Becoming: by Michelle Obama. Book review.


91QYsq3Zx0L.jpg

 

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.