Today, 30 years ago, John Lennon was shot. Yoko Ono has written the most beautiful tribute to him for the New York Times in which she says “…my memory of us is that we were a couple who laughed”. And she wrote how he mad tea for her in the middle of the night. He put the hot water in the mug first. Then the tea bag.
I’m listening to this.
It’s lovely to read stories published in international papers that reflect us as an interesting, funny and demanding nation. When you read these stories we sound like an eccentric bunch of warm-hearted people who want to have lots of fun next month. That’s between reading the lines about chaos, politics and crime.
Firstly there’s Rian Malan’s piece which was published in the Observer on the 16th May. I only got to read it this week. And then there’s Celia Dugger’s piece in the New York Times earlier this week.
Malan says towards the end of his article that:
“South Africa is amazing! At any given moment, all possible futures seem entirely plausible. We are winning, we are losing. We are progressing even as we hurtle backwards. Every day brings momentous exhilarations and dumbfounding setbacks, and the sun shines brightly even in winter. Throw in the heady proximity of Mandela and Beckham, and you’re almost guaranteed a splendid time.”
And Dugger writes how South Africans have fought for easier access to tickets, to see their musicians at the world cup concert and “to ensure that more World Cup souvenirs were made in South Africa.”
She recognises the South African spirit. She says this country “ended a vicious system of racial segregation 16 years ago to create a noisy, fractious, vibrant democracy. Poking a finger in the eye of authority is part of the national DNA.” Don’t you love that!
The in-depth interview with Michelle and Barack Obama appears today in the New York Times magazine. The interview which is lovely and very personal seems to have raised some serious questions about whether Obama uses his family to divert attention from what is happening on Capitol Hill.
The Sunday Times of London today reports that the “enthusiasm for the Obama family has until now obliged most Republicans to bite their tongues when discussing Michelle and the children, but there were mutterings last week that the president might be using his enviable private life as a diversion from awkward political realities – notably the prospect this week of Democratic defeats in elections for state governors in New Jersey and Virginia.”
And rather harshly the article concludes by saying that Obama is in danger of being seen as a failing politician.
“And familiarity with the details of his private life may quickly turn to contempt.”
Children, work and marriage are hard enough for the rest of us. But being the first couple of the US must be extraordinary hard on romance.
In an interview with the New York Times, Obama expresses irritation about the hoo-ha when he took his wife to New York on a date.
“The notion that I just couldn’t take my wife out on a date without it being a political issue was not something I was happy with.”
And he says,
“Everything becomes political,” he repeated very slowly. Then he said: “What I value most about my marriage is that it is separate and apart from a lot of the silliness of Washington, and Michelle is not part of that silliness.”
Wondering how to find your own adoring Barack? In the December issue of US Glamour Michelle Obama offers her dating tips:
“Cute’s good. But cute only lasts for so long, and then it’s, ‘Who are you as a person?’ Don’t look at the bankbook or the title. Look at the heart. Look at the soul. When you’re dating a man, you should always feel good. … You shouldn’t be in a relationship with somebody who doesn’t make you completely happy and make you feel whole.”
Did you know that Sienna’s mother is South African? I didn’t. But this doesn’t really matter to the story of her promiscuity.
In the opening paragraph of the weekend profile on the actress the NYT refers to her as “Serial Sienna”.
“SERIAL MILLER” is what the London tabloids like to call the 27-year-old actress Sienna Miller, in honor of her long and well-documented romantic history. Her flings have included Jude Law, Daniel Craig, James Franco and most recently the married oil heir Balthazar Getty, with whom she was photographed topless and in a sailor hat. She is also famous for her retro-hippie fashion sense, for enthusiastic partygoing and for occasional miscalculations like a same-sex toe-sucking incident after the 2006 Oscars.
But they later added (we don’t know why) this correction:
An article on Page 4 this weekend about Sienna Miller misstates the nature of the relationships that she had with Heath Ledger and Sean Combs. She was friends with both of them; she did not have romantic flings with either of them.
U2′s Bono today wrote in the New York Times why he believed that Obama deserves the Nobel peace prize. For rebranding America, he says. Which he argues is a necessary thing, because “The world wants to believe in America again because the world needs to believe in America again. We need your ideas — your idea — at a time when the rest of the world is running out of them.”
I loved Alan Dye’s illustration for the op-ed piece…
I read Goldstone’s op-ed piece in the NY Times last night. If you haven’t read it, do so.
“But above all, I accepted [my United Nations mandate to investigate alleged violations of the laws of war and international human rights during Israel’s three-week war in Gaza] because I believe deeply in the rule of law and the laws of war, and the principle that in armed conflict civilians should to the greatest extent possible be protected from harm….Pursuing justice in this case is essential because no state or armed group should be above the law. Western governments in particular face a challenge because they have pushed for accountability in places like Darfur, but now must do the same with Israel, an ally and a democratic state.”
There is a lovely blog on the New York Times, Abstract City. Christoph Niemann is an artist and illustrator whose last post struck a chord. Know this? What is it about the little things? I’ve tried adding another bed to the bottom of our bed, where any one of them, or all of them, can lie across that bed – on top of the covers. And leave me alone to sleep.
It’s been no help at all.
I’ve stolen an illustration for here, but you have take a look at the blog:
I love this piece using a home as the spine for remembering. It’s telling and very moving: the house “the only constant, it seems… has witnessed the best and worst of Iraq’s recent history”. Zainab Salbi, writing for the New York Times remembers her parents’ friend Saddam Hussein: “Looking back, I think of Mr. Hussein’s presence in our life as a poisonous gas that leaked into our home. We inhaled it gradually.”