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Can Barack Obama save the world from Thatcherism?

Anthony Barnett (London, OK): I went on a family party to see I Am Legend. It turned out that sitting in the darkness of Holloway Odeon watching rabies/vampires trying to eradicate the last man in New York (wonderful scenes of the city returning to 'nature') was an auspicious way of understanding what was taking place at that very moment in the caucuses in Iowa. The basic plot line of the film is that a slightly mad, Oxford type, English woman scientist Dr Alice Krippen (played in a perfect cameo by Emma Thompson) destroys the human race by trying to eradicate our bad side (cancer). But after billions of deaths said human race is saved at the last minute by lithe African-American Dr Robert Neville (played by Will Smith), who combines love of normal family life with skillful determination, iMacs and even better medical science. In short, the world is saved from Mrs Thatcher by Barack Obama.

The movie grossed over $200 million in four weeks.

This is why Dizzy is wrong to worry about whether America is ready for a black president. Answer: it has been since Colin Powell took charge of the armed forces, in some ways an even more respected position than President. The replacement of politics by the corporate politico-entertainment industry has anyway degraded the traditional role of president in public life and upgraded its monarchical and display element. Here blacks score high as they always have in the entertainment industry.

In terms of prejudice, antagonism to women is much more deeply and widely lodged now in the US than prejudice against patriotic black men. US style 'God-fearing families', of many faith variations, almost all put women into a subordinate role and this has been internalised by women themselves, providing a persistent female antagonism to Hilary. While in the public sphere women are being denigrated every day, the latest supposedly harmless description is "totty". Before every major US sports event women are dressed up like shaved poodles and trained to jump up and down with delight. No one would tolerate black minstrels or red indians being rolled out in such a way any longer. It is an educated women not at ease with her sex and therefore her humanity who gets above her science and inserts the rabies virus into the human species (pace Oxford chemist and lawyer who played with neo-liberalism, privatisation and long-range invasions). More important, in terms of forthcoming elections, the black American is fully in command of the best science without losing touch with his human angst or love of bacon for breakfast. He is not just a potential president, he alone has the combination of skills to save mankind. Every single seat sold for I Am Legend makes Obama more electable and puts Hilary on the wrong side of the great plague.

Can Barack Obama save the world from Thatcherism? Maybe not. But he can certainly get elected.


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