Sade, Lovers Rock
Musiq SoulChild, Aijuswanaseing
Another film that does that, albeit via a completely different route, is Spike Lee's latest film, Bamboozled. While triggering plenty of controversy and charges of racism, it is, in fact, an excellent testament to the way TV uses and misuses African-American images. Katherine Monk, film critic for the Vancouver Sun, had it right when she wrote that with Bamboozled, Spike Lee was "destined to set the record straight about what he really thinks about race, power, the entertainment industry, and the human condition in general." Many people think he went too far, that to use blackface, even satirically, is too charged and too wounding. But how long can we tiptoe around the hard issues and watch as nothing substantive changes?
Case in point: The November 12 issue of the New York Times Magazine was devoted to Hollywood. In 145 pages of photos, there was one person of color, blaxploitation film icon Pam Grier. Even the Republican party knows enough to at least have more token minorities in the public eye. What the New York Times Magazine clearly demonstrated is that Hollywood is still snowblind white.
And perhaps that's why films like Bamboozled are necessary, and why more stories like the one told in Men of Honor�true stories about honorable lives�need to be produced. I don't believe most people, particularly most white people, think too often about how Hollywood is or isn't depicting the races, or how Hollywood's view may or may not be reflected in the real world. We put blinders on rather than acknowledge the kind of prejudice and bigotry that allows some to succeed at the expense of others. We don't understand how much we all stand to gain by eliminating racism and embracing the pluralism of the world. If we did, we would be fighting tooth and nail to eradicate inequalities and our seeming inability to even notice them. Each day we choose separateness is a day we miss out on the world "as a carousel of color, color, color" (as The Wonderful World of Disney theme song used to say) that this white woman in Georgia, helped along by Hollywood, steadily denies.
Do you think that there's a danger that you guys will become ghettoised in West London?
That's something I've always tried to fight against, the notion of West London and 'broken beats' and such. I think that when people give us those sorts of labels they tend to make us look a bit parochial. It just makes us look like we're a clique and we're not really about that. We're taking it from Berlin to Japan, from Milan to LA - all over the place. We're all Djing all over the world now and trying to represent the music in that environment. In terms of the music, I think all of the producers and musicians that work in this circle are all very talented and they've all got their own sounds and I don't really think that you could say that our music is generic in that sort of sense. If you listen to my music and compare it to Phil Asher's or Orin Walters' or IG Culture's or Dego's or Alex Attias', it's all very different.
A.k.a.: nu-jazz, broken beats -- semantic profusion is a hallmark of the Next Medium-Sized Thing; the slighter the claims to novelty, the more names there'll be for the alleged genre.
IG Culture/Likwid Biskit/New Sector Movements, Phil Asher, Patrick Forge, Modaji, Bugz in the Attic, Alex Attias/Mustang/Plutonia, Domu
People, Visons Inc., Main Squeeze, Laws of Motion, 2000 Black, Bitasweet.
* What is it exactly?
An Afrodelic boogie wonderland where Alice Coltrane, Airto Moreira & Flora Purim, Rotary Connection and Fela Kuti mingle with 4 Hero, Masters at Work and Carl Craig. In other words, a fusion of old-school fusion ('70s stuff) with '90s fusion (arty drum & bass, deepest house, the jazzier side of Detroit techno) to produce a brand nu skool of fusion. There's so much fusing going on it's getting confusing. Phusion hallmarks include a passion for time signatures other than four-to-the-floor, a mix of acoustic, analog and digital textures, and a quality of hands-on feel and fluency to the music even when it's computerized. West London connoisseur sh--, dig.
* What the skeptics will say:
It's just acid jazz with samplers.
"It may be that actors are just thinner than other people," the great man himself once told a reporter with a straight face while munching on a repast of salad and Diet Coke.
So, like, can you tell I haven't listened to the radio in a while? 'Cause this was all I used to do mornings back in Silver Spring when I was 11 and 12 -- sit by the radio with a pen and pad, listen to songs on WAVA 105-FM and Q107 and take notes (especially during the weekend countdown shows, like Casey Kasem's "American Top 40" and whatnot). Darn the Internet for blowing up, like, years after my adolescence ended. Still, never too late to have a happy childhood, they say.
"Let's Spend The Night Together," Rolling Stones
"Dazzle," by Siouxsie and the Banshees
"With Or Without You," U2
"Talk Dirty to Me," Cinderella
"All Lit Up," Buckcherry
"You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)," Dead Or Alive
"Stripped," Rammstein (Depeche Mode cover)
"Girls on Film," Duran Duran
"She Sells Sanctuary," The Cult
As Pataki, who flew to Florida to defend Bush in the election recount impasse earlier this month, appointed Raymond Martinez as Department of Motor Vehicle Commissioner, a reporter asked if his choice ever had been ticketed for speeding or drunk driving.
Martinez replied, "Yes, I have a DWI from 1989, and also a speeding ticket from 1997." DWI is shorthand for a "driving while intoxicated'' offense.
"I guess that qualifies you to be President of the United States then," Pataki said.
The average length of a one-way commute over the pass is 58.3 miles, according to a recent survey co sponsored by the San Joaquin group. The extreme distances to work are spurred by housing prices that fan out like aftershocks from the epicenter � Silicon Valley and San Francisco. In San Carlos, for instance, in Silicon Valley, where the median home price is $680,000, the mayor recently said he was leaving because he could not afford a home. Every mile east of San Francisco roughly equals a $5,000 reduction in housing costs, Mr. Locke said. The median price in Tracy is $225,000; in Manteca, 15 miles farther east, it is $161,000.
"I look at it as I'm paying myself half a million to commute," said Jeff Essex, 28, who recently moved from Sausalito, across the Golden Gate Bridge, to Patterson, 15 miles south of Tracy, where he commutes via the commuter train to Sunnyvale.
"The Central Valley was always `the other California,' isolated and distinct," said Carol Whiteside, president of the Great Valley Center, a public-policy organization in Modesto. "Tracy is the intersection where two worlds collide."
As to why I would discuss lynching photographs during religious and festive holidays: if such holidays mean anything, it is because these celebrations mean taking questions of brutality, sacrifice and redemption seriously. And as visual evidence and testimony, "Reflections in Black" helps repudiate once again the awful lies and obsessions that created lynching.
The images in "Without Sanctuary" (Twin Palms Press) belong to several genres. Like the pictures of Cambodian prisoners taken by their interrogators and torturers, they record what we can call civil war crimes. The lynching pictures were taken by local or traveling photographers who made a killing (pun intended) selling them to the citizens. The images are also what the historian Leon F. Litwack calls, in his introduction, race pornography: they were often made into picture postcards that were mailed, with curt, gleeful or venomous messages to friends and foes with nary a peep.
BG: Does it bother you that someone like Moby gets more props in the mainstream than the innovators? I've heard writers call him the "king of techno." It's an insult and grossly inaccurate.
MJ: Well, he's the most famous, so everybody's going to believe him. When I see somebody come from my field and they get famous, I say, more power to them. I'm not going to give them shit and say, "I taught them everything." Eventually he's going to pull other people up with him. He'll get all the money and then look at the other people that built the bridges and see them broken down, and he's going to feel a little guilty about it. That's what happened with the Beatles � they went and got all the old blues guys and put them onstage with them.
BG: But then dance and rock wrongly become perceived as white-originated music.
MJ: I just want someone to get really big, or nobody's going to remember me at all. Where would rock and roll be if Bill Haley and the Comets hadn't cleaned it up and brought it to the masses? Or Elvis, where would rock be without guys like that? The majority of the people are white, 11 to 1. So if you make a record, you want to make it for white people so you make more money. The white kids are financing the music right now.
The Vert system is linked to the Internet via a wireless modem, as well as to databases and a global positioning system that uses satellites to identify a taxi's location. Two of the ads were created specifically for Vert to take advantage of the system's real-time capabilities. One has the "Top 10" stock quotes from Nasdaq, and the other reports the weather.
While White House entertaining and state dinners demand formal dress at times, Washington can expect the new president to lean more toward casual evenings and events.
Among the 1,500 formally attired guests at a dazzling champagne and black-tie salute from fellow Republicans in Washington this spring, Bush was tuxedo-less.
Dressed in a dark suit, he prefaced his remarks with a joke about the apparent sartorial faux pas, one that parodied the infamous "no new taxes" pledge of his father, former President George Bush, ending with the punch line, "No new tuxes."
But in truth it turned out he didn't want to be photographed in a tuxedo because, as he said later, he believes black tie symbolizes a kind of elitism that did not sit well with his campaign as a different kind of Republican.
Indeed, only once during his 18-month run for the presidency was Bush pictured in formal dress and the occasion demanded white tie and tails.
"I can't believe all this entire audience knows the words to 'Lodi Dodi," said the friend to my right.
"Come on," I replied, "you know all these white bastards own a copy of 'Doggystyle' just like you."
Mr. Bush arched his eyebrows more than once when describing Senator John Ashcroft's qualifications for attorney general. Mr. Bush stretched out the word "in-teg-rity" more than once, to let it settle in. He worked the facial expressions again when he suggested Mr. Ashcroft's Justice Department would "follow the truth."
After Jack clumsily tries to intervene in a Christmas Eve racial incident at his neighborhood convenience store, a homeboy angel named Cash (Don Cheadle) decides to show him what his maxed-out life is lacking. (If I had a dollar for every movie in which a black person serves as a white person's font of magic and wisdom, I could start my own damn studio.)
"I was pretty young when I realized that music involves more than playing an instrument ... It's really about cohesiveness and sharing. All my life, I've felt obliged to try and teach anyone who would listen. I've always believed you don't truly know something yourself until you can take it from your mind and put it in someone else's."
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
In D.C., snow is glistening
A worrisome sight, he's happy tonight
Walkin' in a Dubya wonderland
Gone away is the Gore-bird
Here to stay (on fast forward)
A bunch of old clucks -- it's Reagan redux!
Walkin' in a Dubya wonderland
In the winter George can build a Cabinet
Making sure one-fourth of it is brown
We'll say, "Are you worried?" He'll say, "No man --
My GOP peeps think I'm really down!"
Later on aides'll conspire
(As he dreams by the fire)
To brew unafraid
Injustice in spades
Walkin' in a Dubya wonderland.
You spent your entire campaign being as conservative about your compassion as you had to be in order to win, and now here you come looking for support? I don't think the 90 percent of people who didn't vote for you are feelin' you on those issues you're pushing.
Certainly education and economic growth transcend racial politics, but you didn't run on (or win on) those issues with blacks. You'll only get but so far in pushing "church-based issues" with the preachers, 'cause you think taking care of Sunday makes things fine -- but you're leaving out the other six days of the week, including the work week (where blacks are supposed to roll over and let you abolish affirmative action) and school classes (where blacks are supposed to fall for the okeydoke, accept a pittance in taxpayer money to enroll in charter schools and parochial institutions and ignore the public schools' growing needs).
Handpicked though they may be, these preachers aren't blind, either: I should hope they're well aware that you're trying to go 'round Robin Hood's barnyard to avoid meeting with anybody with sense who would strenuously call you out, a.k.a. those "civil rights leaders."
There's what you say that you believe in, and then there's what you do and what that shows you truly believe in.
Follow-up questions: In what world are you making "extraordinary efforts" to reach out to African-Americans by appointing Colin and Condoleezza to be your global spear-carriers? Their hires have been telegraphed plainly for months now, and it's more a part of your strategy to make much ado out of it than for it to be of any benefit to the black community.
There are so many things I like about America and Americans - openness, enthusiasm, curiosity, directness, but I can�t stand the wall to wall TV. I made it my mission to switch off as many televisions as possible. There is something weird about walking into an empty hotel gym at six in the morning and finding the TV blaring out some talk show. I like my own company. I like peace. I like to look out of the window while I�m on the running machine and watch the world go by. It�s a lot more interesting than the canned version. As other people came into the gym, they�d say "Something wrong with the TV?" and I�d explain that I had turned it off. Immediately I was regarded with suspicion. Then I explained that I am British. This seemed to cover a multitude of mental illnesses and nobody messed with me. One lady, looking dolefully at the blank screen, finally confessed, �I don�t like the silence. It�s kinda quiet.�
Black leaders keep making Democratic party affiliation a test of the black identity itself. This may get out the vote, but it makes blacks the easiest group in American life for both parties to take for granted. As Mr. Gore made clear by separating himself from Jesse Jackson's claim of racial injustice in Florida voting, black Democrats are an afterthought even to Democrats.... and Ms. Dickerson makes the strongest case about what should be at the top of Dubya's "oughta" list.
He needn't aver that racism scuttled Florida's black vote. He needn't promise to put a new and improved VoteMeister 10.0 in every precinct. He must simply take the claims seriously, research them thoroughly, put the facts before America and demand that it care.
Either that or his minions had better spend the next four years practicing a stealth suppression of the black vote. We always knew it was still happening. Now the whole world does, too.
Research indicates that race does not determine how children act, but it does determine how they are disciplined. Nationally, Black students represent only 17 percent of public-school enrollment, but 32 percent of suspensions. Twenty-five percent of all Black students were suspended at least once over a four-year period. In San Francisco, African-American students -- 18 percent of enrollment -- are 56 percent of suspensions and expulsions. Black students are regularly put out of school for nonviolent conduct that is termed disrespectful, disruptive or disobedient. These subjective assessments leave room for bias.
Of course, nations struggling to create a new identity or character are not the only ones where a hummable tune or a colorful scrap of material are endowed with such power.... or down in South Africa.
No issue galvanized South Carolina politics quite as much in recent years as whether the Confederate flag should fly atop the State House in Columbia. Did it symbolize slavery, as many claimed, or was it a piece of benign memorabilia from Southern history, a proud emblem of states' rights, as others insisted? When the state legislature voted to remove it last May, some commentators said it was not because the issue was resolved but because politicians and their constituents had grown weary of the endless debate.
The end of apartheid in South Africa required a rearrangement of national symbols. A contest was declared but in the end, in keeping with the spirit of a negotiated revolution, a new flag and a new anthem were produced by committee, representing a compromise: the anthem has alternating verses borrowed from the hymn of the liberation movement and from what had been the official hymn, and the flag has six colors.
"This is the year 2000. You have people all over the world going into this music scene. For Asian people this shouldn't be a problem,'' she said, adding: "I did encounter some discrimination while I was releasing this album in the States. It was quite difficult.''
But Lee, a self-proclaimed optimist, quickly brushes aside the specter of racism by saying she was cheered by the support her English album got from Asian fans in the United States.
It's a combination of factors. The low expectations that people have of themselves and that culture may have of them. People are more concerned with making money than they are making quality, art or making life a truly more interesting, substantive experience. They are interested more in comforting themselves and luxury and silly buffoonery, cheap laughs and more goods. Coupled with the fact that they are just inundated with sound. You get into an elevator, there's music playing. Dentist office, music playing. Music used to be a special occasion. People didn't just have it around. So when they heard music, their brain activated in a different way. Now, people can't focus to begin with and then you crowd them with information - it's not their fault in a lot of ways. Technology and the culture has accelerated to the point of what? You're going to listen to a record all the way through. Listen to it? Not while you are driving, not while you are doing different things. That's an amount of focus most people don't have time for.
... A lot of things are possible. We are in the new century now. It's entirely possible that people will stop asking with a snide look on their face, look at all the stuff that we made. We are beyond it all and look at who we are and what we've been and they'll start saying we are here now and what can we be? And what can we possibly be next? And when people start asking that question, they are going to have to look to art. Art always asks that kind of question. We can do whatever we feel like. Human beings are the most incredible things that have ever existed. That is the majesty that is displayed when a masterful player performs for people. That is the dignity that is brought to bear when Wayne Shorter or Bobby McFerrin or Miles Davis or the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform. Look at what people can do. We can do it. It's just that 1.5 percent of the population is interested in buying the damn records that display that dignity.
"I think what we want to do is break the cycle of [where] a band goes on tour for nine months, turns into monsters, then has to sort themselves out and piece together the bits in order to make another [album]. Or the thing about making records in order to go on tour and all that sort of stuff," (lead singer Thom) Yorke said. "Even though I enjoy playing live, I actually enjoy writing and recording more, 'cause that's the stuff that will end up lasting, you know."
I wanted to tap him on the shoulder and ask him what in the hell he was listening to.
The idea that race and racism are central to American politics is not just a theory that harkens back to the days of slavery. It's a current-day lived reality that is particularly evident in this country's biggest and most sacred political event: the presidential pageant.
According to the Voter News Service exit polls for Election 2000, 90 percent of African Americans voted for Gore, as did 63 percent of Latinos, and 55 percent of Asians. (No exit poll data on the Native American vote is available, but most have historically voted Democratic.) Combined, people of color accounted for almost 30 percent of Gore's total vote, although they were only 19 percent of voters.
Latinos, the country's fastest growing voting bloc, went heavily Democratic -- even in Texas -- despite extensive efforts by the Republicans to sway them. Most Asians followed suit. People of color are becoming a larger portion both of the U.S. population and of the electorate, and voting largely in concert with each other in presidential elections. On the other hand, whites constituted almost 95 percent of Bush's total vote.
Conventional electoral wisdom discounts race as a political factor, focusing instead on class, the gender gap, union membership, etc. But, the only demographic groups that had a fairly unified vote -- defined as 60 percent or more for one of the candidates -- were: blacks, Latinos, Jews (81 percent for Gore), union members (62 percent for Gore), residents of large cities (71 percent for Gore), and white males (60 percent for Bush). All but union members and big-city residents are racial or ethnic groups.
And, the large numbers of people of color in unions (about 25 percent) and big cities largely account for the heavy Democratic vote of those demographic groups. White union members and city dwellers vote to the left of whites who live more racially isolated lives, but they barely tilt Democratic. Similarly, women voted 54-43 for Gore, but white women actually favored Bush by one point. Women of color create the gender gap.
The same can be said of the poor: although 57 percent of voters with incomes under $15,000 voted for Gore, poor whites -- who make up just under half of eligible voters in this category -- broke slightly for Bush. The income gap in presidential politics is thoroughly racialized. As the sociologist William Form pointed out long ago, if only a bare majority of white working-class people voted consistently Democratic, we could have some kind of social democracy that would provide much more social justice than the conservative regimes we are used to.
Despite the pronounced color of politics, Ralph Nader (and his multi-hued progressive pundits) blithely dismiss the fact that he received only one percent of the votes of people of color and that the demographics of his supporters mirrored those of the Republicans (except younger). ...
The good news is that the influence of liberal and progressive voters of color is increasingly being felt in certain states. They have become decisive in the most populous states, all of which went to Gore except Ohio, Texas, and (maybe?) Florida. In California an optimist might even envision a rebirth of Democratic liberalism a couple of elections down the road, based largely on votes of people of color.
The bad news is that the two-party, winner-take-all, Electoral College system of this country ensures, even requires, that voters of color be marginalized or totally ignored.
The Electoral College negates the votes of almost half of all people of color. For example, 53 percent of all blacks live in the Southern states, where this year, as usual, they voted ver 90 percent Democratic. However, white Republicans out-voted them in every Southern state (and every border state except Maryland). As a result, every single Southern Electoral College vote was awarded to Bush. While nationally, whites voted 54-42 for Bush, Southern whites, as usual, gave over 70 percent of their votes to him. They thus completely erased the massive Southern black (and Latino and Native American) vote for Gore in that region.
Since Electoral College votes go entirely to whichever candidate wins the plurality in each state, whether that plurality be by one vote or one million votes, the result was the same as if blacks and other people of color in the South had not voted at all. Similarly negated were the votes of the millions of Native Americans and Latino voters who live in overwhelmingly white Republican states like Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, the Dakotas, Montana -- and Texas. The tyranny of the white majority prevails.
Further, the impact of the mostly black voters of Washington, D.C., unfairly denied statehood, is undermined by its arbitrary allocation of only three electoral votes. And the peoples of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam -- which are colonies ruled by the U.S. and have greater populations than more than a quarter of the U.S. states -- get no Electoral College votes at all.
One of the theoretically more moving bits in Gore's speech was when he said, convincingly, "I do have one regret: that I didn't get the chance to stay and fight for the American people over the next four years, especially for those who need burdens lifted and barriers removed, especially for those who feel their voices have not been heard. I heard you and I will not forget."And that's the thing, 'cause the clock is running (demographically, but not necessarily Democratically).
This was especially poignant given that 90 percent of African-Americans voted for him, and were certainly rooked out of some of their votes in Florida by conservatives who dropped that "compassionate" bit once the gong struck 12.
But even there, think for a moment: what did Gore actually do, or propose for minorities in this country, beyond agreeing to "mend, not end" affirmative action, and to not ever be a Republican? Last night's speech was probably the first time I didn't gag openly when he launched into that "fight for yeww!" rap. If anything, Gore showed that he would stoop to any level to lock in his Black vote -- smear Bill Bradley as a quasi-racist in Harlem, amp up his Baptist growl to truly laughable levels at every Black church, go on and on about "racial profiling."
But one inch under the surface there was always trouble. What about those 100,000 new cops he wanted to rush out into the streets of cities like Los Angeles, where green recruits have been committing civil rights atrocities these past eight years? What about that terrible moment in the third debate, where somehow George Bush seemed to win over an angry African-American man who opposed the death penalty, because Al just stood there with his mouth and conscience in a lockbox? What about that Drug War, whose administration has most certainly broken civil rights laws, and exposed Gore as the kind of white hypocrite who never gets caught?
These sins were not enough to drive away the African-American vote -- Republicans still have too much blood on their hands, and it hasn't all dried. But there's something new happening: Dubya is not an overt racist, and he seems to actually believe in a kind of workaday inclusionism that few of his party have ever contemplated. If he avoids pulling some kind of Bob Jones sop to the Religious Right, and actually manages to shout down his yahoo wing (both big ifs), we may never see any group in this country go 90 percent Democrat again.
Trying to wage politics in the US while tiptoing around racism is like sidestepping an elephant. It's dangerous, it's not smart, and it won't work. What suppresses the Black and minority vote suppresses the Democratic and liberal-progressive vote. The majority of white male voters haven't polled Democratic since 1964 and only women of color create the gender gap for Gore. Yet the unequal distribution of resources and bias that created a practically apartheid voting system in Florida was sustained by the Democratic Party - who approved of the process, try as they might to blame the Governor's cronies. And Democratic pro-drug war, pro-death penalty, pro-felon disenfranchisement policies stoked the racist atmosphere in which this election was held.Except that we run the risk of forgetting everything in the rush to "unite" and the desire to get to the good ol' days ahead -- like the bad ol' days that were the foundation for the present abomination.
The conditions are ripe for a pro-democracy movement. A moment, at least: this is it. Some things have changed in the nation since 1964, and when the public has heard (or seen on CSPAN) the witnesses who gave the NAACP testimony, they have been shocked. Voter protests in Florida have built a multi-racial coalition that is advocating the kind of electoral reform the whole nation could get behind.
In the years after the forced end of slavery, former slave states like Florida imposed those felon-disenfranchisement laws, precisely to disempower freed-but-impoverished Blacks. The political parties crafted the statewide primary system into what amounted to a white-man's private club to keep the newly enfranchised under the old establishment's control. Then came literacy tests and poll taxes - voters had to keep their tax-receipts on file - anything to keep electoral power in white hands. For an idea of what those tackling literacy tests faced, consider: under Jim Crow, Florida required that textbooks used by the public school children of one race be kept separate from those used by the other -- even in storage.
After the 1965 Act was passed, states did everything they could to dilute Black influence. Winner-take all systems, or absolute majority vote requirements were embraced to keep black candidates from winning over split fields of white candidates in local races - in just the same way as winner-take-all works in the presidential contest. More offices were filled by appointment. Legislative and congressional district lines were redrawn to keep black voting strength submerged.
None of this requires looking back very far: the same House Speaker, Tom Feeney, who wants the Florida legislature to select a Bush slate of Electors no matter what the vote-counters count, suggested reintroducing literacy tests just two weeks ago: "Voter confusion is not a reason for whining or crying or having a revote," said Feeney. "It may be a reason to require literacy tests." (Palm Beach Post, 11/16.)
India, in fact, has been gaga over beauty contests since 1994, the year of that first astonishing Miss World- Miss Universe twin triumph. Awakened was something that might be called patriotic vanity. Contests multiplied.
There are now queens of this city and that city: monsoon queens, summer queens, married queens and junior queens. Indian women, many say, are discovering their sexuality; some are also discovering bulimia and anorexia.
"What wins these international contests is not the traditional Indian conception of beauty," said Patricia Uberoi, a sociologist. "Here, height has not been so much a criterion. It's a more rounded look, wide hips, plenty of bosom. Ten years ago it would have been hard to imagine how many women would be going to slimming parlors."
India, of course, is a big and varied place � home to about one in every six of the world's people. Beauty contests are more likely to appeal to the urban middle class, the same segment of the population that has the extra rupees to spend on herbal skin creams.
Even then, the flaunting of well- proportioned flesh does not fall within every Indian's idea of propriety. ...
But for most Indians the victories of Indian beauties were a needed boost. The national self-image had been in a droop. In the early 90's, with its economy a mess, India finally veered from Nehru-era socialism and began to open its markets to the world. In came hair tonics, toothpaste and satellite television with titillating soap operas like "Santa Barbara."
Indians did not approve of everything that was entering their living rooms, but they did enjoy the televised rivalry of radiant women from every nation.
Worldwide, more than one billion people were said to watch the annual extravaganza. And there was India, able to show off females judged as incomparably beautiful and brainy. Merely to be chosen to compete was to become an instant celebrity here; to be a winner was to become an icon.
"For so long we've considered ourselves to be losers and second-raters," said the novelist Shoba De. "We crave success at anything at all in the international arena."
Each spring, the publicist Eleanor Lambert convenes a committee of journalists and prominent social people in her Fifth Avenue apartment, and they decide in secret who will be on that year's International Best-Dressed List. It's not exactly democratic. And participants are not always up on the latest celebrities, though they try to be. One year, Andr� Leon Talley, a Vogue editor and occasional committee member, proposed Maxwell, the singer. As Mr. Talley recalled, "A few people in the group said, 'Oh, is that the heir to the Maxwell coffee fortune?'"
While it has long been known that minorities and women face difficulties in a wide range of industries, the five studies to be released on Tuesday by the Federal Communications Commission conclude that barriers imposed by both the government and the marketplace have taken a particular toll in telecommunications and the so- called new economy companies, where the lifeblood is the government license to use a part of the airwaves.
"These studies confirm that small minority and women-owned businesses are encountering significant difficulties in participating in the new economy," said William E. Kennard, chairman of the F.C.C. "With consolidation in the past few years it's clear that it's become harder for any business that is small to participate as an owner of infrastructure, whether it is cable systems or whether it is phones or broadcasting. But this is still a vitally important part of our economy, and we have to make sure that we are creating opportunity for small minority- and women-owned businesses."
Lennon's widow has often been criticised for her actions as the keeper of the former Beatle's flame.
But many think that she got it right this time by using the 20th anniversary of Lennon's death to focus attention on the act of violence that led to her husband's death outside the Dakota.
She has devised a billboard which stands in Times Square, and in two other American cities, which relays the unsettling news that since Lennon was murdered, 676,000 other people have been killed by guns in the US.
It is just the kind of agitprop of which John Lennon would have approved.
I have no idea why I drew dozens of hits from one server in New Zealand. Actually, this is something I've been meaning to ask about. If it's just backbone packet-routing arcana, well, then OK. But I don't know think I know anyone in Wellington, Auckland or Christchurch (wonderful, lovely cities I hope to visit one day). The one Enzedder I do know was still in the U.S., last I thought. I'd love to know who's checking me out in Sweden -- a person affiliated with Chalmers University of Technology, and another person surfing through Bredbandsbolaget.se. Twenty hits through VIAccess -- hello there, Tim!
Gifford044: uh hi
mymedia: so i meant to offer a peace branch
Gifford044: uh ok
mymedia: and ask if anyone besides you uses this screen name
Gifford044: they dont
mymedia: because someone was using it on thanksgiving night
Gifford044: which was me
Gifford044: ok no
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