Blog June 2008 - AndyPryke.com
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Tuesday 24th June 2008 - Monday 30th June 2008

I'm off to Glastonbury Festival today, so I've set up a separate blog page here: Glastonbury Blog 2008. I will be posting live from my W810i phone, in a similar vain to my Glastonbury Blog 2007, Glastonbury Blog 2005 and Glastonbury Blog 2004.

Thursday 12th June 2008

1001 Nights

The Destroyers and The Dhol Blasters presented 1001 nights, based on the story of Sheradzad, legendary author of the tales of 1001 nights. Melvin Bragg's In Our Time radio programme recently covered the topic of The Arabian Nights and is worth a listen.

Tonight, we were treated to much more than I expected. I thought I was just going to a simple gig, probably with the Dhol Blasters in the 1st half and the Destroyers in the 2nd. What we got was a "symphony" based on Sheradzad's own story, illustrated with some excellent dance, inspired, I believe by Sufi traditions. What with the Persian origins of the story, the dance and drummers and singers from the indian sub-continent, Paul Murphy's Irish tones, and the Destroyer's Gypsy/Jewish/Balkans music we had a real melting pot which showcased just what is possible in a culturally diverse city like Birmingham.

The 2nd half featured mainly the Destroyers with spots from the Dhol Blasters, and Paul Murphy's poetic and insightful lyrics. The highlights of this for me were Here We Go ("the people of this city gotta learn to sing as one") and the Finale which brought everyone back on stage, with the dancers mixing in some Europea-style folk dancing.

Tuesday 10th June 2008

New Generation Arts - Video Works

The Que Club on Corporation st is hosting part of the New Generation Arts festival this year - installations of (mainly) video work by a host of local artists. The building itself is interesting, a rather labyrinthine former Methodist Hall, best known as a venue for raves in the 1990's. The exhibition is on till the 20th of June, so pop down and see some great work and explore this rather off building! More at the NGA blog

Monday 9th June 2008

One Drop...

One thing I forgot to mention in my post on "Primary Tends"(below) was the "one drop rule", an American perspective (still with some legal force) in which a single drop of "black" blood defines you as black. Today I ran across this Kenyan article on "Why Obama is Black, not White " which gives an interesting external perspective on the issue of race in the US. One of the advantages of the internet is that you can read new articles from all over the world, rather than from just one or two sources, and the differences in attitude are often more pronounced than you might expect.

Friday 6th June 2008

Primary Trends

In my opinion, Clinton lost month's ago, and should have resigned then, but even now, after a majority of voters (if you actually count fairly!), a majority of delegates and a majority of super delegates all back Obama, she still hasn't quit! But why did the election play out the way it did...

Is it because I'm a Woman?

This article deals with the question "I cheered her on because she is a woman. There. Is that so wrong?" - though the (for once, intelligent) comments are pretty conclusive that the answer is "Yes". For example: "Yes. As a white male should I support McCain? Hardly." and "Yes, it absolutely is so wrong, in the same sense that saying, 'I cheered her on because she is white' or 'I cheered him on because he's not a woman' are also so wrong." They also identify her vote in support of the Iraq war as a political move ("to look tough on foreign policy") as one of her major failings.

Another comment I liked was from Two Creeks: "Yes, it is wrong. Women can't just dismiss her war-mongering (unrepentant about supporting Iraq war, threats to annihilate Iran), her repeated use of race to attack Obama, her total lack of grace towards her competitor, her opportunistic reversals on Michigan and Florida, her repeated lies about surviving sniper fire in Bosnia, her piling on to the Fox mob trying to foment hysteria about Pastor Wright, her repeated referencing of the Robert Kennedy assassination as a reason to remain in the race. How can a progressive woman ignore all of the above just to support a woman? That is identity politics run amok."

I've read a lot of articles on the primaries, and I've come across virtually no references to Clinton's gender - just one YouTube video which made some crack about trouser suits. I'm not saying what I read is fully representative, but by using Google News I get to see a wide range of new sources. Maybe satirists or the US equivalent of the tabloids have been harder on this front, but I haven't seen them.

Is it because I'm Black

Clinton: ...Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.

Race has been a much bigger factor, with attacks from Clinton herself (the infamous "white...white..white" comments (Video ) and those of her close ally Geraldine Ferraro:
If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any colour) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept. ()

Trends: Clinton, Obama and Race / Gender
Trends: Clinton, Obama and Race / Gender

Religion

According to polls, some 15% of Americans think Barack Obama is a Muslim , and, in the current insane media hype we all know that Muslim is a synonym for terrorist (or citizen of 1984's Eastasia ).

The Reverent Wright affair, though connected with religion is mainly a racial factor (), and Martin Luther King's 1963 contention that the church is still the most segregated major institution in America still seems to hold sway (2002 research).

Trends: Obama and Religion
Trends: Obama and Religion

It is the Media?

Coverage for Obama and Clinton has been relatively even (see lower graph), but web searches for Obama are much higher.

Trends: Obama, Clinton and McCain
Trends: Obama, Clinton and McCain

As I've mentioned before (and here), his popularity on YouTube (as measured by the number of people watching his speeches, and videos in favour) is way, way, way higher than Clinton's. Partly this is due to the demographic of YouTube users, but still, Clinton generally did extremely badly in using new media.

Obama tops you tube
Obama Tops YouTube - Most viewed News Stories (20th March 2008)

Operation Chaos

Operation Chaos is right wing broadcaster Rush Limbaugh's campaign to get republican's to vote in the democratic primaries in favour of Clinton, in order to prolong the campaign and damage the chances of getting a democratic president. Although the stats are hard to analyse (and even harder to get) some analysis suggests a meaningful impact (, ) on the campaign.

The 5 Mistakes Clinton Made

ABC have a good article on the 5 mistakes which Clinton made: Inevitability ("I'm bound to win"); Reliance on big donors, whilst Obama got lots and lots of small donors; Inability to understand or stick to the rules; Loose cannon Bill Clinton; An appearance of being untrustworthy.

Why is She Still there?

Is she really hanging on for an assassination, as suggested in one of her mid-May remarks when asked why she was staying in the race: "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, in June, in California." (video with context ).

Can she just not face up to the fact that she's lost, after many many years of planning?

To be honest, now, who cares. smile

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