- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 11, 2009

Color commentary

Experts wonder: When President-elect Barack Obama gets to the White House, does it mean that America has entered a post-racial era?

Some say first lady-in-waiting Michelle Obama is key.

“A black first lady is an even more revolutionary development than a black president,” says Paul C. Taylor, associate professor and chairman of the philosophy department at Temple University.

“The first lady is, as her title suggests, a national icon for femininity, for good or for ill. But the American public’s ideas about black women are much more likely to be shaped by Beyonce than by California congresswoman Barbara Lee,” Mr. Taylor says. “The ascension of Michelle Obama to the role of America’s first lady is a real cultural shift.”

History professor David Farber has another take.

“We’re all wondering if we are living through another Camelot and we can only hope that this era turns out better. Our problems are not those of the ‘60s; the solutions will be harder to find,” he notes.

“If all of the assumptions that you had grown up with and the information on which they’re based disappears, your system of privilege disappears as well. Once this post-racial world comes — if it does — there are going to be lots of people, including poor whites, who will have to adjust,” observes Thaddeus Mathis, professor emeritus and a former associate dean of Temple’s School of Social Administration.

Spirited response

Here we go again. As with the 2008 presidential election, enterprising types have concocted a spate of inauguration-themed cocktails for the big moment, which is just nine days away. Among them:

The Dream (bourbon, apple cider, honey, caramel, cinnamon stick), served at TenPenh, Arcadia, DC Coast, Ceiba and Passion Fish restaurants.

The American Dream (pomegranate liqueur, black cherry rum, cherry juice, blueberry garnish) and Air Force One (Hypnotiq liqueur, citrus vodka, lemon-lime soda, lemon twist), at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

El Presidente of Change (white rum, curacao, dry vermouth, grenadine, pear slice), a variation on the classic Cuban cocktail by Los Angeles mixologist Natalie Bovis-Nelsen.

Clack, clack, clack

There are those among us who are not impressed with e-mails, Blackberrys, Twitter and all the other instant but unruly communiques of the modern age. What happened to good handwriting, they wonder? And where is the sedate and civilized clack of a good typewriter, tapping out deep thoughts or clever missives?

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