Survivor: U.S. Presidential Race Edition

Last night I attended a fascinating panel at NYU: "How the Internet is Changing American Politics". The panel was nominated by blogger and frequent TV news commentator, Jeff Jarvis and included many folks at the forefront of politics and technology, including an impressive Ariana Huffington. I agreed with much of what the panelists said - though Mr. Jarvis used his helm to lament his perception of the media's anti-Hillary bias - taking care to lay out thoughtful analysis of the good, bad and the ugly - and the long way we have yet to go. The most entertaining, and sadly insightful comment was proclaimed by a gentleman not on the panel, who likened the U.S. presidential race not to a horse race (most particularly in the Democratic Party), but as a reality game show, where the American citizenry ascribes personas to the candidates (McCain, the war hero, Obama, the post-racial black hope, Clinton, the woman poised to break the ultimate glass ceiling). Rather than an out and out race, we collectively throw obstacles at these candidates to see if they survive or fail, and ultimately deserve to get thrown off the aisle. A scary thought, but perhaps uncannily accurate for this day and age.

I'm Definitely Considering All The Songs

I started reading Esquire, nominally a men's magazine, several years back initially because I was intrigued enough to buy its "Annual Genius" issue before some cross-country flight. I've gone on to become a regular subscriber not only because of its multiple George Clooney exposes, its book reviews, analysis of what it's like to be on steroids, or treatises on how to sleep better, but largely because of its music reviews. This year's Esky Awards gives a shout out to one of my newest fav music discovery source: NPR's Bob Boilen, who hosts the weekly All Songs Considered radio show podcast. Bob, who might be indie rock's oldest and yet most enthusiastic fan boy, and his crew host fantastic live performances - straight from the 930 Club (the only reason to like DC if you ask me) from bands like Wilco, My Morning Jacket, Spoon and the New Pornographers (I was there - hee hee). This year, ATC tackled the crush of new indie music on display at SXSW. First, they listened to hundreds of tracks and distilled some 'must see' acts. During the show, they tirelessly hosted more great live shows from Yeasayer, R.E.M., it boys Vampire Weekend and Yo La Tengo. And then kindly, ever so kindly, they gave a wrap-up filled with suggestions on some of the hot new acts of 2008. Apparently, Bon Iver will make you cry.


I was at the gym this morning banging out a joyless 5K on the treadmill when I caught the latest R.E.M. video. Ryan had caught the buzz that they had filmed in the 'hood, but was so cool to see this little videographic tour of Rivington with all sorts of Michael Stipe loveliness.... Babeland, September Wines, inoteca, bruschetteria. Oh, and the song? Very angsty R.E.M. Not too bad for a Friday morning gym workout.

Beckham Should be Bottled

Sure, he's still in my Top 5, and I'll watch him play soccer all the live long day, but I must say, I never want to hear him talk again (unless maybe, just maybe, Ali-G is doing the interview).

Sexism > Racism?

I'm not sure. I'm really not sure whether there is more racism or sexism in society today. I certainly can't testify to how blacks (primarily) experience racism in America today (though did have a revealing exchange with an Indian man on one of my last flights as to how he goes through extra security pretty much every time he flies). I don't know that it truly matters if there is "more" or "less" of one than the other.

Of course, there is a bright shining light on this question given the oft-heralded historic race for the Democratic Presidential nomination between Hillary and Barack (did I mention I <3). Hence, the numerous conversations (bordering on argument, perhaps) with several friends. As a fervent Barack supporter, I feel like this belief puts me squarely in the camp of the post-feminists (though not the self-hating shrew variety). One shouldn't vote for a woman presidential candidate primarily because she's a woman. One should vote for the person they believe who will do the best job.

Yet, I do cringe at the way in which many members of the press - including the typically open-minded Chris Matthews - characterize Hillary. On the other hand, I "denounce" and "reject" (to use the parlance of tight-rope walking presidential candidates as they trek the across the mined field of supporters who stick-foot-in-mouth) the whines of Hillary supporters who complain that the media is being sexist.

In reading this recent piece in Conde Nast's Portfolio about sexism in the workplace, I found myself agreeing wholeheartedly with HP's famous-ex-CEO, Carly Fiorina (despite her being a McCain supporter and all) as she was quoted in a recent interview:
"The reason I wouldn't deal with gender when I became C.E.O. of H.P. is that I believed in a meritocracy where gender isn't the issue. I wanted to play by the same rules. Look, I'm not an idiot. There are clearly things that are different for men and women in leadership. But I believe you have to be the change you seek."
Be the Change You Seek, indeed. Although maybe there are more women in the boardroom (WSJ $), and in executive management, than other "underrepresented" minorities. But that doesn't make the experience of sexism in today's work world, unreal. For as many times as I've...
  • been called "ambitious",
  • had a boss tell me not to swim too much because women with big shoulders are not attractive,
  • struggled to figure out what to wear to look stylish, but not overtly sexy,
  • been hit on by a superior with direct, and far-reaching authority, to determine my next opportunity at the firm
  • etc.
there may also have been times that I've benefited from being a (queue the immodesty alarm) smart, driven female professional. I'm not asking anyone to cry a river for me. Quite the opposite. Just as I-Heart-Barack-Obama appealed to the public the other day to have a frank, open and honest discussion about race relations, I appeal to - at least my small circle of friends - to have some friendly, open discussion about sexism in our companies and our society. I wholeheartedly intend to compete-the-pants off of my male counterparts during the course of my career, but I also want to raise a glass to thank the women of my mother's generation - yes, including Hillary - that sacrificed and strove, so I could be as successful as I am capable of being (though long way to go there still :)).

UPDATE: A few more interesting articles/op-ed pieces about sexism and racism this weekend. Neither really offer any unique insight, but just help present the information in a different way.

A Short History of Nearly Everything Sports

Now, I'm a sports fan, though not a rabid, partisan one (owing mostly to the fact that most teams I support - at least in the college arena - usually suck bricks). I love March Madness (I'm winning my pool as we speak... at least for the next hour), I'm the first one to sign up to bring the chips and salsa to watch the SuperBowl, I'm game to catch a ballgame and enjoy a beer and hotdog, and I'll even watch golf on TV. But I'm not a fanatic, stats-wielding sports lunatic. However, SI's new Vault, is a great new site. It's also a perfect example of big media companies leveraging the long-tail in new and interesting ways. There are gems of stories from popular sports writers, like NPR Commentator, Frank Deford, dating back to the 60's, old SI covers, and video clips galore. Smartly, SI has partnered with eBay to offer up related, contextual memorabilia (1969 Topp's Kareem Abdul Jabar card, anyone?). This is a treasure trove of sports history. A perfect way to celebrate sports.

The Rules are all Relative

I'm all for freedom and democracy and whatnot, and in a more perfect world, the Dems of Florida and Michigan would get to vote. But in a world where you disobey your parent (party) and then complain when you got burned - just like mom and dad warned - it's hard to feel sorry for kiddies.

I'm Mad About March

Yes, yes... it's that time of year again. Pools are open, "work" is all relative (or at least as I remember), and we all become obsessed over 19-yr old boys. Yeah, I have my picks, but the most fun is watching the games (and the 19-yr old boys). But to help with the drinking bit, Urban Tailgate has a great map of places to watch in NYC. Hoop 'em up!

Set the Music Free!

For the love of all things holy, the beneficent folks at Pitchfork Media have announced plans for a 24-hr online music channel - Think MTV circa 1986. Bring back 120 Minutes, will the real VJs please stand up, and Madonna rolling around the floor in a wedding dress.