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Always in the shadows
If there are broad conclusions that can be drawn from the demotion of Chris Smith and Harriet Harman, the promotion of Paul Boateng or the sideways moves of Nick Brown, they remain elusive. Those who claim Estelle Morris's resignation last week represented a defeat for all women fail to explain how her appointment, or her performance in office, marked a victory for all women. The value of these public appointments and private disappointments, under this particular government, are symbolic rather than substantial.
Renaissance man of the south
In 1920, an envelope postmarked from Kentucky arrived at the offices of the African-American artistic and intellectual magazine Crisis. Inside it was a poem called "The Negro speaks of rivers". When the literary editor, Jessie Fauset, read it, she handed it straight to her editor and mentor, WEB du Bois. "I took the beautiful dignified creation to Dr du Bois," she recalled, "and said 'What colored person is there, do you suppose, in the United States who writes like that and is yet unknown to us?' "
Sesame sans frontieres
In the beginning there was Big Bird, and children saw him and said he was good. And in one of those rare moments of inter-generational concord, parents saw him and said he was good too. And so it came to pass that Ernie, Bert, Mr Snuffleupagus and the other characters of Sesame Street were welcomed into liberal homes and hearts, first in America and then around the world.
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Stranger in a Strange Land – Encounters in the Disunited States
book review
'It often takes an outsider to look inside. This is especially true of the United States.'
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