Obama’s battle

Two quick examples from the last few days of what the Obama family are having to deal with and how bad the US media’s spinning can get.

In the celebrations when he got nominated, at some point Barack and Michelle Obama bumped fists. Since then, right-wing American media commentators have described that as a “terrorist fist bump”.

Secondly, I just watched Michelle Obama on ABC TV show The View. The View is a bit like Loose Women, although the US version is a bit more intelligent, with a more liberal and journalistic (or less reactionary) tone, if you can believe that. In fact, Loose Women is probably the British-ised spin-off, given the similarities.

Mrs Obama’s contribution is pretty interesting but the thing that made headlines was she describes her husband as “sweet, empathetic” and this got repeated as “sweet and pathetic” which has become a media story across the pond. Host Whoopi Goldberg actually picked this up at the time and was sharp enough to try to clarify – but the story still has legs.

Actually, that reminds me of an old statistic – can’t remember the source so I’ll have to look for it – that in the UK women are 10% more socially conservative than men, while in the USA, women are 10% more socially liberal. I wonder if it’s true because, if so, it would have implications for gender-based effects on culture.


2 responses to “Obama’s battle

  1. I think it’s interesting looking at the differences between UK women and US women but it’s hard to make a comparison; have to be careful not to fall into the trap of imposed etic. I, personally, agree with a viewpoint that suggests there are more differences within a culture than between cultures. When I spent time living with Americans, it wasn’t just the issues and the standpoints that they took on those issues that seemed different. It was their whole entire outlook, politically. They always tried to explain it to me but I don’t catch onto things quickly. Anyways, besides my babbling, I think you’ve made a great point and it would be interesting to measure what UK/US women regard as ‘socially conservative/liberal’ in comparison to UK/US men…

  2. America is a strange kettle of fish. Having had the benefit of going to school in England, Ireland and America, I can tell you now that the difference in approach to education and school life is remarkable. In America they teach kids to be proud…of America, their school, their families etc. Of course, I can only speak for my own school, but I can honestly say it was the most enjoyable school time i had. Coming to England after that was a shock to the system, as I found all the kids here wanted to be grown ups before their time. Their attitude was so negative in comparison, not to mention I was a good half year ahead in Maths and English. I was also ahead in Maths and English when I moved there from Ireland, so what does that say about the English education system?

    I am certainly not saying Americans are right all the time, but in my own experience they are far more positive (on the whole) than we are over here, and that is something they are taught from a very early age. That cant be a bad thing on the whole, although I do think the knock on effect is the Superpower state-of-mind they all seem to have clouds their vision as to how they might appear to the rest of the world.

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