Arrrrgh! Almighty Zod really doesn’t want me to walk. My L4/L5 lumbar disc has re-herniated and I am in agony.
But enough whining.
Two things come to mind today. Have you heard the recent news about Hilary Clinton? Video here:
Essentially, a Congolese university student asked her about what Bill Clinton’s opinion on something would be, and Hilary snapped back annoyedly: “My husband is not secretary of state. I am… You want me to tell you what my husband thinks? If you want my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I am not going to be channelling my husband.”
There are several thoughts that arise from this event. First, the fact is that the student had actually asked about President Obama’s opinion, not President Clinton’s opinion. The translator had screwed up, apparently. One hopes that the student received an apology for undeservedly receiving Clinton’s wrath.
Second, now we see why Obama could never have chosen Hilary as his VP. The spectre of Bill would have always been present. It would have been a three person administration, with Obama’s being the smallest personality!
Third, yes, it was a sexist question… maybe. If it had been asked of any other woman, it would certainly have been a sexist question. But, Zod amighty, your husband is Bill Freaking Clinton! Everyone wants to know what he thinks about anything vaguely political! Hilary, your husband might not be Secretary of State, but I don’t think anyone doubts he would be an excellent one. This has nothing to do with your abilities, or with your status as a woman, but more to do with Bill’s enormous shadow and diplomatic greatness.
If Margaret Thatcher’s husband had risen to the equivalent post in the UK, you’d better believe he’d be constantly hectored about what Margaret would have thought, as well!
Lastly, the Secretary of State is supposed to be the USA’s top diplomat. A diplomat is supposed to be sensitive to the ways of thinking of othersrs. While visiting the Congo, Hilary was asked a question by a Congolese that is not an untoward question in that culture. Yes, she has a right to be offended, but surely she could have expressed her unhappiness a little more…. diplomatically?
If I were more clever, I’d work in a “ducking from sniper fire” comment somewhere. Instead, I give you leave to insert your own joke.
Item two today is the Chris Kattan miniseries vehicle Bollywood Hero. I haven’t seen it, and maybe it’s good. What I do know is that in New York last week, I saw the miniseries pushed heavily in the media. It was particularly heralded by Indians as further evidence of their “arrival” into the mainstream, that an SNL regular would choose to star in an overtly Indian vehicle.
The story, such as it is, concerns a failing American actor who chooses to restart his career by starring in a Bollywood production.
My problem is that this has nothing to do with the “arrival” of Indianness. It’s more of the same Orientalism dressed up in miniseries clothing. The star is not Indian, but American. It’s not even a real star, but a C-list Chris Kattan. The heart of the story is not the Indian production, but the journey of the white American. It’s the Razor’s Edge and City of Joy all over again, but without the depth and importance.
Okay, gotta go lie down again.