Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Colbert Report”

To Our ‘Gay’ President

Dear President Obama,

I have to admit you are full of surprises. As I am sure you are aware from your daily perusal of our humble blog, I am critically supportive of you. I worked for your election, cried when Jon Stewart called the election for Obama as part of The Daily Show and Colbert Report’s special live coverage of Indecision 2008, keeping the live show going a few more minutes in order to announce your/our victory, and praised your Obamacare, even if it was far from perfect.

I didn’t expect you to be so deadly cool and take out bin Laden like you did, when many hawks would be squawking at their roosts deciding if to or not.

Still, you will excuse me if I don’t jump up and down on your decision to support gay marriage, or the tribulations that have followed. You see, Mr. President, you simply did the right thing. That’s it.

I appreciate you having the guts to do it in an election year, but the President should do the right thing. You are the President of everyone – the blacks, the Jews, the Hispanics, the whites, the card-carrying NRA members, the religious and the secular. And you are the President of the gay community. You did the right thing.

So to thank you, here is a song that was brought out when it was difficult to come out as gay in Britain, sung by a singer who is not (I think) gay. But Billy Bragg wanted to be a representative of all progressive people and so he challenged us all with this song.

By the way Mr. President, I chose this version because it features the late Kristy MacColl who tragically died 12 years ago.

Thank you for reading this, sir. Always a pleasure. Here’s to another four years.
Alon

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/ and on Twitter (@alonshalevsf).

Another Perspective

I admit it; I fall behind on my TV shows, which is why there wasn’t a blog last week (not really) and why I am a faithful worshiper of the Church of Digital Video Recorders. My biggest sin: I am behind on The Colbert Report.

Watching the show from December 1st, I was stunned to see Stephen interview Sherman Alexie, the author of ‘War Dances.’ Alexie was great, a Native American poking fun at the white guys. But this blog entry is not about Native Americans or white guys.

As you have seen, I am proud that Oilspill dotcom is now available as an e-book, available in all formats that exist today. I am doing my bit to save the planet. Even if I can’t afford a Prius, I am taking bold steps to save the trees, energy in production and distribution, and able to help provide free copies of my e-books for our soldiers.

So I was kind of taken aback when Alexie advocated against the e-book revolution (my embellishment, not his). He will not publish his book in electronic form because:
– He fears that we are giving the government the ability to control what we read, write, see and listen to.
– It makes our work vulnerable to piracy
– It prevents any physical contact between author and reader, a relationship that he sees as essential for both sides
– It takes away revenue from independent bookstores already on the brink of extinction
– It prevents any celebration of books within the community

I want to take issue with Alexie, but I have two problems: he is correct, and he is very cool.

So I will take a week for rebuttal, and if I can’t build a case, will catch up on outstanding Colbert Reports.

Good Writing,
Alon

http://www.alonshalev.com/

Thank You George W!

I honestly never thought that I would thank George W for anything. I’m sure I know him pretty well as, even though we’ve never met, I do compulsively watch The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Could Jon Stewart ever have anticipated that George W would sponsor this struggling left-wing author? Would Stephen Colbert be deemed too cynical to consider a Republican President from Texas seeing the obvious social value of Oilspill dotcom?

But I need to give him credit where credit is due – and that credit came in the form of a check from the Treasury earlier this year, urging me to spend it and stimulate the economy. All this occurred while I was trying to work out how to find the money to invest in marketing my own novel, when I am barely finishing the month, paying the bills, feeding and clothing the kids and putting gas in the car (note – at the time of writing this entry, it will be cheaper to buy five copies of Oilspill dotcom than fill your gas tank – and the novel takes you to London, whereas a tank of gas can’t even get you from San Francisco to LA).

Perhaps it is a message from God. I know George W and friends like to keep church and state separate, but maybe this can be defined as divine intervention. Perhaps the exception can be made when it comes to patronizing the arts.

What is particularly impressive is that George W would chose to sponsor a novel that exposes the abusive power of multinational corporations. Even more open-minded is the fact that this is an oil company. Good for you, George W – you answer to no one!

So, thank you for making my book possible, Mr. President. I guess I should send you a complimentary copy!

Good Writing to All,

Alon

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