Posted by sepoy on August 06, 2007 · 3 mins read

mypanelAs billed, I was at the podium at 4:00, ready to change the discourse in our nation. Well, it may take a little more than that. I presented a rant-free version of the post below which tried to highlight the fallacies in Obama's argument. My co-panelists were Juan Cole - who gave a wonderfully off-the-cuff rundown of Dick Cheney's pathology and the Oil Connection, John Mearsheimer - who predicted an Apartheid state in Israel [sounded more of a statement of fact rather than a prediction, to me] and Dennis Perrin - who tried to make light of our current predicament, thankfully!

I didn't get many questions but I didn't expect to. It was gratifying, however, that tons of people introduced themselves to me over the weekend, and told me how much they appreciated my remarks, asked what they could do to help. I had no good answers. The section of my remarks about the Lawyers was the best 'eye-opener'. Just the fact there is a middle-class, a professional middle-class in Pakistan was astounding to many. That this middle-class was out rioting in the streets for Justice was revelatory. One lawyer I spoke to said with a look of wonderment, "If a Lawyer picks up a rock...". Such is the state of our media that we don't even know that Pakistan has a middle class that shaves.

pleadersAny warm glow dissipated at the Presidential Leadership forum where Bill Richardson and John Edwards wholeheartedly agreed with Barack Obama. Edwards recounted that he met Musharraf and had a conversation during which Musharraf claimed that all of Pakistani children go to a Madrasa. Uff.

I had some conversations with the Obama campaign and gave them the text of my remarks and my slides. Maybe something will come of that - but I doubt it. Obama does not seem too keen to realize his mistake at the moment - Let Them Burn Flags.

I attended both Clinton and Obama's smaller Q&As with the Kossacks. Hillary is quite the Presidential but Obama is very charismatic, quick on his feet, and has a great vibe about him. Impressive.

In general, YearlyKos reminded me of all the tech conventions that I attend - white, middle-aged with suitable floral printed attire, and hair that defies treatments known to humanity. Word is that they will change the name to Netroots Convention or something boring. Good luck with that.

I have a case of the Mondays which will only be cured when I settle in to watch Bourne Ultimatum later tonight. Do you know that Bourne's alter-ego is a professor of Asian Studies? Yes, think on that.


Desi Italiana | August 07, 2007

"Edwards recounted that he met Musharraf and had a conversation during which Musharraf claimed that all of Pakistani children go to a Madrasa. Uff." I will never, ever, tire of saying that General Mush is milking the Islamic Peril Myth :) If it were up to him, he'd have every single Pakistani attending madrassas so that he can then turn around and tell his benefactors that he's the only hope. On another note, I applaud you for making Obama supporters squirm in their seats. "In general, YearlyKos reminded me of all the tech conventions that I attend - white, middle-aged with suitable floral printed attire, and hair that defies treatments known to humanity." Tell me about it! I've got opinions on the net movement (the American political blogosphere, "netroots" and so on) and the demographics of the people who are most actively engaged in it. If you could say more about/expand on your thoughts about the demographic profile of these folks and how that translates into politics (if it does at all), I'd be very interested in hearing it.

Farangi | August 07, 2007

Um, the white guys of good intentions and broadband connections are, like, right here. Ixnay on the oftsay igotrybay, okay?

Desi Italiana | August 07, 2007

Farangi, No bigotry here :) What I meant to say is that according to whatever surveys/papers/research we have on the topic of blogosphere and political net movements (which actually makes up a small slice of internet activity, ie the number of people who reguarly read blogs is very small, and even smaller are the number of political bloggers), the political blogger profile indicates: 1. has had graduate education 2. earns above the median salary 3. tends to be more liberal, and though the blogosphere sector for radicals is comparatively smaller than the liberals, there seems to be more of a flourish of radical politics 4. is male, but that is changing with women catching up 5. is white, but others are making their own space So when we are taking about netroots politics, the framing and discussion of issues tend to be translated by the writers... And I was interested in what others had to say about this; but it may be going off topic.

Saadia | August 07, 2007

so edwards agrees wholeheartedly with obama, eh? man, i was really beginning to _like_ this guy. and desi italiana, i totally agree with your take on musharraf. he _has_ been milking the Islamic Peril Myth - Paki commentators have been saying this for a while.

lapata | August 07, 2007

"5. is white, but others are making their own space" Does separate but equal work for you, Farangi?

Farangi | August 07, 2007

Oh my CMmers. I want everybodyat the barbeque. Mostly because Sepoy makes a kick-ass curry goat on the grill. It's a dish he calls "My Plans for Orientalism." Seriously, though. My comment was only in jest. I sometimes forget how broad CM's audience is these days, and not everyone knows that Sepoy and his brood, whom I often refer to in casual conversation, lovingly, as "you people," are sort of post-racial. Conversations on race among the family here at CM tend to be frank, and are had without a lot of hand-wringing or pussy-footing, esp. among those of us who know one another in real-life, and have had to dig each others nappy hair out of sink drains. This is where CM will part ways with traditional "libs." Farangi say fuck race consciousness, unless it gets us somewhere. And in this case, it was only supposed to get us chuckling until the next round is delivered. Onward!

Farangi | August 07, 2007

Lapata: Has Seep asked you for reproduction rights for your essays and paintings, which MUST appear in CM's first published volume? If he hasn't, I am.

Desi Italiana | August 07, 2007

Lapata: "Does separate but equal work for you, Farangi?" Cute :) Seriously,though. I have been mulling this over. One of the great things about blogosphere is that if you want to talk about issues that are personal to you and discuss things from a certain standpoint, then you can. The bad thing about this is what Lapata says in jest (or maybe not)- that it can also allow people to group themselves in separate spheres,consolidate that, and rarely go beyond that. For example, if you look at the blogroll of some blogs, they might be "community" focused and what not. And though I try to read a wide variety, I don't regularly read, say, the KKK's website (sadly). But think about the big name political blogs and political bloggers in this country... Farangi: "Farangi say fuck race consciousness, unless it gets us somewhere. " I love you for saying that, and I wish I could say fuck race consciousness too. Except it's not so easy when people keep labeling you and MAKE YOU CONSCIOUS OF IT. As such, I would like to say- "Fuck those who make me race conscious." Let me give you real life examples. I have noticed as of late that everytime someone meets me initially or is getting to know me, Indian food will inevitably come up: "Oh, I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE Indian food! And, like, I LOVE saag pUnIr!!!!!" and "I learned how to make CURRY-- how much CURRY POWDER do you put in your lentils?" Some folks have taken to show me that they know about "Indian traditions" and "Indian culture" by discussing wedding saadis and crap they've read in books, gleaned from TV, or from whereever. And nowdays, for some reason, people keep assuming I'm Muslim (probably because I talk about Pakistan so often), and anytime any issues about Muslims and Islam come up, people will turn, look at me,and ask me for my opinion, then backtrack and ask me if I'm Muslim. And just yesterday, someone said, "You're obviously Middle Eastern. From whereabouts? I LOVE FALAFEL." I ain't Middle Eastern, I'm originally from the East Coast, and I love falafel too, but I don't care that you love falafels. At first I thought I was being sensitive and maybe reading this the wrong way. But then I asked myself whether I say, "OH MY GOD, I LOVE APPLE PIE!!" when I meet white folks for the first time, or during the introductory phase. Or, tell white folks how much I understand and love Thanksgiving. I never brag to new Arab acquaintances that I know what maqluba is, I know what goes into the making of muhammara, and that I know how to make hommus. I never jump up and down upon meeting a Mexican and squeal, "Oh Lord, I LOVE GUACAMOLE AND BURRITOS!" Is this multiculturalism gone all wrong? Or maybe people are socially inept and can't find anything better to say? Usually I'm gracious and will go ahead and make small talk with rubbish like this, but now I'm really irritated. The next time someone tries to show me that they know about "Indian culture," or they mention naan just one more time, I will say, "Do you want an effing prize for 'Most Informed in Indian Culture Award?!" Then, if you're a minority AND a woman, you have to contend with things like, "You should really apply to Yale- you'd totally get in, because you're smart, a woman, AND a minority." Now, why would race and gender come up? And why would this person have to pull out the race and gender card? You see where I am going with this...* *In the interests of full disclosure, all of the experiences I am talking about is not from a young, "uninformed" cohort. All these people are in their early 30's, 40's, and 50'S. This is also San Francisco. We are also in the 21st century, year 2007. But you still come across this stuff.

lapata | August 08, 2007

Farangi: Isn't publishing blog archives sort of like gmail paper?

Farangi | August 08, 2007

All good. I meant only MY race consciousness. Lapata, would you call our greatest hits mere "blog archives?"Pshaw.

tsk | August 10, 2007

[link to your speech] didn't see it posted, so i thought i'd put it here. granted, it's an edited version of the previous post.