Thursday, July 17, 2008

Deliver Us From Foolishness

Thank God for Leonard Pitts. He's one of the best opinion columnists alive, and he always finds a way to get to the heart of the matter. I guess that's why he has a Pulitzer.

His column about the New Yorker magazine cover that's got folks so riled up is reasonable and skillfully written. While Pitts likes the image, he understands why it turned into Covergate: "To be effective, satire needs a situation it can inflate into ridiculousness. But the hysteria surrounding Obama has nowhere to go; it is already ridiculous. In just the last few days, we've had Jesse Jackson threatening to castrate him and John McLaughlin calling him an 'Oreo.' "

Speaking of things ridiculous, I knew Michelle Obama's honorary induction into Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority would turn into a sideshow of intraracial politics. According to this story, Mrs. Obama's camp released a statement saying that, while she's honored by the, uh, honorary membership, she would work with members of all historically black sororities to address social issues.

Sounds reasonable, right? Except that some people interpreted the statement to mean that Mrs. Obama was open to joining other sororities, and the hating began. It was like the Jets and the Sharks (in pearls) had taken to the Internet. Back in college, I pledged the sorority that is widely viewed (among people who care) as the AKAs' rival group. I'd say there is a friendly rivalry there, but to a certain kind of person, there is nothing "friendly" about it. The posts turned into an unbelievably silly game of one-upsmanship, and some people suggested Mrs. Obama should have remained "neutral," is if lives were at stake. Who cares?

I wonder how the New Yorker would illustrate that madness.

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