Why Obama won’t kiss up to the cool kids anymore

August 28, 2008

Journalists can be notorious for twisting quotes out of context, but where do these quotes come from in the first place? Their choice of sources is often the larger crime. Think about it…

I just finished reading Ryan Lizza’s The New Yorker article, “Making It”, which chronicles Barack Obama’s roller-coaster relationship with Chicago politics in the 1990s. He played the game to win…yada yada…stepped on some toes…yada yada. Obama rarely brings people’s focus to that time in his life, preferring to concentrate on his successes at Harvard, his community organizing, and his recent (“let’s change the nation”) political career. Lizza speculates that this omission is intentional, that Obama has something to hide. I beg to disagree. He was learning the rules, and that meant playing and experimenting with loyalties and messages. Can you really blame him? How else can one hope to become master of the game?

I liken it to High School. Now all his old “cool kid” friends from Chicago are bitter he never kept up with them through college. He left them behind. He had to. By their very nature, political loyalties are stifling, centered on interpersonal obligations, and crippling to any notion of change. No one in “the ol’ boys club” has the wherewithal to peek over the shoulder of the back they’re scratching. Contrary to Lizza’s take, I find Obama’s “perceived” betrayals heartening. Here is a man who has learned the rules, but has the guts to bend them to his vision’s needs. A little toe stepping gives him the freedom to move forward, provided he can still cultivate trust and confidence when necessary.

A journalist’s choice of sources will colour any reader’s view of the subject being profiled. Obama comes out of Lizza’s article looking conniving instead of astute, underhanded instead of strategic. And sure, if you asked my high school boyfriends to paint my portrait, I would come out looking like, well, a whole lot like the 2-D canvas of Dorian Gray. I’ll be honest, there may be some “minor” toe stepping to blame lol. I was still learning the rules of the game *wink*. Ask my other (past/present) contacts, and I’d like to think you’d get a more three-dimensional person, hopefully suggesting a keen mind and loving heart – and Oh Oh, can’t forget, possibly with great hair too ; )

Obama campaigning for State Senate on Chicago’s South Side

Obama campaigning for State Senate on Chicago’s South Side

(Image source: The New Yorker)


Gladiator sandal trend could have shortened Iraq war

June 13, 2008

cathy gladiator sandal comic.jpg

Ah yes, my ears are still ringing with the roar of the arena. Russell Crowe, circa 2000 AD, muscles bulging under sweat oiled brown skin, soaks the hot sand of the Colosseum with the blood of his enemies. Sure, we all wanted a piece of him (oops, I mean of the action), but was anyone really thinking “ooooo I’d love a pair of those sandals. What delightful footwear, so stylish and eminently practical.”? While it’s true that the gladiator sandal is the go-to shoe when it comes to protecting your shins from those pesky 5th Avenue gladius weilding dog walkers, Mondrian themed tan lines are not the best way to accessorise your vintage Yves Saint Laurent.

The gladiator sandal trend has followed the classic pattern. Just like when learning a brand new word, the trend always looks awkward and ungainly the first few times you see it in action. But then it slowly worms its way into your vocabulary, and before you know it, you start seeing sentences (and short black jersey dresses) that just wouldn’t look right with anything else. 

For those of us in the “know”, the gladiator has already begun to look (how do I put this?) “un peut passé”. It’s time to move on to other synonyms. It’s time to get in tight with its relatives. It’s time to stop messing around with these metaphors and get down to business.

So then what do we put on our feet? You can go with a more subtle version of the trend, or my favorite alternative: flat (or slight wedge) heel, and a non-superfluous system of dark leather straps featuring a bronze embellished T-strap and a single ankle strap (set low on the ankle to visually maximize leg length). I’d link to a pair, but I’m still hunting for them ; )  

The best part of the gladiator trend is its irony. Thousands of New York (and millions of american)fashionistas have wholeheartedly embraced a trend with decidedly middle eastern roots. The saying “to understand someone, walk a mile in their shoes” has never been more apropo. But it’s too late for the one pair of feet that really matter. If Hillary was still in the race, America might have a chance. Cultural understanding starts from the ground up (heehee possibly literally in this case). But something tells me Barack wouldn’t be too gung-ho about strapping his calves into these puppies. Someone should remind him, or Mccain (if that’s how it pans out), that the greatest warriors in history were, like, so, all over the gladiator trend in their day. The Coloseum’s arena was oval wasn’t it *wink*

(comic source: fashionista.com)


Barbara Walters comfirms America’s greatest fear

June 5, 2008

“What (the AIDS ward toddler) knows, in some primal way, is that someone special is about to show up. When (Bill) Clinton finally walks through the door, looking seven feet tall as he often does, the child’s face breaks into a giant grin, expectations met.” – Rebecca Trainster, Elle magazine.

On last night’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart asked guest Barbara Walters if she could feel a unique ‘presence’ when interviewing the world’s most powerful leaders. Her answer (only slightly paraphrased lol):

Jimmy Carter= Charasmatic intensity

Fidel Castro= Charasmatic strength and humour

George W Bush= Charasmatic personal confidence

Charisma, whatever its source, is a requirement for any successful world leader, especially in this media mad culture. The quote that begins this post demonstrates Bill Clinton’s charisma. His may have been more sensually sourced, but still gave him the larger than life persona crucial to inspiring a nation’s confidence.

Does Obama have “it”? Barbara Walters doesn’t think so.

She told Stewart a heartbreaking story about a conversation she had with Obama after one of his campaign speeches. Walters introduced herself and, after a quick chat, invited him to be a guest on The View.

“I’ve been a guest your program before,” he said

“You have? I’m so sorry I wasn’t there that day,” replied Walters.

“You were,” said Obama.


Obama and the desk – a vision I can’t shake

May 15, 2008

Two years from now… Barack Obama standing, shoulders slumped, hands clasping and unclasping, staring at the monolithic desk before him; his jaw set hard to hide a quivering chin. The desk is a monument, a resolute symbol in dark wood, solid and immovable. Obama closes his eyes and accepts the grim realization that the most powerful man in the world is totally, utterly, powerless.

Model of the Resolute desk in the recreated Oval Office at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum.