The Discovery of Bridget

Dear Bridget,

Amar chotho apu. My sister from another mother (because all of us Bangladeshis essentially are, nah?). Is Bridget your bhalou nam or dak nam? Neither? Ok. Well, yay! Finally, a Bangladeshi-American makes it to the stage of a big political party convention. Rumor has it that your outfit was pretty fly. How did it feel being up there on stage? Did you feel like you were breaking boundaries? Because as the first Bangladeshi-American on stage at the Republican National Convention, you definitely were. And your mother, Cindy McCain, made sure to let everyone know in her RNC speech how she “discovered” you too.Bridget McCain.jpg

For me, the great moment of clarity was when I became a mother. Something changed in me. I would never see my obligations the same way again. It was after that I was walking through the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh, surrounded by terrible poverty and the devastation of a cyclone. All around me were the children and the desperate faces of their mothers. The pain was overwhelming, and I felt helpless. But then I visited an orphanage begun by Mother Teresa, and two very sick little girls captured my heart. There was something I could do. I could take them home, and so I did. Today, both of those little girls are healthy and happy. And one of them you just met tonight: our beautiful daughter, Bridget. [Fox News]

Ahh, but who is this other little Bangladeshi girl you were adopted with?

John and Cindy McCain adopted one of them, Wes Gullett [McCain's former aide] and his wife Deborah adopted the other… The McCains adopted the baby with the cleft palate, Bridget, and the Gulletts adopted the other one, Nicki. Both children required a lot of medical attention, but the Gulletts never saw a hospital bill.[ABCNews]

It was a little bittersweet to see you on stage, I must admit. I wonder how many times you’ve heard that story told, over and over again. I wonder if you are tired of hearing it, or if in reality, you are too young to realize how you were touted like a token. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you must be proud of your mother, the way you are proud of your father, John McCain. I’m also sure they provided you with a happy life in your four (or maybe seven?) houses. Bridget McCain 3.jpg

But, I have to admit, Cindy’s speech felt a little like pandering to me. Did it feel like that to you? Or maybe Cindy’s speech was simply your father taking Karl Rove’s advice. The video introducing your father said, “his youngest daughter…who became a McCain after his wife Cindy discovered her as a baby.”[YouTube @ 6:22] I hate they say that you were ‘discovered’ as if you are a piece of land to be colonized, or gold to be found. You existed as a Bangladeshi far before your discovery. At least this true story is a positive change from the smear campaign in the 2000 2004 where you were called a ‘black love child.’ So hey, at least there’s that.

Seriously though. It’s great. Really, the chance to have a Bangladeshi- American teenage girl in the White House. So exciting there’s even a couple of books out on it, The First Daughter series by Mitali Perkins.

The First Daughter books are about Sameera Righton, the daughter of a front-runner candidate in the presidential election…In the first novel, Extreme American Makeover, campaign staffers try to package Sameera into what they think would be a more “American” version of the Pakistani-born only daughter of James Righton… I had no idea that John McCain had adopted a daughter from Bangladesh, and by the time I found out about Bridget, the first book was already written. I wrote the Senator’s office and explained my dilemma–I had no desire to exploit Bridget’s real life joys and challenges for my own purposes…If she objected to the publication of books in any way, I’d be willing to dump them. McCain’s office responded with a lovely note setting me free to go ahead, asking for copies once the books were released, which I gladly sent. [cynsations]

So you see, Bridget? Your story is exciting. But since you have a chance at being a Bangladeshi voice in the White House, I have a couple of words of advice. Most Bangladeshi-Americans can’t afford the $300,000 outfit Cindy McCain wore on Monday. Nationally speaking, 23% of Bangladeshi Americans live below the federal poverty line. In fact, the median income for Bangladeshi’s in the US is $37,074 (Asian Indian is highest at $61,322). And even though your parents don’t know how many homes they own, only 25% of Bangladeshi- Americans own homes. And almost 23% of them have less than a high school degree.[AAJC's A Community of Contrast]

I just…I kinda want you to know how the other Bangladeshi- Americans live in this country. If you make it to the White House, it’d be great if you could advocate for the Bangladeshi community. On the real, you are welcome to our house for some dhaal bhaat & roshogulla whenever you are in town. You know, to see how we do it on the flip side.

Khuda Hafiz, Taz Apa

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About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates MutinousMindState.tumblr.com and blogs at TazzyStar.blogspot.com. Follow her at twitter.com/tazzystar

160 thoughts on “The Discovery of Bridget

  1. 102 · Manju said

    why haven’t malia and sasha released their report cards? what are they hiding?

    where are the obama press releases touting their daughters’ intelligence as qualifying Obama for president? Why hasn’t Sarah Palin denounced Jews for Jesus and praised the Catholic Church sponsored community organizing that Obama did?

  2. 103 · Nayagan said

    where are the obama press releases touting their daughters’ intelligence as qualifying Obama for president?

    obama’s touted his kids. that opens the door. maybe not specifically intelligence (i don’t know, there may be a “smart kids” quoteout there) but they have been thrust into the limelight. most precedntial candidates do. obama a tad more than others. the clintons, however, where saints when chelsea was a kid. but if she got pregnant i guess one could argue it has implications for thier “it takes a vilage”/ sex education advocacy.

  3. Why hasn’t Sarah Palin denounced Jews for Jesus and praised the Catholic Church sponsored community organizing that Obama did?

    Careful. this is one of mccain’s traps, and its very clever. the most obvious criticisms of palin–she’s inexperienced, telegenic like a movie star, great orator but does that does not a president make, superficial, only here b/c she’s a woman, identity politics token, belongs to radical church–sound eerily similar to the most obvious criticism of Obama.

    So while you take down his #2, he gets you to do his dirty woirk and take down your own #1 by implication, leaving him unscathed. notice how he’s set up a palin vs obama “dichotomy” and even ad comparing the two. won’t be surprised if palin challenges obama to a debate.

    meanwhile, just as otherwise neutral and common criticism of obama appear racial to some (elite – uppity), criticisms of palin will appear misogynistic (oh sure, the woman is always inexperienced. PTA’s don’t count!). i’m not saying they are, but hats just how they’ll appear to a large block of voters. gotta watch your tone too, especially if your not a natural feminist like me.

  4. 102 · Manju said

    why haven’t malia and sasha released their report cards? what are they hiding?

    what do you suspect them of hiding? do you have probable cause for your fishing expedition?

  5. the point of altruism is far removed from power politics. that is why it becomes so unacceptable for altruism to have a place in any political convention, be it republican or democrat. and anyone who speaks of it or makes attempts to demonstrate the presence of it has already given it a final resting place.

    a good illustration that there is no yearning void for ‘an act of charity’ in the dirty play of power politics. altruism and politics are a unique pair for meanwhile, on the other side, it is through perpetual mass perception of altruism that some politicians make their livelihood.

  6. 106 · idiots r us said

    what do you suspect them of hiding? do you have probable cause for your fishing expedition?

    i suspect they took punjabi as a foreign language… there goes ohio!

  7. Taz – Why the Bangladeshi – American income reference? I hope you are not expecting the first adopted daughter to use her dad’s office to influence some sort of legislation, which will allot a monthly stipend to Bangladeshis in the US?

    You know that the Bangladeshis earning $37,074 per year immigrated to the US voluntarily, and are not owed one red cent by the federal, state or city government?

  8. 113 · Ashkar said

    Leave the poor girl alone. She was raised as a Christian and American.

    Oh, if you had just stopped right there.

    Your comment was deleted because it violated our policies.

    2) People on this blog need to stop with this nebulous and artificial term “Brown,” it’s immature. I’m an American and a Hindu.

    We’re going to use “Brown” if we want to, just like you’re free to not read the brownest blog ever, if you don’t want to. As for that final comment, I feel like asking if you want a cookie.

    To everyone else, let’s display some compassion and civility and remember that

    a) Bridget may read this very thread and b) the next person who says something ignorant or intolerant about Bangladeshi culture or people is getting banned.

  9. I don’t think it makes me prejudicial, bigoted or less “cosmopolitan”

    my refrence was to cosmopolitanism as a theory, not being cosmopolitan in the sophisticated sense – i.e. that for some (cosmopolitanists), it would not make a difference whether one potential adoptive child was from the same race/ethnicity of the adopting parent. for the record, i hadn’t seen that comment re being a bigot, and that wasn’t my aim when i posted my comment.

    and my point re ethnicity is that some people just feel a bond or responsibility to fellow human beings, irregardless of their ethnic or racial background. i think this is particularly relevant given the topic at hand : a girl who was taken out of one society and raised in a society where the majority of people – including her family – were not of the same ethnic culture. given the potential lack of ties she has held with bangladeshi culture, it seems odd to me that someone like bridget would feel a higher duty to other ethnic bangladeshis – more likely her feelings of responsibility, if at all aimed at a particular group, would be towards a different type of community, most likely one which was more closely entwined with her upbringing. and back to the general concept, as a desi, i am not convinced that i have a higher responsibility to help fellow desis, esp. if people of other ethnicities were in equal need of such help. as i pointed out with bridget, and even though i have strong ties to india and indian culture, i have other communities to which i have as much, if not more, of a responsibility.

    People on this blog need to stop with this nebulous and artificial term “Brown,” it’s immature. I’m an American and a Hindu.

    and you need to stop imposing on people how they should think and converse about their own identity. or at the very least, drop the any belief you may have that you saying it is going to make a difference.

  10. 2) People on this blog need to stop with this nebulous and artificial term “Brown,” it’s immature.

    Wheat

  11. 2) People on this blog need to stop with this nebulous and artificial term “Brown,” it’s immature.

    If you don’t like SM, perhaps you’re prefer Ultrabrown?

  12. I have to admit I cringed at the way Cindy McCain describe how she found Bridget. If I was her daughter, I would have been ashamed. I think Cindy used Bridget.

  13. SM Intern, (aka MummyGee) How come Humphrey can call me stupid and bigoted, but when he calls someone a commie he gets yelled at?? No fair.

    As the person who was called a commie, I have to say, this is a good point. :) But I think mom was more trying to cut down the namecalling in general – if it’s any consolation, we’ll all get your back, bhain.

  14. This is one of the most disgusting posts, that I have ever read on SM. Shame on you, Taz for your condescension and ignorance. I dont understand how you could just so effortlessly, demonize a woman that went out of her way to rescue a child. How about you adopt a child, before you come with your next condescending post.

  15. How come Humphrey can call me stupid and bigoted, but when he calls someone a commie he gets yelled at

    Easy. When Humphrey and Johnson called people stupid and bigoted, we got the civil rights act. When they called people commie, all we got was Vietnam.

  16. “Thanks for the reprieve.Nice to see a light hearted albeit insightful comment, like a much needed whiff of wind that hits you, as it sweeps in through the windows ,on a muggy Friday afternoon when the a.c. ain’t working.”

    Why Rorschach, what a lovely thing to say. One can only try.

    About the young lady’s name though–now there are Swedish Bridgets and Irish Brigids and French Brigittes, but the name and anything that sounds like it, seems to stop well above the Pyranees. I personally really like the name though. I wouldn’t mind being a Bridget. Not one wit. It sounds snappy and sassy and religious all at once. I’d tell the Puzzled People it came down through my well-documented ancestors, the ancient and noble and thoroughly incredible Scythians.

    Actually, the choice probably has to do with saints. Catholics have devotions to certain saints, something any Hindu can relate to. A sacred attraction. So maybe Cindy liked St. Bridget and St. Bridget inspired her to adopt the baby. However, if she’s not Catholic I don’t have an explanation. Maybe it’s the name of a cherished friend or relatives.

    That said: The fashion industry will benefit from a McCain first-lady-ship. All the candidates are Rorschach ink blots (black ink and invisible ink?) Whatever we think they are, it’s all our fancy that.

    and that is all I really know about politics right now.

  17. It isn’t her responsibility to say “Mom, you’re wearing a 300k dress, but you’re not doing enough for the Bangladeshi American community…”

    Amen to that. Who is this Taz girl to say otherwise?

    My sister from another mother (because all of us Bangladeshis essentially are, nah?).

    Nah. Really.

    Your bangladesh would have left her to die. McCains America gave her a life. and McCains raised her as a daughter. Looks like all penniless bangladeshis want her as a sister these days. I can so totally understand that. But does she want you as her sister ??

  18. 87 · devil wears prada said

    Cindy’s outfit probably fed several hundred families for all we know. And your Gap tee shirt probably feeds a few.

    Fed several hundred families? The seamstress probably earned about two dollars more than the one who sewed the Gap t-shirt. However, the diamonds are likely keeping an Antwerp diamond broker’s daughters in BMWs and Moët for awhile…

    I appreciate your comment, but I’m just not sure if I buy the arguments about how the rich do gads more for the global economy (nay, the betterment of all mankind!) when they buy a $10K Hermes bag than I do when I conserve electricity, recycle my plastics, ride the bus, shop at Old Navy, and send my measly $25/month to UNICEF. Of course it’s a compelling argument, but I have to continue to believe that there’s an alternative other than being an overcompensated compulsive shopper in order to “save the world.” Uh… isn’t there?

  19. 122 · amal said

    Your bangladesh would have left her to die. McCains America gave her a life.

    so true!

    Taz, I have a quote for you! A wise man once said…”Take the log out of your eye, before you take the speck out of your brother’s eye”

  20. As a Bangladeshi American woman, I was disturbed by what I saw. Bridget has to deal with being considered a charity case by her parents CONSTANTLY…and at the same time, be surrounded by blonde siblings and parents who don’t look anything like her and don’t teach her anything about her own racial identity. I wonder how much self hate she has been indirectly taught.

    The McCains did not need to put her story up like that, they should’ve just left her out of their campaign. She doesn’t need people to look at her in pity or think of her as a charity case, but the McCains are using this as a strategy and THAT is sick. They don’t have to exclude her from family portraits, but they don’t have to brag about their actions either…just treat her like the other children.

    And to all of those who assume and say that she would’ve never recieved health care in Bangladesh or would never get adopted otherwise, that is just a reflection of your own lack of awareness about all the things that Bangladeshis try to do in terms of increasing healthcare and adoption. I went to school in Dhaka and many of my friends were adoptees. You all are the same people not realizing how connected Bangladesh’s poverty is to First World Countries’ immense wealth.

  21. anita,

    several questions.

    how do you know that bridget is constantly considered a charity case by her parents? based on one night where they highlighted their entire families?

    why do you assume that bridget feels unworthy because she is surrouded by a family that does not look like her? what proof do you have that her family has taught her self-hate? and why would you assume that bridget wouldn’t have the gumption to even protest against such teachings and have her own grounded center and sense of self-worth, despite what the environment may (operative word, MAY) be?

    what does being a bangladeshi american have anything to do with all of these presumptions or allow you to think you have authority to speak on this so decisively?

    i’ll give you our lack of awareness on efforts in bangladesh to promote healthcare and adoption – you clearly know more about that then i would, but everything else is so totally out of left field.

  22. Taz Apa,

    Bridget McCain does not owe one iota of gratitude to the Bangladeshis. No Bangladeshi would have adopted her. If fact, female infanticide is very high there, but in the USA, it’s not the case. Moreover, minorities, such as Hindus, are tormented in B’desh, but in the USA, all religions can practice without any government interference. The USA has provided Bridget with a lot of opportunities, and I’m sure that there are many McCain fans who love Bridget. I’m NOT a McCain fan, but I love Bridget. She’s a kid sister to me.

    Why are you so jealous of Bridget just because she was adopted by rich white folks? It seems that if she were adopted by anybody else, you wouldn’t care. Bridget has not done one wrong thing.

    Also, Americans are far superior than Indians/Deshis when it comes to adopting. Indians ONLY adopt their nephews/nieces. Americans adopt people from different races with a lot of love.

  23. be surrounded by blonde siblings and parents who don’t look anything like her and don’t teach her anything about her own racial identity. I wonder how much self hate she has been indirectly taught.

    Yes, being brought up by people who look nothing like you can fill you with so much self-hate and mess you up for life.

  24. No fair, Taz. Unctuously referring to yourself as “apa” while throwing the wiki at her like a patronizing pitbull is mean-girl behavior. Perhaps you just wanted to write a topical post but it went astray because there wasn’t much else to take the Bridget to task for?

    I’m haunting the web because i’m wound up with anxiety about the election. All told, it would be more meaningful if we focussed on issues rather than on tacky tabloid and personality wars. Thanks.

  25. Maya,

    that’s not fair to Taz. Simple question: did you see the Cindy McCain video that Taz is referring to? There’s a pattern in the comments here. Those who saw the video understand why Taz was reacting to, namely the ridiculous way in which Cindy McCain’s adoption of Bridget was held up as evidence of the McCain family goodness and rectitude.

    Those who haven’t seen the video often can’t imagine how tacky this video was and assume that Taz must be going after Bridget, which she wasn’t.

  26. OK Ennis, I see your point about ‘ tokenizing ‘ Bridget. Maybe there was some of it. And if so I won’t approve of it either. I am with you that if McCains are charitable and kind, then they shouldn’t take a loudspeaker and go around town declaring that. As I mentioned earlier it also implies how Americans are superior to others. Going by the comments it seems some people here believe that to be true. I myself said that Bridget probably had no chance of having a good life back in Bangladesh. That’s very likely. But I didn’t mean it in the way that Bangladeshis are somehow less humane than Americans. And I don’t just say that because it’s PC. I love America and I strongly believe in the goodness of its people yet I am now very aware of the ignorance and bigotry of some of its people. By the way these are the people who make the most noise about how America is the most generous and the greatest nation in the world. But they are a part of the very crowd that makes America look bad. I am talking about for example the fools for whom Sean Hannity is a God. Bangladesh is a poor and mostly illiterate country but what is these Americans’ excuse?

    But I’d give McCains a very big benefit of doubt. This was a singular moment in their lives and I have never before seen them on stage with their entire brood. That brings me to the first falsehood of this post by Taz:

    wonder how many times you’ve heard that story told, over and over again. I wonder if you are tired of hearing it, or if in reality, you are too young to realize how you were touted like a token.

    Even if Taz saw Bridget being ‘ tokenized ‘ at the RNC why didn’t she at least once give balance to her post by conceding that McCains have been good parents. Did she ever write another post before on this issue where she praised McCains? Why did she reduce the twelve years of painstaking rearing of Bridget by Cindy to this one ‘ tokenizing ‘ moment? Well it’s not hard to answer, is it? She has used Obama campaign’s talking points -

    four (or maybe seven?) houses.

    and again -

    and even though your parents don’t know how many homes they own

    She also picks up the ‘ $ 300,000 wardrobe ‘ trash from the leftie blogosphere. If she had left Bridget out of this and done a post on the hypocrisy of McCain calling Obama an elite, I’d have gotten it.

    And a focus on the condition of Bangladeshi-Americans would have been warranted if its been documented that they have consistently been discriminated against in America. And that’s simply not the case. Taz used Bridget and demonized her good parents for scoring some points for her candidate. She thought it was funny and poignant. But the post is neither. The only people who are defending her are those who personally know her to be a nice person and that’s understandable. Other than them, Taz’s other defenders are ignoramuses like Nesha in # 47 who believes McCain is a ‘ torture supporting jackass ‘ or Anita in # 127 who is prejudiced against ‘ blonds ‘ and by extension against Whites. An impressionable Bridget McCain might very well read this ‘letter’ addressed to her and god knows how it’ll affect her relationship with her family. I think this post should be taken off.

  27. 1) Bridget has about as much responsibility to Bangladeshis as the Indian women adoptees I see when I am in Europe have towards me, i.e. “zilch”. They have zero obligation to people with whom they share nothing with except genetics.

    2) Fasion designers have always been clothing First Ladies & aspirants. I can guarrantee you Michelle Obama was wearing something that would exceed most families’ savings

    3) The kitchen sink. What exactly does the economic situation of Bangladeshis in the US have to do with anything? Whether you like it or not the US has an immigration policy that favors immigrants who can readily join the middle class. If Bangladeshis have a burning to desire to flout those rules in their race to join the American poor that’s on them. White people in unskilled jobs aren’t doing so well last time I checked

  28. As much as I don’t give a fig over the discomfort that Indians/Bangladeshis might feel over interracial/internatl adoption, I must say that I did feel that what the McCains did was a bit cringeworthy. I was planning on voting for Obama anyway but now I am a little less a McCainophile

  29. can you all please lay off of taz? honestly the catty readers/commenters nowadays, makes all the ‘old’ folks who have known SM for years on end stay away from this place…

  30. I was planning on voting for Obama anyway but now I am a little less a McCainophile

    I’ll always be a McCainophile. Some of it is personal, some political. I’ll never forget McCain’s bravery on immigration reform. I never will.

    Having said that, I grudgingly admit that with each passing day Obama looks like the superior candidate.

  31. As much as I don’t give a fig over the discomfort that Indians/Bangladeshis might feel over interracial/internatl adoption
    if McCains are charitable and kind, then they shouldn’t take a loudspeaker and go around town declaring that. As I mentioned earlier it also implies how Americans are superior to others

    I think Cindy’s patronizing introduction of Bridget seemed less about the troubles faced by a Bangladeshi orphan than about how noble their act of adoption was. But this attitude is dirctly corelated with the chest thumping American greatness that Republican keep harping on, rather than discussing hard policy issues related to governance. This faux-pas was bound to happen when both sides go overboard in trying to wash all their personal life stories on stage as a means of introducing themselves. More than Cindy’s tackiness, I was thinking about how Bridget would have been feeling with her story being publicized in front of everybody. It is one thing for media to analyze her story and quite a different thing to be introduced by her own stepmother in that particular way.

  32. 137 · Priya said

    As much as I don’t give a fig over the discomfort that Indians/Bangladeshis might feel over interracial/internatl adoption
    if McCains are charitable and kind, then they shouldn’t take a loudspeaker and go around town declaring that. As I mentioned earlier it also implies how Americans are superior to others
    I think Cindy’s patronizing introduction of Bridget seemed less about the troubles faced by a Bangladeshi orphan than about how noble their act of adoption was. But this attitude is dirctly corelated with the chest thumping American greatness that Republican keep harping on, rather than discussing hard policy issues related to governance. This faux-pas was bound to happen when both sides go overboard in trying to wash all their personal life stories on stage as a means of introducing themselves. More than Cindy’s tackiness, I was thinking about how Bridget would have been feeling with her story being publicized in front of everybody. It is one thing for media to analyze her story and quite a different thing to be introduced by her own stepmother in that particular way.

    I understand, which is why I said in my following post it was cringeworthy to market this good deed. Posts don’t exist on their own and over time you get a sense of the author’s world view. So this reaction is not just about Bridget and the RNC, it’s about all the concerns that S. Asians have over adoptions from their home countries (i.e. will the kid be brought up with some knowledge of their culture). I’m growing less sympathetic to these concerns given how little interest there has been in “stranger adoption” , especially of ill/special needs kids, amongst S. Asians of means.

  33. Btw Palin indirectly refrerred to her last kid by talking about children of special needs whereas Cindy could have been more discreet when she introduced Bridget on stage. But Palin is a politician whereas Cindy isn’t so maybe it is asking too much of her. On the other hand, maybe we are trying to overanalyze every word and statement that candidates utter to ferret out hidden agenda/motives and impose our likes and dislikes of the candidates on in interpretation(and also trying to assume that Bridget was not feeling comfortable hearing that particular introduction). The problem of objectivity versus emotion.

  34. S. Asians have over adoptions from their home countries (i.e. will the kid be brought up with some knowledge of their culture). I’m growing less sympathetic to these concerns given how little interest there has been in “stranger adoption” , especially of ill/special needs kids, amongst S. Asians of means

    I agree with you. As long as they have a decent chance of a better life than the previous one, who cares about culture. There is no religion ( or culture ) in an empty stomach. Many kids have a tough time growing up even if they are not adopted and so whats the big deal wrt to Bridget ?

  35. On the other hand, maybe we are trying to overanalyze every word and statement that candidates utter to ferret out hidden agenda/motives and impose our likes and dislikes of the candidates on in interpretation

    Definitely true. Depending on who you support, the very same action can be positive or negative.

    a worker at Invesco Field in Denver saved thousands of unused flags from the Democratic National Convention that were headed for the garbage. Guerrilla campaigning. They will use these flags at their own event today in Colorado Springs with John McCain and Sarah Palin. http://blogs.denverpost.com/opinion/2008/09/06/republican-recycling/
  36. Ennis,

    You know i have too much respect for you folks at Sepia to not speak my mind as a responsible reader. To answer your question–yes, i did watch that part of the RNC proceedings although i’d previously determined to watch the U.S. Open instead. And i remember turning to my couch companion and raising a quizzical eyebrow when Cindy McCain’s introduction of Bridget passed the one-minute mark. Yes, it was uncomfortable, but they probably thought it was necessary. I’m not that surprised, it’s politics after all. But i’d be dismayed if Sepia Mutiny slides into tabloid territory.

    I’m sorry if i didn’t understand the post. Personally, I felt this was a post written in bad faith with its cutesy, insincere invitation to rice and dhaal and the insufficiently-segued, baldly stapled googling. I’m not sure what this post expects. It is anti humanistic, not to mention unrealistic and irrational, to expect Bridget to be “a Bangladeshi voice in the White House,” when she was adopted as a baby into a non Bangladeshi household. It’s true she may seek out her roots and find community among fellow Bangladeshis by birth at some point, but it’s less likely to happen with unknown strangers glomming on to her, claiming kinship, and trying to guilt her into putting in a few good words for them with her influential father.

  37. “Fed several hundred families? The seamstress probably earned about two dollars more than the one who sewed the Gap t-shirt. However, the diamonds are likely keeping an Antwerp diamond broker’s daughters in BMWs and Moët for awhile…”

    yes, Kusala. It’s a very ancient problem and I’m not rich myself. I have felt very ripped off in my time, let me tell you. However, if one is going to pick on the Burgers’ daughters’ acquisitiveness (and we all should) it’s only fair to cite the factory owners themselves in China or Mexico or Los Angeles, or wherever. Power and greed cause people to lose their common sense, hence the 19th c. industrialists who insisted that 16 hours day for the 8 year old kiddy workers, at 2 cents a 6-day-week plus gruel, was doing them quite a favor, even if 2 cents did go further then. Not convinced, citizens of conscience brought relentless pressure until now the descendents of the oppressed workers appear as regulars on Eastenders. Hopefully the transformation of the “third world” will proceed more rapidly.

    For now, if the Chinese or Ecuadoran or Bhutanese seamstress is self-employed and they paid her what they’d pay a middle-class seamstress in Holland, then the third world seamstresses would be the ones with diamonds and BMWs too, which is their right as much as anybody’s, but then they wouldn’t have to be seamstresses anymore and then the jobs would go back to “westerners” buying the finished product. Voila. Outsourcing problem solved, poverty solved, full circle stop. Yesterday’s exploited is tomorrow’s exploiter and vice versa, in ways we cannot even begin to imagine.

    The only answer to this quandary is a world wide standard of living wage. Extremes of wealth and poverty must cease. I agree.

    “but I have to continue to believe that there’s an alternative other than being an overcompensated compulsive shopper in order to “save the world.” Uh… isn’t there?”

    hey, I’m with you–my only personal investment in luxury is my current moniker. I’m just a Poseur. More is less. But my old roommate’s snooty proverb still annoys me in the stillness of the night, “better one $1,000 article of apparel than fifty $20 ones.”

  38. FYI – Cindy’s dress cost around $3,000, the other $297,000 was largely in the jewelry, with a bit in the accessories. $3,000 is close to what Laura Bush’s whole ensemble cost in 04. This was two orders of magnitude larger in terms of republican bling than what had been shown before. As for Michelle, I don’t know much her dress cost, but she wore an $129 off the rack sundress on The View, and the sheath she wore back in June was only around $750. The Chicago designer who dresses her (Pinto) is not as expensive as de la Renta (what Cindy’s wearing). Also, Michelle doesn’t have the money to have $250,000 accessories.

    All of this is waaaaay off topic though.

  39. 29 · Amit said

    I read Abhi a few days ago saying SM tries to be non-partisan. Er, Abhi, a lot more work is required in that area. :)

    Yeah Abhi, you should be Fair and Balanced like Faux News.

    26 · A N N A said

    I agree with one of the sentiments expressed above, that this is a no-win situation; if they don’t trot her out and emphasize that they love her and are proud of her, they’re accused of hiding her and being ashamed of her. If they do treat her the way McCain and Palin have treated their other children (recognizing them from the stage, speeching about them etc), then suddenly they are pandering or are exploiting her. What’s a candidate to do?

    What’s a candidate to do? They could talk about issues and policy and leave their families and even their personal identities out of it. The news media is hooked on drama, when in reality the business of running a government is not supposed to be a sexy exciting emotional experience. Ideally, it should be pretty damned boring. Let’s get our entertainment from other sources, shall we?

    All that said, nice post Taz. Deftly addresses many complex topics with a nuanced touch.

    /mumble mumble mumble infotainment mumble mumble mumble listen to FAIR‘s weekly 1/2 hour CounterSpin podcast mumble mumble

  40. 95 · Jay said

    John and Cindy McCain see Bridget as an individualobject

    Sorry, quite a few of us bristle at the word “discover”–it’s evocative of 500 years of brutal colonialism.

  41. 100 · campmuir said

    good for the mccains for bringing it up at the RNC. it was a decent, heartfelt story.

    We need less personal stories and more policy discussions. Enough melodrama already!

    139 · Priya said

    Palin indirectly refrerred to her last kid by talking about children of special needs whereas Cindy could have been more discreet when she introduced Bridget on stage. But Palin is a politician whereas Cindy isn’t so maybe it is asking too much of her. On the other hand, maybe we are trying to overanalyze every word and statement that candidates utter to ferret out hidden agenda/motives

    Everything that was said and every person who appeared on that stage was composed, measured, and vetted by handlers. Cindy’s speech was written by speechwriters to evoke certain effects (what you call “hidden agenda/motives”). Don’t be so naive. Cindy may not be “a politician” but she is very much a part of a political machine, at least for the moment.

    143 · devil wears prada said

    Power and greed cause people to lose their common sense, hence the 19th c. industrialists who insisted that 16 hours day for the 8 year old kiddy workers, at 2 cents a 6-day-week plus gruel, was doing them quite a favor, even if 2 cents did go further then. Not convinced, citizens of conscience brought relentless pressure

    By “citizens of conscience” you mean anarchists practicing civil disobedience, right? Just a little history lesson for those dissing on the “citizens of conscience” in the streets of Denver and St. Paul over the past couple of weeks.

  42. “By “citizens of conscience” you mean anarchists practicing civil disobedience, right? Just a little history lesson for those dissing on the “citizens of conscience” in the streets of Denver and St. Paul over the past couple of weeks.”

    The mutineers do leap to hasty judgments sometimes. No Harbeer, I don’t do anarchy. Or anarchists for that matter.

    I, a one-time world literature and history major, was thinking of the Victorian smelling salts set in 19th c. London discussing Dickens in their drawing rooms. Also some members of parliament and of course the social work movement got started around 1870. Conscience is a sort of mini-me that grows best in a person who is safe, well-fed and well-tended.

  43. 148 · devil wears prada said

    The mutineers do leap to hasty judgments sometimes. No Harbeer, I don’t do anarchy. Or anarchists for that matter.

    I’m not sure what you’re saying here, but for the record, I was using your comment as a segue–I didn’t mean to accuse you, personally, of whitewashing history.

    Conscience is all well and good but people rarely get justice by politely asking those wielding power over them. Look how well it’s working out for the Tibetans.

  44. Speaking of not watching “the right videos” to get the McCain’s character, while I have watched the part in question, have any of you ever read or watched any interviews where Meghan talked about “my little sister”; when I have, I was touched by the affection with which she spoke of her, her (Meghan’s) responsibility as a big sister and their bond. My mind didn’t go “Oh she is being so Regina George about it by talking about her sister to forward her father’s career”, but rather appreciated the family dynamic they shared. Somewhere Matt Taibbi is missing a kindred soul.

    All this self-righteous indignantion is wearisome in its nuanced hypocrisy; I waited a while before I replied to this post, and I’m glad to put a tempered response which hopefully won’t be deleted.

    ps: And speaking of self-righteous indignation… 146 · Harbeer: Sorry, quite a few of us bristle at the word “discover”–it’s evocative of 500 years of brutal colonialism.

    Monty Python’s: The Life of Brian REG: They’ve bled us white, the bastards. They’ve taken everything we had, and not just from us, from our fathers, and from our fathers’ fathers. LORETTA: And from our fathers’ fathers’ fathers. REG: Yeah. LORETTA: And from our fathers’ fathers’ fathers’ fathers. REG: Yeah. All right, Stan. Don’t labour the point. And what have they ever given us in return?! XERXES: The aquaduct? REG: What? XERXES: The aquaduct REG: Oh. Yeah, yeah. They did give us that. Uh, that’s true. Yeah. COMMANDO #3: And the sanitation. LORETTA: Oh, yeah, the sanitation, Reg. Remember what the city used to be like? REG: Yeah. All right. I’ll grant you the aqueduct and the sanitation are two things that the Romans have done. MATTHIAS: And the roads. REG: Well, yeah. Obviously the roads. I mean, the roads go without saying, don’t they? But apart from the sanitation, the aqueduct, and the roads– COMMANDO: Irrigation. XERXES: Medicine. COMMANDOS: Huh? Heh? Huh… COMMANDO #2: Education. COMMANDOS: Ohh… REG: Yeah, yeah. All right. Fair enough. COMMANDO #1: And the wine. COMMANDOS: Oh, yes. Yeah… FRANCIS: Yeah. Yeah, that’s something we’d really miss, Reg, if the Romans left. Huh. COMMANDO: Public baths. LORETTA: And it’s safe to walk in the streets at night now, Reg. FRANCIS: Yeah, they certainly know how to keep order. Let’s face it. They’re the only ones who could in a place like this. COMMANDOS: Hehh, heh. Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh. REG: All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us? XERXES: Brought peace. REG: Oh. Peace? Shut up!