because I said so

telling it like I think it is: sunili’s blog

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama

because this fairy tale still needs a happy ending

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Dear Editor

I proudly subscribed to your publication last month. I looked forward to reading insightful pieces written by prominent Australians about our nation’s “Politics, Society & Culture”, as your tag line explains.

My excitement when I pulled my first issue out of the letterbox yesterday fell, almost with a thud to the driveway, when I saw the sparkling smiles of The Obamas dressed in their fairytale finery on the cover of this supposedly Australian publication.

However, as I do adore the Obamas and cheered the US election result with some vigour myself, I figured they probably deserved their place on yet another cover (The Monthly is among such friends as Rolling Stone and Men’s Health in picking the same cover star). Obama’s election matters to all of us and I do hope he’ll come visit us soon.

But when I read Galarrwuy Yunupingu’s utterly amazing piece about his life, his hopes, his disappointment, his frustrations and his visions for our country, my own disappointment and frustration led me to writing this letter.

Why was his story not given the pride of place on your cover? Obama is the World’s Black Man, yes, and we are all incredibly proud of him. But Galarrwuy Yunupingu is Our Very Own Black Man.

I normally hate being parochial, but I truly believe his piece should be read and appreciated and acted upon by every Australian, and it feels to me that by adding yet another smiling Obama to newsstands you may have missed a great opportunity to bring our country’s own healing back to the front page.

Yours sincerely
Sunili …

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a few notecards

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Dear America

THANK YOU!

♥ you guys!

— Sunili ×ο×ο

Dear News Ltd

You are such fucktards.

Having “FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT” as
your giant fucking headline completely
misses the fucking point, you fucking
morons. America has grown up. You
should too.

Very sincerely
Sunili

cc Janet Albrechtsen
cc Malcolm Turnbull

Dear Janet

“Plenty [of this]” and “plenty [of that]”
and “many many” means squat.  If it
was close, I would agree that there is
racism. But it wasn’t. You must be
a bleeding-heart little-l liberal if
you think Americans voted for him
JUST BECAUSE he is black.

However, since I’m feeling generous
this evening, I’ll pay you on your
Post-Racism thing.

Regards
Sunili

Dear California

ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME????

That you voted yes on 8 totes puts
a dampener on this.

Sunili (sad face)

Written by Sunili

5 November 2008 at 5:22 pm

Rupe’s Troops Rally for the Cause

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So I gave up reading news.com.au because it is like 99.6% tabloid crap, but The Australian is starting to piss me off again.  I can’t remember why I quit it last time, and I don’t know why I went back again this morning. A ‘comment’ piece in the flashing Opinion widget at the top of the site got my attention, though:

To what extent is the Democratic presidential nominee still in thrall to extremist friends, asks Mervyn Bendle?

The online copy editors @ News Ltd really need to get off the crack and actually read the articles before writing the subhead/dek.

One assuming this piece is going to be a considered analysis of the totally ridiculous (and totally refuted) claims about Obes Pallin’ Around With Terrorists, which one should expect in a country in which there are unlikely to be many swing/undecided voters, would in all likelihood be confused to find themselves reading propagandist drivel that reads like a stump speech delivered to rednecks who will respond with “Terrorist!” and “Kill Him”.

Merv, who is apparently a “senior lecturer in history and communications at James Cook University”, apparently also wants a job as She Who Will Not Be Named’s speechwriter.

Because why else will some bogan from a Queensland uni care to spout out random facts and 40-year old soundbites about The Weathermen, select snippets from Obama’s books about his influences and then make ominous warnings about What American Voters Really Need to Think About (dun dun dun):

The question that the American people may have to ask themselves is how much this extremist milieu still drives Obama’s political outlook and how much it will guide his decisions, policies and appointments throughout the federal government system as the next president of the US.

Don’t it just fill you with fear and trepidation? Don’t you hear the call to arms to ring up your friends Nelly-May and Billy-John who live in some Red State and warn them of the imminent danger of That Radical Extremist*?

Aside from the lame/misleading technicalities, why the eff is this article even in The AUSTRALIAN?

Yeah, ok, people are allowed to have their opinions, and WTF-ever, Rupert’s editorial cronies are allowed to print whoever’s opinions they want, but seriously, how is propaganda for the US election worthy of publication in this country’s national paper?

Sigh. I don’t know why I even bother.

Aside: not to get too nit-picky, or nothin’, but do you think McCain knows that a press release listing big donors who support him includes Leonore Annenberg, chief of protocol in the Reagan White House, the president/chair of the Pennsylvania-based Annenberg Foundation and the widow of Walter H Annenberg, the late publisher, philanthropist, ambassador, and founder of the  Chicago Annenberg Challenge (that being the nasty “radical” organisation that indelibly taints Obama with horrible, evil, lefty-terrorist-scumness)? The Republicans are a fricking joke.

* From the Devil’s Republican’s Dictionary/Thesaurus

Radical Extremist“: (n) 1. generally, a coloured person; or a white person who may like coloured persons. 2. Terrorist. See also: Socialist; Gun-Hater (But Bombthrower); Baby Killer.

Written by Sunili

13 October 2008 at 6:18 pm

career choices (advice from Michelle Obama)

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Ohmygod you guys!!

We just had to select our preferences for the first year rotation at The Firm next year, and have been invited to end of the month drinks to meet everyone, right, and just I randomly found this article from the WashPo – an exerpt from Michelle: A Biography, that is totally speaking to me right now re my life choices as mentioned the other week (and also here).

I am currently flipping out.

Since I can’t really put any coherent thoughts together, I will copy out the relevant bits, but you might want stop reading now because I am about to gratuitously compare my life to Michelle Obama’s.

Here we go:

A driven, focused student, Michelle had propelled herself into the Ivy League and, as a summer associate at Sidley, was starting to reap the benefits. Along with 60 or so other law students, she spent the summer of 1987 being courted by the firm’s highly paid partners — going to baseball games, lunches and happy hours. Her stint there led to a full-time job offer and a stark choice: Work as an associate at a big-name law firm earning about $65,000 a year, or look for something more public service-oriented but likely to be less lucrative.

GAH!!! That’s MY stark choice RIGHT NOW!!!

…she acknowledged that her years at Princeton had changed her. She entered the university, she wrote, determined to use her education to benefit the black community. But by the time she was preparing to graduate, she was not nearly so sure where her obligations lay. “As I enter my final year at Princeton, I find myself striving for many of the same goals as my White classmates — acceptance to a prestigious graduate or professional school or a high paying position in a successful corporation. Thus, my goals after Princeton are not as clear as before.”

GAH again!! I wanted to save Sri Lanka and stuff!!! But then I accepted the fancy job!!!!!!

In Michelle’s case, Sidley Austin was offering a prestigious name and a lucrative starting salary. Michelle had grown up with parents who lived paycheck to paycheck. She had student loans to pay off. In the end, she went with the private firm, a conventional choice and one she would eventually urge others not to make.

OHMYEFFINGGOODNESSSSSSS!!!!

I should stop now, but then there’s this, which is TOTALLY ME RIGHT NOW THIS YEAR and therefore makes the previous stuff MORE APPLICABLE:

She was, White recalls, “quite possibly the most ambitious associate that I’ve ever seen.” She wanted significant responsibility right away and was not afraid to object if she wasn’t getting what she felt she deserved, he says.

At big firms, much of the work that falls to young associates involves detail and tedium. There were all sorts of arcane but important rules about what could and could not be said or done in product advertisements, and in the marketing group, all the associates, not just the new ones, reviewed scripts for TV commercials to make sure they conformed. As far as associate work goes, it could have been worse — “Advertising is a little sexier than spending a full year reading depositions in an antitrust law suit or reviewing documents for a big merger,” says White — but it was monotonous and relatively low-level.

Abner Mikva, a former congressman and federal judge who is close to the Obamas and was an early mentor to Barack, finds that account of Michelle’s 20-something impatience amusing. “It doesn’t surprise me at all,” he says. Michelle is “clearly somebody who likes to make decisions and likes to be involved in exciting and important stuff. I can imagine writing memos for other lawyers — I don’t think that would have been her favorite dish of tea.”

Well at least that totally disproves the Whiny Gen-Y theory! Victory! I’m just an ambitious person, just like Michelle Obama, that’s all. No need to categorise that work/ambition/whinging thing any further.

Moving on through the article, on to the life/career choices stuff… there’s this bit about when Barack took her to meet a group of people he had worked with as a community organizer before he started law school:

Barack stood up that day, and he spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about the world as it is, and the world as it should be. And he said that, all too often, we accept the distance between the two, and we settle for the world as it is, even when it doesn’t reflect our values and aspirations.”

Yes. The crux of my dilemma.

The next bit of the article goes through the cutesy stuff about them going out, having a long distance relationship while Barrack was studying, getting engaged etc — she she kept nagging about getting marred.

Um. Nope. Totally not the same as her on this bit at all. I have not ever waited for boyfriend while he was studying far away NOR nagged aforemention boyfriend (of nearly four years) that we should just get married. Nup. Never.

Anyway. That’s not the point. The point is about careers:

… Michelle was ready to revisit the choice she’d made when she graduated from Harvard. At the time, she was still reeling from the death of her father in 1991. Fraser Robinson had died while getting ready to go to work, felled by what Barack, in his book “The Audacity of Hope,” describes as complications from a kidney operation. This was an event of enormous emotional and psychological magnitude for Michelle and the rest of her family. At the Democratic National Convention, she described her father as “our rock. Although he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his early 30s, he was our provider. He was our champion, our hero. But as he got sicker, it got harder for him to walk. It took him longer to get dressed in the morning.

“But if he was in pain, he never let on. He never stopped smiling and laughing, even while struggling to button his shirt, even while using two canes to get himself across the room to give my mom a kiss. He just woke up a little earlier, and he worked a little harder.”

His death made Michelle aware of how short life can be and prompted her to reflect, she has said in interviews. “If what you’re doing doesn’t bring you joy every single day, what’s the point?”

Her father’s death wasn’t the only one she was grieving. In 1990, one of Michelle’s closest friends from Princeton, Suzanne Alele, had died from cancer when she was only in her 20s. Alele, a computer specialist at the Federal Reserve, had always followed her heart, doing what felt right rather than what was expected of her. She was described in her alumni obituary as a “free spirit” who was much loved by her classmates.

Michelle resolved to live her own life in that vein. “I wanted to have a career motivated by passion and not just money,” she would tell the New York Times years later.

(emphasis added.)

Ok, truly, I am lucky that my dad nor any closest friends have died (touchwood), but that point is still pertinent to this whole dilemma.

And learning from other people’s mistakes/misfortunes/lessons is the best thing ever, right?

Ok, this is also something I worry about about, CLRLY making me even more the same as her:

In a 2004 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Michelle also expressed a lingering sense of guilt about enjoying so much material success as a big-firm lawyer while others who shared her origins and upbringing were not doing as well. She remembers asking herself, “Can I go to the family reunion in my Benz and be comfortable, while my cousins are struggling to keep a roof over their heads?”

Moreover, she wasn’t enthralled with the work at Sidley Austin and apparently didn’t think many of her colleagues were, either. “I didn’t see a whole lot of people who were just thrilled to be there,” she told Newsweek earlier this year. “I met people who thought this was a good life. But were people waking up just bounding out of bed to get to work? No.”

Yup. Same. I have lots of guilt about that stuff (like here) and, in the last few weeks, even in my non-corporate-law-firm job but that is still dealing with boring-corporate-law, I have been raaaather miserable.

Anyway, then: Michelle went to work at Chicago Department of Planning and Development:

Michelle’s new job was “economic development coordinator,” which city records describe as “developing strategies and negotiating business agreements to promote and stimulate economic growth within the City of Chicago.”

Hello! TOTALLY wrote my thesis on something in that broad general field!!

So now, having established that I AM JUST LIKE MICHELLE OBAMA, let’s have a look-see at what she has advised young people to do with their career choices:

After three years of toiling on behalf of Barney [as in, “The Dinosaur”] and Coors beer, Michelle was working to bring new jobs and vitality to Chicago’s neighborhoods. It was a turning point in her career and in the way she would later frame her life story. Michelle didn’t just leave the world of corporate law; she would go on to publicly reject it.

We don’t need a world full of corporate attorneys and hedge-fund managers,” she said earlier this year as she campaigned in South Carolina.

She and Barack both make a point of talking about how they left corporate America (After graduating from Columbia University, Barack spent one year as a researcher for a Manhattan financial firm before becoming a community organizer) and devoted themselves to public service. “We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do,” Michelle said at a campaign event in Ohio this past winter. “Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that.

So there you have it. The advice from Michelle Obama, THE WOMAN TO WHOM I AM TOTALLY JUST A MINI-HER, on THE VERY DECISION I AM LOOKING AT MAKING RIGHT NOW.

Oh gods. I need to lie down.

Written by Sunili

8 October 2008 at 9:30 pm

when affirmative is a negative

with 4 comments

I alluded to Sarah Palin the other day, and despite the fact I’d kinda made a promise to myself to not *actually* blog about her, I don’t think I can contain it any more.

Sometimes she’ll make me laugh, which is nice, but then I’ll realise the possibility of her being the next Dick Cheney, heck, the next Dubya, and I get freaked out.

Gah.  Do people not remember that Geena Davis show where the VP, who just so happens to be female, has to be the President because the actual president carked it?

You guys, that show GOT CANCELLED!!!!

And that was EVEN WHEN the VP/Prez was Geena Davis. WHO IS AWESOME.  But now, it could all happen IN REAL LIFE, but not with someone cool like Geena Davis, who was even in the Olympics, but with THIS PERSON:

ZOMFG!!!

We can’t just expect the programming executives to JUST CANCEL REALITY IF IT SUCKS and replace it with a better show!! If that was possible, it would have already happened, like 7.6 years ago!!!!

[break for Sunili to go and get a drink and maybe slam the door to the cabinet where all the tea is.]

Ok you guys.

I am going to try to not get angry.  This post is gonna be hard, but I just HAVE to say some stuff about affirmative action, and I know I could wait ’til I can blog about it without reference to her, but this is the perfect effing example of What Not To Do when you’re trying to do affirmative action.

“Affirmative action” is generally about positive steps taken to increase the representation of women or minorities to increase that particular group’s opportunities in employment, education, business or politics — you know, areas from which they have been historically excluded.

Stanford Uni’s Encyclopedia of Philosphy says, however, that:

When those steps involve preferential selection—selection on the basis of race, gender, or ethnicity—affirmative action generates intense controversy. …

The affirmative action debate throws up many ironies but one in particular should be noted. From the time in 1973 when Judith Jarvis Thomson conjectured that it was “not entirely inappropriate” that white males bear the costs of the community’s “making amends” to blacks and women through preferential affirmative action, the affirmative action debate has been distracted by intense quarrels over who deserves what. Do the beneficiaries of affirmative action deserve their benefits. Do the losers deserve their loss?

I want to leave those debates out of this for now.  I want to talk about just one practical thing that has been bugging me.

First of all, in case you don’t know me, let me say this: I am a brown woman.  Theoretically, I should join the Affirmative Action Fan Club. Because — again, theoretically — it should help me cruise through life.  If I (heaven forbid) one day end up in a wheelchair, I would be a DIVERSITY GOLD MINE.

But I just do not like the idea of getting picked for something simply because I am a women, or because I am an immigrant.

I would MUCH RATHER get the position because I was the best PERSON to fill that role. I would not want to be chosen to work as a Whatever Officer for Whatever Corp Pty Ltd simply because I was a brown woman, when there was a white guy, or a white woman who would be a much better Whatever Officer.

Similarly, if I was applying for a job where like, because of some special, inherent genetic trait, the person had to be a brown woman, I would apply knowing that in the selection process, they were looking for the best brown woman, who had the best genetic qualities and skills required to operate the XX-Melanin Machine owhatever.  If I didn’t have those skills or capabilities, but I got selected because I have the longest eyelashes, and that was important to diversity or some shit, I would totally be putting myself in a bad position.  What if I blew the XX-Melanin Machine??

Anyway. That was probably a shit analogy, but I hope you still get my point.

So let’s talk about Sarah Effing Palin, shall we?

We ALL KNOW she was only picked because she was a woman. There must be THOUSANDS of people better qualified to be the Vice President of the United States than she is.  The only thing she has going for her? She’s a woman.

Now, I know people will say that oh, if McCain wanted a women, there are heaps of other women he could have picked, so clearly she had something else going for her.

To those people I ask, honestly, truly, because I want to know: Like WHAT?

What, other than the twinkle in her eye and tattooed lipliner and that folksy accent, does she have that qualifies her for that job? “Executive experience”? Give me an effing break.

Someone in the Grand Old Party (thanks Loobie!) had the BRILLIANT idea that if they picked a woman, the could get all the Hillaryites to vote for a woman.

Do you know what Sarah Palin represents? She epitomizes everything that goes wrong when you pick someone for a role because you need to tick a box. For whatever reason, be it for legal requirements, to feel self-indulgently good about supporting minorities, or for a callous marketing decision, when you just pick a person because they are the Right Type of Person, but not the Right Person For The Role, you totally fuck it up.

You get someone totally effing horrible for the role.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do think there is a place for affirmative action.  You simply cannot deny the sociological truth that there are groups of peoples in communities and countries all over the world who have historically been marginalised, and that there needs to be measures put in place to redress that marginalisation.

But it does NOT improve the status of women to put a completely unqualified person in a position like candidate for Vice President of the United States of America.  For heavens.  If she gets it, they’re not going to let a woman run for an office like that FOR YEARS.  It’s going to take us like 50 years BACKWARDS!!

Or, for a more serious explanation than a LOLcat photo, from The Guardian:

At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable, preposterous vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a male candidate with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made such a brazen attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the voting public, it would have universally noted, discussed and mocked. Palin, however, has single-handedly so lowered the standards both for female candidates and American political discourse that, with her newfound ability to speak in more-or-less full sentences, she is now deemed to have performed acceptably last night. (via karion)

Sure, get girls or and Indigenous kids or heck, little white boys who grew up in a trailer park into targeted educational programs and whatnot to give them the OPPORTUNITY TO GOOD ENOUGH TO BE PRESIDENT.  That, my friends, is what affirmative action is SUPPOSED TO DO.

But no sane person would just stick some random African American there to prove that the country isn’t racist anymore.

Obama? Yeah, he’s black. But did he just get the Democratic Party’s nomination for Presidential candidate because he’s black? NO. He proved, through that gruelling and heart-wrenching primary process, that he was the BEST PERSON TO GO FOR THE JOB out of everyone that was running.

I supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries.  At that time, I thought that she was the best person running.  I totes respected Obama and thought he was great, but I was of the opinion that Hillary could continue the work she started while First Lady.  She didn’t get it and that’s fine.  I was disappointed but that’s the way it works.  Now I think Barack Obama is the best person to be President of the United States. Because, John McCain?

Do people in America want this guy to be around the Big Red Button for the next four years?

Really?

Oh gods.  Should I just start learning Chinese and Russian now?

101* things I missed blogging about over the last few weeks

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(*note: number may or may not refer to actual count of items in the list below, and most likely refers to the number of posts in this blog so far):

Right, that’ll do. I’m not going to count those things, because I suck at counting, but, I hope y’all enjoy those links til I find time to get back to seriously writing about stuff… hopefully not too long now!

Until then, in the words of Gossip Girl,

you know you love me
xoxo