Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Middle Name Is Hussein

I have really weird feelings about the facebook Hussein middle name thing (if you look at my friend list there are lots and lots of Husseins). I mean, I get the solidarity thing, but as someone who was raised Catholic and walks around with a Moslem last name, like, all the time (my agnostic Dad's family was Albanian Moslem, Mom is Irish Catholic), I'm having a little trouble parsing all the implications. I know all the Hussein-ing is coming from a happy place, but...but..argh.

Something about it bothers me, I guess as a meme, without the fact of any individual doing it bothering me, if that makes sense. Perhaps it's the inherent racism of the necessity for it, or the insistent cries of "hey! look! he's not a Moslem" that I hear over and over again, as if the fact of Obama being Moslem would make him, de facto, a bad person not worthy of his impressive record and stance on the issues at hand.

If this blog post falls into the wrong hands, Obama is not Moslem, any more than I am, although, for the record, we had an Imam at my grandmother's funeral, I was baptized and confirmed, my dad thinks those practicing Islam are crazy people, the world is messy and interesting, etc.

Please let me know your thoughts my delightful, intelligent and politically engaged readers. I mean it. Cheers and kisses.

See you at the polls!


That Fuzzy Bastard said...

Yes, we shouldn't have to say that Obama isn't a Muslim, despite his middle name. But to keep it in perspective---we just fought a war with a guy named Hussein, and now we're about to elect one president. This is really pretty amazing---I can't think of another country that's done anything like it (France will have an Algerian Prime Minister some time after Hell freezes over, for example). So it's not so offensive that this requires a fair amount of sensibility-stroking and general twitchiness---like the uncomfortable overdoing of political correctness, I think it's a necessary cost of a fairly revolutionary social change.

Carolyn Raship said...

I get all that. My point was more my personal weirdness about it, as it seems a sort of empty gesture to change one's middle name to Hussein via facebook when they don't have to have the name Hussein, say, in the airport. It's just awfully easy and sort of silly. You're not on facebook and missed some of the self congratulation involved, I think.

Carolyn Raship said...

But, yeah. Mr. Hitler isn't winning any elections any time soon, even if unicorns and rainbows spring from his fingertips. Even with a Colin Powell endorsement.

France is sort of a different proposition from us in terms of nationalism, too, I think.

Have you seen this?