1. Tales of Life in the New America:
http://racismisover.blogspot.com, This website, “Racism Is Over,” is a new faux blog authored by damali ayo, the Oregon-based performance artist who created the hilarious site “www.rent-a-negro.com,” as in: “What can you give the person who has everything? Give them a new black friend!” Or: “He’s so articulate and engaging. I always leave with stories to tell.”
This, damali ayo’s new site, sends up the glorious utopian promise of our supposedly “post-race” world now that Obama is president-elect. One posting muses about how hard it was to get through security screening after 9-11, but after the election, “the TSA looked at my boarding pass, called me by name, with a Mr. in front of it, cautioned me to stay warm because Ohio is having a rough winter, and waved me through when my bracelet set off the metal detector. “No worries,” said the attendant, “have a good visit with your family. Make sure you come back though, we’d miss you if you were gone for too long.” Another marvels at the new integration: “I haven’t heard anyone call someone “less qualified” or complain about how their uncle got passed over for a job because of a company’s diversity policy. Instead they say “there are plenty of jobs to go around,” and talk about how much their uncle loves his new job working with all of his fellow countrymen.” And white people with dreadlocks? “Gone. Hallelujah.”
2. Art, Love, Hope, Law:
“Blackstone Weekly” is definitely what cyberspace does best: it allows quirky, wonderful, original thinkers the freedom to flourish, to publish. The muse behind this site is Jessie Allen, a performance artist-turned-lawyer who until recently worked for the Brennan Center for Justice, arguing voting rights cases. For reasons one must assign to the inscrutable wonders of “intellectual curiosity”, she decided to take on the task of reading all of Blackstone’s Commentaries. She’s plowing through one section at a time and is posting bi-monthly reflection pieces on each section. Sound boring? Not for a minute: her peculiarly fanciful and interdisciplinary view of the world makes these meditations nothing less than fascinating. Think James McPhee. When he wrote a whole book about oranges, that sounded boring too, at least until you read it. Amazingly lyrical, wise, and funny stuff floats through Ms. Allen’s brain-on-Blackstone; from sewing a lion costume for her daughter, walking the streets of Denver on election day, or the relation o f law and memory.
3. Tracking Elections From the Ground Up:
Although relatively new on the scent, PollTrack offers some of the savviest electoral analysis around. Its political director is Maurice Berger, an art curator for institutions ranging from the Whitney Museum of Modern Art to the New School’s Vera List Institute to the University of Baltimore’s museum to the Smithsonian. He is also one of those polymathic statistical whiz kids who happens to have a passion for politics. Trust me, this is a great combination. The latest feature of this site is something called “The Obama Project.” It is=2 0“an online forum for commentary, analysis, poetry, photographs, and YouTube content that explores the following questions: What Does The Election of Barack Obama Mean To You? And What Does it Mean for The Nation? We ask you to submit texts (from a single line to 2,000 words), photographs, or content you’ve posted on YouTube. We will be uploading content daily–on an ongoing basis–through the inauguration and beyond. You are also welcome to submit materials that relate to Election 2008 but do not fall within the purview of The Obama Project. To submit texts or images, go to http://www.polltrack.com/voices.”
Patricia J. Williams