Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Lucky Lady and One Unlucky Dude

la nueva Presidente Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

Here's how pathetic our national news shows are...Argentina has just elected a female president (Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner) who is more often compared to Hillary Rodham Clinton than Eva Peron (because she's a lawyer who became a Senator and a First Lady), yet such international news merited a 30-second or less mention on both ABC World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. I wanted to hear more about it, as I find it fascinating (and on a purely male mode of thinking, Latin women drive me absolutely crazy...especially seeing how attractive Argentina's president elect is! Aye caramba!). There seems to be an increasing trend towards women in leadership roles. I suppose that is the biggest change one can hope to make. After all, we've had 42 men serve as presidents in our 200+ year history...why not let a woman run the country for four years? I hope Argentina's bold election will have ripple effects in the U.S., but I doubt it. Americans are too ignorant of international news, too xenophobic to appreciate global trends (after all, our policies on capital punishment puts us in the camp with Saudi Arabia and Iran rather than Europe; or our health care system has more in common with developing nations than the developed ones). Such news emanating out of Argentina does make me miss the days I lived in Europe when I learned about foreign politics because it was more talked about than the fluff issues that pass for news in the U.S.

It irritated me to no end that we have a lack of foreign news on American television. ABC World News Tonight is on at 6 PM, then CBS Evening News at 6:30, then for some odd reason, the local CBS affiliate has both "Entertainment Tonight" at 7 pm and the clone "Extra" at 7:30 pm, which last night had the same gossip: Britney's now dating a Dallas Cowboy football star! Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon were seen incognito at a party! Halle Berry is still wearing provocative outfits despite her pregnancy! Oh, the shocks! The gossip!

How about the news that South African Reggae star Lucky Dube was one unlucky dude, as he was recently shot and killed in a carjacking in a Johannesburg suburb...which illustrates just how dangerous that city remains (the only time I've ever been robbed in my life was during my 1994 trip to South Africa, and yes, it was in downtown Johannesburg where it happened) and that even celebrities and popular South African recording stars are not safe. I always worry that one day, I'll discover on the news that my favourite singer Johnny Clegg (a white South African who still lives in Johannesburg) will meet such a similar fate. Why is Jo-burg so unsafe? Well...when I was there in 1994, there was a 50% or more unemployment rate and that city is a mecca for Africans all over the continent seeking a living. It's simply put, Africa's New York City and Los Angeles...the place to achieve one's dreams in the poorest continent on earth. With a lack of jobs, how does one make a living? As much as I loved my visit there, if I were to ever go to South Africa again, I'll stick with Cape Town and Kruger National Game Reserve. It saddens me that Lucky Dube was killed. I love African music, so it is a great loss. Why it doesn't make our gossip shows is beyond me. I mean, why is Anna Nicole Smith's death earlier this year still talked about? Lucky Dube had more talent in his pinky than Anna Nicole Smith had in her whole persona. Smith's death was inevitable (considering how much she emulated Marilyn Monroe), while Dube's is tragic and worth commentary on.

So, here's to Argentina on their courage to give a woman a chance to prove her leadership and my condolences to the family and friends of Lucky Dube. As Johnny Clegg once sang, "it's a cruel, crazy, beautiful world..."