Saturday, April 24, 2010

Back to Penn

Got lucky again and my D invited me to see David Remnick speak at Penn last Wednesday. He is a Pulitzer prize winning author, the editor of The New Yorker since 1998, replacing Tina Brown, and now the author of the new Obama biography, The Bridge . The Bridge is the story of Obama 's election from the focus of race. The lecture was titled, The Joshua generation which is the name given to Obama, and our own Mayor Nutters' generation. Seems, no surprise there, that the story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt has great meaning within the black community. The older civil rights leaders, Martin Luther King, John Lewis, are referred to as the Moses generation as they led their people to civil, educational, and political freedom but it is this new generation who has, like Joshua, been allowed to enter the promise land; schools like Harvard, and the apex of all, the White House.

Remnick was exactly who you want the editor of The New Yorker to be. Central casting couldn't have done a better job. Super smart, very funny, quick on his feet, confident with out being arrogant. He was cute in that skinny ,curly dark haired Jewish geek way. He even had his son in the audience,a cute Jewish boy!
I won't reiterate the entire lecture but here is one question, and answer, I thought might be of interest.
A woman asked why he thinks Obama seems to not have as strong support from the Jewish community as one would expect given that his two closest advisers, David Alexrod and Rahm Emmanuel are both Jewish and in Rahm's case, very tied to Israel? After a moments hesitation Remnick said that there is no way to avoid saying that the great majority of the anti-Obama sentiment is nothing but racism. He also added that Obama is a pragmatist and believes that the current right wing Israeli government approach/attitude toward the Arab problem swings between unrealistic and disillusion as perfectly illustrated by their announcement of new settlements in the middle of Biden's visit. He said that the same can be said for the current Arab governments.
The weirdest question? A guy in the back asked if in his research he found out anything about how Obama was as a lover. Remnick humorously and politely noted that he was no Kitty Kelly and quickly moved on!
All in all, a great night.

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