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Monday, June 30, 2008

Hussein fashion

Mark Hussein Montalbano has a Hussein t-shirt for sale. I don't have one yet, but we agreed to swap a blog post for a shirt. So here it is. Mark says the following about the shirt:
Barack Hussein Obama. It's a beautiful name, which means handsome or beautiful. Barack Hussein Obama, despite the birth-given name, is not Muslim, though, the name symbolizes his openness to all walks of life. Acceptance. This Obama t-shirt was designed to celebrate his birth-given name. It's more of an effort to celebrate acceptance of anyone's name, but it was created mainly because of the fact that our soon-to-be President has many times been unfairly smeared because of the name he goes by. The suggestion that he should not be our President because of a name, which happens to have a beautiful meaning, is the very reason to celebrate it and let the country know that we're not going to stand for these prejudices.

Here's the story behind the shirt. This is inspired by the many beautiful people who blog on barackobama.com, Facebook, and the many other individual blogs who have made this very statement by putting "Hussein" in between their real names. It's such a beautiful gesture to expose us all to the fact that it is a very nice name...and that it just so happens to mean "beautiful".

Here is the link to Mark's shirts.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

I am Hussein

Here is a link to the original 'I am Hussein' manifesto of February 28, 2008. Meanwhile, I am doing two brief interviews at MSNBC tomorrow morning at 9.30 and 11.00 a.m. ET. You can also join the 'I am Hussein' Facebook group.

If you're here for the first time, welcome. Here are some non-political greatest hits from my blog:

Dizzee Rascal
Burger King
My defence of gangsta rap
The Sopranos' finale

If you happen to be a fan of David Byrne, use the search box on the right. I blog about his work on a regular basis. Thanks for visiting.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hussein made me do it

I know that when Barack Obama becomes president he will disappoint us. That's what politicians do: the best ones try their best to live up to their promises and our expectations, but the one thing we can say about every leader is that he or she has disappointed us at one time or another. Obama is not even president yet and already I'm disappointed that he has joined his party's capitulation over telecom immunity in the FISA bill. And don't get me started on his worse-than-McCain corn-heavy energy policy.

What Obama does that is rare is inspire people. There are skeptics, as there should be, about a man whose greatest talent may simply be saying the things that motivate others, but would it be so bad to have a president who brought out the best in the people? What other leader have we ever been able to say that about?

Some of the Obama-inspired undertakings are just for fun: posters, online videos, and so on. But does anyone know of an instance where someone was inspired to creativity or commitment by John McCain? I mean besides It's Raining McCain.

Tomorrow's New York Times has an article by Jodi Kantor entitled 'Obama Supporters Take His Middle Name as Their Own'. Apparently there are a lot more of us out there all with the same idea. Next up: let's all do the terrorist fist jab.

I have not seen anything like this before, so I don't know whether all this inspiration will amount to a renewal of the republic whereby people all over the country from sea to shining sea start to care about things like the rule of law and civil discourse again. The worst that could happen is that people around the world will sharpen their digital video editing skills. The best that could happen? It is a very healthy thing when that is the question we find ourselves asking.