The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, October 23, 2006

Obama for President?

The most recent issue of Time magazine trumpets the idea that Senator Barack Obama could be the next president of the United States.  Clearly, in terms of charisma, the man is a rock star.  And I like the fact that he seems to be a straight-shooters, who speaks plainly and intelligently on a wide variety of topics.  I’ll have to do more research to decide if I’d want to vote for him on more than a knee-jerk level.

But it’s interesting to note the similarities between Obama and Colin Powell.  Both were born to fathers raised outside America (Powell’s parents were Jamaican, Obama’s father Kenyan.  In other words, both men would have avoided much of the emotional poison that infects black American males. Obama’s father, particularly, would have access to tribal stories, lines of ancestry, and a sense of self completely beyond most descendants of slaves.  It’s not surprising that these two men are, arguably, the most respected black American males.

But could Obama be President?  I remember talking to a retired secret service agent, who knew Powell quite well. She said that when he was being bandied about as a presidential candidate, he received a volume of hate mail and death threats that the service had never seen before, and his wife pled with him not to run.

Would that happen to Obama?  Possibly.  I don’t know.  But people respond to him in an amazing fashion.  Possibly because he personally has no connection to the horrors of slavery, he is able to be the kind of black person whites love to love: intelligent, stable, responsible, optimistic, and not trying to trigger guilt.  This really, really speaks to my thoughts about the difference between hardware and software—Obama is running great software.  I’m going to look into him, and meanwhile, I’m sure I can trust my readers to send me links to articles elaborating on his strengths and weaknesses.
Saw “Feast,” the Project Greenlight horror movie directed by John Gulagher.  Well, it’s not the disaster you would have predicted watching the show, but neither is it very good.  There are continuity problems, some flat dialog and amateurish editing…and also some genuinely funny and scary moments.  And at least one (in the unrated version) that was so offensively over-the-top that I still can’t believe it.  Let’s just say that it involves Navi Rawit ( the hot math chick on “Numbers”) and an amorous monster.  Yow.  The movie’s “Plot” (so to speak) is as simple as it gets: a bunch of people in a diner are under siege by hungry, horny desert monsters.  One by one, they’re killed off.  If you liked “Evil Dead” you might get into this.  Otherwise…stay away.  For hard-core horror fans, a “B.”  All others—probably a “D.”
And I saw “The Prestige” last night.  Yummy.  Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale in an actor’s duel.  Two magicians are locked in a battle of wits and hearts, triggered by a tragic accident early in their careers.  It’s a “how do they do that?” taken to the next level, a real, distinct treat for the eyes, and a smart, smart thriller.  There are several twists and turns that put a smile on my face.  One I saw coming.  The other I did not.  Both were perfectly fair, in retrospect.   This is fine, fine work.  An “A.”

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