Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Vignettes Of Change

Recently, I have been reading some reminiscent books written by former Obama staffers. Those years were fascinating for me given where I come from. From the outside looking it, it appeared like change that come about before its time. There were consequences as the years following showed. In a way the experience paralleled India coming into independence in 1947 a secular country with its constitution written under the leadership of a Dalit Buddhist, Dr. Ambedkar. The out-sized dreams for India ended up being very far from attainable. In a sense the overzealous push to get India caught up to the rest of the free world after hundreds of years of foreign servitude, set us back a hundred years more. There is a time and pace for change and neither can be forced upon a people or a country.

2008 was the beginning of J's interest in American politics which runs strong to this day. I was sucked into the excitement of the times by my then seven year old. She was a believer back then as it seems some of these authors were. David Litt in his book My Hopey Changey White House Years was hard to like. The author seemed to be processing internal conflict by writing this book. As of its writing, he had not determined what those years meant for him. While being part of the creative process is interesting sometimes, such was not the case here. Litt sought to view things as a net positive but there was some strange mix of hero worship, self-deprecation, confusion about life overall that made it a hard sell to the reader. It was difficult to stay with the book and see it through even though Litt is a very talented writer.

The next one of this genre I tried to read was Who Thought This Was a Good Idea by Alyssa Mastromonaco. A very different tone and style from a mid-career professional not swooning over hope and dream. Mastromonaco does not come across a fan-girl but more a woman with big career goals and the grit required to achieve them. However, the long form description of her tampon travails in the opening chapter set the tone for her book. It was imagery that stuck and not in the most helpful way for her cause whatever that may have been. She did clarify that being known as the one who brought tampon dispensers to the woman's restroom in her place of work is not how she wanted to remembered by posterity. So a reader may assume her book was meant to serve some other cause.

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