Tuesday March 18 may well be looked back upon by some of the snotty-nosed kids we are bringing up today as the day when we all found a new way to define ourselves.
A day when we decided that the labels that we slap on ourselves in the morning and on others until the fourth martini renders us mute and certifiable are no longer as simple and definite as we used to think they were.
As Joe Biden, a man who is both articulate and splendidly ditzy, put it in one of his eloquent moods- Barack Obama is articulate. AND HE’S BLACK.
Of course, the capitals are mine. The sentiment was undoubtedly Mr. Biden’s.
So on March 18, we began to appreciate publicly that we are all, as the rather nuanced word puts it, nuanced.
Barack Obama is black and Christian and sort of African and half-white, and a persuasive speaker and a participant in dangerously nasty anti-white rhetoric and a disturbingly habitual user of the phrase “y’know”.
What about other notables whom we celebrate today?
Arthur C Clarke, who, according to Wikipedia, actually died tomorrow, appears to have been a Sri Lankan and British subject whose short story “The Star” was banned from a high school textbook for fear that it would annoy Catholics.
He married a woman with a young son and then separated from her after six months and was subsequently accused of being a pedophile. He wrote a novel and a movie, both called “2001, A Space Odyssey”, the movie being released before he’d actually managed to finish the novel.
Then there’s Anthony Minghella, who definitely died today. He directed Truly, Madly, Deeply, The English Patient and campaign commercials for Tony Blair. He also once made me put his girlfriend into a commercial for London’s Natural History Museum. (She was very good, seeing that you ask.)
Which facts about a person ought to make you like them or hate them, admire them or decry them? Which facts ought to make you throw up at the mere mention of their name or dance the jig of the Virgin Brides of Guadaloupe. (You didn’t know they had a jig? Where have you been, you ill-traveled moron? Are you, perhaps, a racist?)
Should I still be suspicious of Arthur C. Clarke because of the pedophilia allegations? Should I think less of Mr. Minghella because of the English Patient? (Oh, Lord. Did you see that movie? Forgive me, oh, maker and oh, Maker, but I wanted to throw my shoe at the screen. It’s just that I liked those shoes.)
And should I admire Barack Obama because of the speech he made about race?
Isn’t it true that Hillary Clinton could have made a similar speech? Couldn’t she have talked about what she had learned in her thirty-five years of working for the rights of every American, including the black ones, the brown ones and the sad ones who would never vote for her in a million years?
Couldn’t she have talked about white people’s fear of blacks and of black people’s sense of anger and injustice, misplaced or not? Couldn’t she have related personal experiences with respect to race?
So on what basis should we judge her? Because she didn’t make that speech? Because she married a man with roving genitals? Because her voice reminds us of an unsympathetic cartoon character? Because she’s a woman who has lived, um, through, a lot?
The world loves to foist facts upon us. But what perverted process do we go through to let certain facts get in the way of the convoluted homemade soup that is our instinct and others just waft off in the wind like a McDonalds balloon?
Think of all the relationships in the world, most of which go wrong in every way imaginable. How many really ever made sense at all? And how many are subsequently derailed by an additional, apparently irrelevant, fact, like a previous liaison or a sudden penchant for Ladies of the Empire?
Barack Obama’s most disturbing attribute is that he makes it cool to be serious. He’s like that friend or, Lord, forbid it please, shrink who manages to tell you the truth about yourself in a way that somehow gives you permission to take yourself seriously, when in your heart you know this is all just one big joke.
I wonder what will happen if he gets the chance to look into Vladimir Putin’s soul.
Which of the facts about him get through to our weird internal systems and which get tossed away like those peanuts they give you in coach?
To my great relief, I have just had a phone call from a disturbed friend. He is not permanently disturbed, although there are those who believe he might be.
He is in a terrible quandary.
A viciously enthusiastic fan of American Idol, he has had his being rocked by a revelation about his two favorites on the show- David Archuleta, the choirboy-faced crooner with the stage dad and Brooke White, who appears to believe that it is time for Carole King to rise from the grave and, oh, I don’t know, vote for a Kennedy.
It appears both of these young things are Mormons.
My friend is perplexed. He is finding it hard to come to terms with having feelings for someone who believes in God’s special love for Missouri and all the other stuff associated with the Saturday Night Saints.
Will he learn to love them more? Or will he begin to celebrate the talents of the rather mousy Australian or the rocker chick whose family all ride Harleys to Church on Sunday. (Well, in the footage it looked like they were going to Church. Where else would they be going?)
We need to begin to understand the basis on which we make a mess of so much.
Tonight many are still struggling with putting together the fine words of Barack Obama with the rantings and ravings of the Good Pastor Wright. Will it bother the American people that Brooke White is a Mormon? Or does it still bother them that she sang Let It Be last week and survived?
I have a solution.
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright should be added to the judging panel on American Idol.
I believe this would be a huge step forward in redefining us all.
The Pond thanks sister72 and aoife city womanchild for their campaign contributions.