay for an Ivy League education.  This is not a normal outcome for this demographic.

Even as she becomes a wealthy lawyer she knows this is not right for her and gradually reduces her income by taking challenging but emotionally rewarding jobs in human rights and fairness.

She meets Barack, her husband, through work.  He too is an oddity in his demographic.  A mixed race Kenyan Hawaiian.  They’re made for each other but strangely and movingly they are not 100% compatible.  Conceiving their children is a challenge.

The book talks much of Obama’s success and we enjoy the Primary’s, hustings, presidential races and victories in some detail.

But this is not about Michelle’s role as a dutiful First Lady, it’s about her life story as a black woman and how she was able to use her influence to make a difference.

It’s breathtaking throughout.  Frequently I was close to tears, partly because viewing the world through the eyes of Michelle one realises that there is humanity in politics and then stepping back and asking oneself, ‘Would Trump do/think that?” one is left with an inevitable response in the negative.

It puts Melania and Donald Trump’s motives into perspective.

It makes us realise just how evil and selfish both he, and his English buffoon-like contemporary, are.

It makes us extraordinarily grateful for having lived through the greatest presidency in history.

 

 

It would be heartbreaking if it wasn’t so funny. Obama slow Jams the news.


The Western world has never had it so good having an American President as dedicated, in touch and committed to US economic recovery, healthcare and international relations.  God knows what faces us but Hilary is surely the lesser of two evils.

In this news slow jam on the peerless Jimmy Fallon show he underlines his achievements but, importantly, cites his party colleagues as brothers in arms.  Let’s hope they keep that work up under Hilary.

But this 7 minute sequence takes it all to a new level.  A hilarious blaxpoitation of his two terms in office.

Can you see Donald Trump doing this.

Can you fuck.

Can you see Hilary doing this?

Nope.

Could you have seen the Bush’s?

No siree.

Jimmy Carter possibly.  Reagan at a push but not with an ounce of this utter coolness.

He even raps.  (Badly).

And the killer gag.  Orange is NOT the new Black.

a bit late in the day…


…but I never saw this at the time. I found it while researching my Napier project and it’s wonderful. Basically it’s a brilliant Apple Mac ad hijacked by Obama. Perfect targeting for a certain demograph and what a great way to sell yourself. Not sure if it’s a viral or a real ad, but judging from the lack of an “I’m Barack Obama and I approved this message” ending I suspect that sadly it is the former.

Whatever, it’s great.

Obama death threat


Come on Barack.  Cross the line.

Come on Barack. Cross the line.

Of course the real risk to Obama’s accession to world power is that some fanatic kills him.

The fact that a right wing white supremacy unit set out to pick him off on the anniversary of Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech might, in hindsight have seemed obvious but it remains a real and present danger to this man’s life.

And, in that respect it remains a real and present danger to this world being a better place to live in.

I think the FBI has to be congratulated (assuming it was them who did it) for uncovering the plot by a bunch of hick Nazis to kill one of the world’s most important people.  And let’s not kid ourselves he IS one of the world’s most important people.

Scotland is an exciting place to live, from a political perspective, right now because Alex Salmond’s SNP-led government has thrown off the shackles of what couldn’t be done before.  It has a real sense of the new and it’s genuinely rather exciting.  So imagine if you took that same approachh to American politics.

Sheesh.

Lots of comfort zones blown to smithereens.

That’s why we need Obama.

We all know that.

That’s why the wierdos need to be kept on top of.

Please, no Lee Harvey Oswalds.

The tingle


You live through the last ten years of lying politics and suddenly things go a bit tingly.

Barak Obama is undoubtedly the most exciting introduction to the Western political world since Clinton (Mr , not Mrs) and some.

And in Scotland we are graced by Alex Salmond.

In between times Bush bombs; yes, I know, it’s a pun.

Brown just goes pear-shaped – but what can you expect when his boss/predecessor was an inveterate liar?

So.  Bring it on.  The Presidential election I mean.  Because, although I am massively predisposed to Obama, I think we all need to see the debate unfold.

Obama


You wonder whether the fight to beat Clinton has taken too much out of him.  OK, America probably wants a break from conservatism, and McCain is about as enticing as Hilda Ogden in a rainstorm but it’s still a big ask.

And, oh it’s been a right riveting nomination campaign.

But let’s not forget he is black and there is a mountain of opposition to that.

However, I think it is a rather exciting political development and that he is, potentially, the man.

Bring it on.

(This is clearly the sort of post that one might look back on in years to come as supremely visionary or supremely foolish.  Pray God it is the former.)

Charlie Wilson’s War


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This is a very complex film to decode and review. Because the politics are tough.

Should one shout for the Americans when we know just how bullying and, frankly, evil they are as he world’s only superpower?

Should we castigate the Ruskies for (at the time of the events) being equally obnoxious?

Should we feel sorry for the put upon Afghanis who are now considered an axis of evil (by the axis of evil)?

Dunno.

The story concerns Playboy Senator, Charlie Wilson (played brilliantly by Tom Hanks) lobbying congress to fund a covert war on behalf of the Afghanis who had been invaded by the Ruskies and were taking it up the arse big style.

Arms deals are done in Israel with a Jewish arms dealer played utterly ridiculously (laugh out loud ridiculous in fact) by Ken Stott.  Ken Stott? He’s a Jock! And the Ruskies get a right old doing as a result.

In fact, they were eventually sent homewards, tae think again.

The script is brilliant, having been penned by ex West Wing main writer, Aaron Sorkin (I’ve never watched West Wing so can’t coo as much as The IMDB crowd do about him).  It’s actually very funny despite the subject matter. And then there’s Phillip Seymour Hoffman

(“That’s your pal Mark”, Jeana says every time he’s in a movie. Why? ‘Cos I spotted him as one of America’s best actors in Magnolia and was proved right.)

Is it a good film?

Yes.

Is it right to cheer on Hanks as a hero?

Don’t know.

Should you go and see it?

Undoubtedly.

By the way.

Julia Roberts?

Nah.