Sunday, January 25, 2009
Asim & Ifill's Books: the first cut of history
Who said "Journalism is history's first draft?" Was it my boy Mencken? Oh well, here is history's first cut, by two journalists. Remember them--journalists? Real journalists...not pundits, blowhard "commentators," talk show clowns. Writer, Former Washington Post Bookworld editor, NAACP Crisis editor and now professor Jabari Asim offers What Obama Means. If Gwen Ifill were white and around in the late 60s she'd be called a "dean:" like Spivak, Chancellor, Smith, Severeid, Shore, Brinkley. Nuff said. I'm not cheezing here. This is Gwen. Her book is Breakthrough.
Now, if you recall, before the vice-presidential debates came the demand that Gwen be removed as moderator. This was from a slew of the same deranged wingnuts who were slapped down by Barack and Rahm the Terrible this week. How ironic. And allegorical. Maybe they had gwen confused with Donna Brazile? For Gwen's using the news and facts adduced through real journalism to frame the new paradigm of national politics Barack espouses. Yes, patriotism and progressivism. Jabari, on the other hand, offers a thesis controlling the internal transformative forces: what this means for "us folk" within the general polity. Yes, there's overlap here, even in use of primary source material. So? I'll posit that the distguishing contrast between the two works appears to be this global versus local view. Gwen shows the new paradigm for America using Barack as the vehicle; Jabari shows the new paradigm for black people and the changing nature of power, powerlessness and politics. The comparison: both are masterful, objective--something even the wingnuts should take a look at should they decided to build rather than urinate. Of course I think the authors should have gone a further in fleshing out the cultural aspect (you know I say culture affects crime, politics, education)...it's time Barack mounts the bully pulpit to denounce all bamma-dom and ghettofabulousness. That's my only criticism. But alas that's sociology, not history. Hopefully someone can build on this wonderful first cut and add this culture dimension as history settles itself.
Check back, fanboys & girls, for I hope to include interviews with the authors. In the meantime, buy the books. Give me your thoughts.