Nouveau Riche Obamas?

One more post:

I read an article in the NYTimes today by (iconic journalist) Maureen Dowd calling Barack Obama and Michelle Obama nouveau riche. Self-made brilliants who styled themselves as debutantes first, too persnickety to get their dainty hands dirty with “sordid politics” while in office, rendering them at least mildly ineffective, and then once out of office became James Gatz in gauche glitter attempting and miserably failing at the (somewhat lost) art of elite exclusion.

Well…I’m always fascinated and enthralled by a good F. Scott Fitzgerald reference and I love the New York Times. But, that being said, I don’t think the Obamas are entirely nouveau riche. Barack Obama’s father was a fairly elite man in his country. Right? And for Obama’s mother to travel to Africa, fall in love with his father and then conceive and raise a future Harvard educated US President she likely wasn’t entirely “hardcore middle-class” either, so to speak. Michelle wasn’t either. She was black. She is black. And when you consider the reality of racism in the US her family was easily in the upper-middle class, in a way. The Obama family didn’t really come from “humble origins” so why would we expect them to be so “humble”? Because we have a tendency towards racism and we don’t understand social class in the US (and we’ve likely spread both our hope and confusion around the world by now).

Of course a genuinely brilliant couple from some (not strictly upper-class) real privilege, despite the terrible hindrances of racism, who do what they did with their lives will seem potentially bourgeois. Or if they at all move with any stability into the upper-class: “nouveau riche”. That is if they’re at all self-serving, foolish, slightly backward and/or pushy in the way an entitled middle-class person at their worst can be. It’s very easy when you come from “blessings” combined with the gifted privacy of being a member of the American middle-class of the 20th Century (even slightly) to be self-serving, foolish, slightly backward and/or pushy. Wealth of any real sort combined with the freedom of being “20th Century middle-class” is a temptation to narcissism even for those who don’t tend towards narcissism. It takes a lot of effort or wisdom or even just grace to be entirely “good” in those shoes. They’re…somewhat nouveau riche maybe but I think…more than that…they’re unaware that being black in America didn’t automatically make them James Gatz turned Jay Gatsby. …Or no…no…maybe they know that. Maybe it’s just the rest of us (so to speak) who are realizing that there are no “second acts” in American History. When it came to Barack Obama’s 60th birthday party maybe they were just the Obama family being…the Obama family… “Just” the Obama family. And maybe the Obamas are little snobby…or want to be. *smile*

Just my thoughts on my blog.

Today: Just Blabbering

The war in Afghanistan should never have been fought or we should remain in Afghanistan. We just wasted an unfathomable amount of money, time, national respect and most importantly human lives.

Here’s the thing: we dismantled the country. And why did we have to in the first place? Because that region has been very troubled for a long time. Actually, books have been written about this. In The Graveyard of Empires comes to mind quickly (I happen to actually own a copy of that one).

…So maybe it was a war that never should have been fought and we’re just cutting our losses? *shrug* Sure. *eye-roll* It’s true that that might be our only rational choice but it’s beyond pathetic that we have to be such assholes now that we’ve failed to “fix it”. And make no mistake we seem like absolute assholes to lots of people for very good reason.

How can you say that?! People lost their lives fighting for democracy and our safety in that country! Yes. Yes, exactly! That’s my point. But if in the end the country reverts to violent, chaotic despotism what exactly was the point in the first place? Were we (as a country) delusional, narcissistic idiots who lack a profound amount of common sense or were we…umm…being run by people who…had a wildly different understanding of our role in the world? I’d argue the latter. Easily. And the problem is…they had good reason to believe what they did. When we stepped on to the world stage after WWII and took on the mantle Great Britain had previously held we assumed something…almost otherworldly in significance, power and responsibility. The fact that we only just barely seem to have grasped that concept since then is unspeakably embarrassing. I think we’ve mostly confused holding the literal Holy Grail and “Merlin’s Sword” with being given the “grown-up job” of driving mom’s car to go get groceries down the street. Yeah, we…we really aren’t just in the world to do “freedomy-stuff” and make sure everyone has enough fast food and (to our credit I guess) quality Hollywood films and television. We aren’t babysitting our little siblings who are sitting happily in the back seat and merely need french fries and something to entertain them so they don’t scream…

So…nowadays you can’t take over an entire country and just decide to permanently run it. Like…you can’t conquer an entire region and then just pretend to not be a colonial superpower running it. Nowadays. But I mean, I’m not sure but I think in the back of their minds at least, that’s what the Bush Administration had in mind. And like I said, I don’t entirely blame them…but…it was always going to be an impossible endeavor unless they were willing to be more open about what they were doing at least and the real reasons why. The fact that they couldn’t do that is a…umm…so-called “red flag”. They didn’t have a genuinely well planned, methodical and sane enough long-term plan or strategy.

I wrote a paper about this, years ago now, in college. My teacher (who was married but had been for years and while I was there was widely rumored to sleep with students) couldn’t figure out what I was trying to say. “You don’t have an argument! You need something you can hang it all on.” It may have been a poorly organized and badly written paper. But watching now it makes me furious to think that these thoughts (and more) were heard by an “Oxford educated” US professor *eye-roll* who only shrugged, smirked and couldn’t figure out “what I meant”. …But if I’d spent more time making the logistics of that paper perfect would he still have “struggled” with my “conclusions”? I’m pretty sure the answer is yes. Yes. Yes, he would have.

But…as people fall to rooftops of buildings in Afghanistan after clinging to American planes taking off I wonder when some things will end. When is American going to finally go bankrupt? I’m amazed by how long we’ve lasted! Because we’ve been running around the world like drunk adults who have literally lost their minds or are too drunk to know the difference, interrupting toddler dance recitals by putting on tutus and getting on stage with the kids. We will probably look like horribly evil or terribly stupid fools to history if we all survive as a species in 200 years. Or…we’ll have to have an intellectual and moral renaissance like nothing we’ve had before. Not a Puritanical hate parade to put the witch hunters to shame, but…like… …Oh well.

Yes, oh well. This post is badly written too and everyone who reads this (also in narcissistic delusion and self-indulgence) thinks I’m an ugly idiot who lies. Right? Or they think I’m just a “silly female”. “Too intense” maybe. …Or they’re obsessed with competing with me or tearing me down. Or…they “just don’t know”. Right? “It’s all so complicated.” Right? Is there any other response? (Sorry if there is) So, oh well. Oh well. Oh well… *sigh* My great grand uncle (who most people don’t even vaguely know about and that’s actually delightful to me) never believed complete cultural assimilation was wise or safe for immigrants to the US. He was patriotic in regard to the US, I think, but he seemed to believe that the “Old World” shouldn’t be silenced, in our own hearts and minds at least, as they had some necessary wisdom. Necessary wisdom for survival. Necessary wisdom to navigate running our piece of this supposed democracy. I think he was right.

Oh well.