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Obamania is real, but will it translate into votes?
The breadth of Barack Obama's electoral appeal has shifted over recent weeks. In South Carolina his support among African Americans and the young has grown, while backing from the young and women has fallen.
Some Things Even Obama Can’t Transcend
I admit it. For a moment I believed. Walking down Sumter Street during Charleston’s Martin Luther King Day parade, the overwhelmingly white coterie of Barack Obama volunteers chanted: "Obama ’08! We’re ready. Why wait?" Among them was a young man who was "so depressed" after Obama’s New Hampshire defeat that he had dropped everything he’d been doing in Guatemala and flown back to help out. There was also an elderly woman from Florida who had read his book


Studs Terkel celebrating after winning the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Good War. Photograph: Fred Jewell/AP
Let me tell you a story
About 25 years ago, Studs Terkel was waiting for a number 146 bus alongside two well-groomed business types. "This was before the term yuppie was used," he explains. "But that was what they were. He was in Brooks Brothers and Gucci shoes and carrying the Wall Street Journal under his arm. She was a looker. I mean stunning - Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus and carrying Vanity Fair."
The invisible poor
Charleston, South Carolina: There are some things that never get discussed in American politics, regardless of their importance. The fact that one in three black boys born in 2001 will end up in jail, the country's uncritical relationship with Israel, and the prevalence of poverty in a nation of immense wealth. These things never really get a look in.
Republicans lack consensus, but their Democrat rivals lack content
Having warped their understanding of how the world works to suit their ideology, they now have the terrible burden of having to live in it. On the whole, these are personally affable and politically angry people. The targets of their rage are clear: Hillary Clinton, the liberal media, illegal immigrants, Muslims, taxes, the government and nationalised healthcare all take their turns in the crosshairs.
Black voters make a break for Obama in close Democratic contest
For all the ink that has been spilled on Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, race and gender - including my own - you would expect their increasingly bitter confrontation would somehow manifest itself among black voters in South Carolina.


All good ... Chaka Khan after her Broadway debut in The Color Purple. Photograph: Evan Agostini/AP
Chaka gets her groove back
In the mid-80s, Steven Spielberg approached Chaka Khan and begged her to play Shug Avery in the film version of Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple. In many ways it was an inspired choice. Back then, Khan had a reputation as a sensuous, no-nonsense party girl. The fictional Shug was a siren-singer, known as the Queen Honeybee - a hard-drinking, sexually assertive reveller touring the rural southern juke joints and driving the locals to distraction. "First time I got the full sight of Shug Avery long black body with it black plum nipples," recalls the book's main narrator, Celie, "I thought I had turned into a man."
Bush has become the president Republicans would rather forget
What ever happened to George Bush? I've been hanging out with Republicans for a week now and no one's mentioned him. I mean he literally hasn't come up in conversation.
South Carolina wants its candidates to be on right track
Driving down from the hills of upstate to the low country of Hilton Head you get a good glimpse of just about every topography South Carolina has to offer. Over the last few days the main candidates have been up in Michigan, leaving the Palmetto state to Fred Thompson, who seems to be making his last stand here. But tomorrow the circus arrives in full for a final push in the first southern race.
Looking down the barrel in South Carolina
I admit it. Being surrounded by armed white southern men below the Mason Dixon line makes me nervous. I've been threatened with a gun before in the south, while asking for directions in Mississippi, and it's not an experience I'd care to repeat.
An Obama victory would symbolise a great deal and change very little
The week before Jackson had scored a stunning win in the Michigan caucuses, winning 55% support, including 20% of the white vote. In Wisconsin, a state with a black population of just 2%, white people were handing him their babies to kiss. "Look, something is happening up here," he told one of his aides. "And I'm not quite sure what it is. But this outpouring of affection wherever I go, it's for real. It's real, I'm telling you, it's there. I know when it's there."


Barack Obama won the Iowa contest with 38% of the vote. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters
'Skinny kid with a funny name' reshapes US politics
Until Thursday night that was little more than a remote likelihood - a fresh-faced, freshman senator whose middle name is Hussein up against the daunting might of the Clinton machine in the sixth whitest state in America. Last month, former president Bill Clinton asked if the United States was ready to "roll the dice" on an Obama presidency.


Barack Obama shakes hands with supporters after addressing a rally in the gymnasium of Concord high school, New Hampshire. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
'Skinny kid with a funny name' reshapes US politics
Until Thursday night that was little more than a remote likelihood - a fresh-faced, freshman senator whose middle name is Hussein up against the daunting might of the Clinton machine in the sixth whitest state in America. Last month, former president Bill Clinton asked if the United States was ready to "roll the dice" on an Obama presidency.
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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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