Some Claiming Hussein- and Race-Baiting Strengthen ObamaThe last few days have brought back discussion of Barack Obama’s race and heritage in a way not seen since South Carolina. On Monday, of course, a photo of Obama trying on traditional Somali clothing circulated. Then, in the Cleveland debate two days ago, Tim Russert grilled Obama over the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan and the praise lavished on Farrakhan by Obama’s pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. Finally, John McCain has been trying to disassociate himself from the fearmongering tactic of dropping Obama’s Muslim-sounding middle name, Hussein, carried out separately by talk-radio host Bill Cunningham and, in a press release yesterday, the Tennessee Republican Party. Into this burgeoning mess wade our pundits.
The ‘Real Housewives of New York City’ Don’t Exist in a VacuumAs you all know, Gossip Girl is returning to the airwaves soon, therefore saving us from having to unleash all of our obsessive glee on another unwitting subject. But if we were to do so, the victim of our endless critiques would probably have been The Real Housewives of New York City. Come on, you know you’re going to love hating yourself for loving to hate it. We got hold of the first two episodes, and they did not disappoint. The show serves to show us a whole new class of people that we haven’t really seen before. The Orange County edition was just as campy and trashy as one would expect; after all, money is what shows status out there. Here, class still matters. Real Housewives trains a telescope on the little-examined but arguably powerful firmament of wealthy adults in Manhattan, those who aggressively crowd around established society stars, hoping that some of the glitter may fall on them. They’re the people in the background of Bill Cunningham’s pictures in the “Styles” section, the donor names you don’t recognize, the bodies filling in the chairs at Da Silvano. It’s kind of uncomfortable to watch, because at the end of the day most of the women are sort of sweet, happy, and slightly flawed. You feel like you’re watching a show about your mom’s kooky friends. What saves the show, though, is the reactions of the supporting cast family members, friends, and staff around the five ladies. They make the women redeemable and real. For every nutty social climber, apparently there is a nanny, a tennis pro, one to three children who have a 50-50 chance of surviving boarding school, and a devoted husband or boyfriend. This week in New York, we profiled our five favorites. Check it out, and if anybody’s slept with the tennis pro, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We don’t want to publish anything; we just have some questions.
Behind Every Housewife [NYM]