Friday, 7 November 2008

Are we now post-black or just post-election?

Continuing the Obama theme just till the weekend...

Novelist Diran Adebayo is a member of the Arts Council's National Council. Every now and again I get to spend time with National Council and, whilst marvelling at how Diran looks cool in a pinstripe suit while I look like an 'Executive', I always find he's got a stimulating take on things. He 'spotted' Barack Obama early on, and has now written a great piece on his website about why he likes him so much, and the highly debatable concept of 'post-black'. I am going to think whether I can become 'post-white' - although if I get many more grey hairs I will certainly eventually achieve 'post-ginger'.

Further proof, if it were needed, that novelists can do more than make stuff up comes from academics at the LSE and Manchester Universities, as reported in the Telegraph. Apparently novels like The Kite Runner are better at informing the public about development issues than reports. Who'd have thought?

(Andrew Taylor, the Artful Manager, also talks about Obama's arts policies - didn't you just know he had some - and good taste in advisors, with Michael Chabon amongst others on the committee.)


Anonymous said...

you might want to take a look at Obama's take on health care for artists and apply that to dancers in the UK.

Anonymous said...

The media presentation of the Obama victory as some cause for celebration is manipulative of public opinion. Look how liberal we are, look how anyone can make it in America, even a black man. We may have made a few mistakes recently, but look at our wonderful democracy.

While it might be the lesser of two evils, on the big issues there’s no difference between an Obama administration and the Bush administration. Whatever his race or personality, what matters is the policies he intends to carry out. What are those policies? All through the campaign we heard words like “hope”, “change”, “unity” – you can pin anything you like on those.

What has he said? Already Obama has signalled his intention to escalate the war in central asia, to persist with the “war on terror” and continue to lend military and financial support to Israel. Nothing about dismantling nuclear weapons, reversing global warming or withdrawing US support for terrorist regimes (Columbia, Indonesia) around the world.

If, during his rise within the democratic party or during the campaign there had been the slightest hint that Obama was not going to serve elite interests at home and support US investors interests abroad, above all other considerations, then he would never have been allowed to become a candidate & president.

Remember the election of the Blair government in 1997, and Jack Kennedy (a catholic) in 1960 – expectations were high then, too.

And recall the election of a woman to British Prime Minister in 1979 – she did nothing for women.

Keith Simpson
Arts Council National Office

Anonymous said...

There's an interesting article about Obama at

Keith Simpson
Arts Council National Office

Mark Robinson said...

I think it was the optimism of my will, and the pessimism of your intellect talking, Keith. In some ways, you're probably right, but over-pessimistically so: if he's going to let people down, on the basis that anyone who stands for election will, at least let's feel a bit better for a short while, eh? Equally, he will be an improvement and we need to not let the undone things hide the thngs that will be done or changed, and have been done simply by his election.

The Blair example is a good one: but it's more complex than him simply being a let down, isn't it? There are many good things - like the massive refurbishment/rebuilding of schools, like the minimum wage, that do get forgotten in disappointment at war, or university fees or migration policy, etc.

I will admit to being an at times irratingly glass half full kind of a guy, but only because I'm also such a misery the alternative doesn't bear thinking about...