Monday, March 3, 2008

Just back from Ohio...


I gave a talk at Miam-Ohio University this past Thursday. The title, "What Dave Chappelle can teach Michael Richards about American history," comes out of the first chapter of Racial Paranoia. Anthropologist Melissa Hargrove, who is writing a book based on her ethnographic research among the Gullah community, engineered the visit, and her students were amazing--at points, even inspiring. Several departments helped to make the trip happen, but their Center for American and World Cultures, run by Mary Jane Berman, another anthropologist, went out of its way to make my trip memorable. Thanks.

While I was in Ohio, I got a chance to catch some of the TV ads currently on offer from the two democratic candidates. They were running at something like a 6 to 1 clip (in Obama's favor), at least on the stations that I happened to be watching. Who'd have thought that so many of us would be following all four quarters of this political contest, just about from the opening tip, and not just the last two minutes of the game in late October and early November. Is this just another version of our current Reality TV fixation?

Since political scientist Melissa Harris-Lacewell is so convincing (and one of the most sophisticated analysts around on this stuff), I find myself inching, ever so slowly, to the Obama camp. If nothing else, the Kool Aid probably has more sugar than the versions pouring out of McCain's or Clinton's political pitchers.

On another note, folks have been asking me to explain the entire anthroman thing, doll and all. I'll get on that in a bit...I promise.

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