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Randy Newman I’m Dreaming Political Satire: New Song From Perspective of a Racist Voter

I just lost 3 minutes and 17 seconds of my life that I will never get back. I wanted to watch the whole video, as I thought there might be some moral in the end, some clarity or clear call to vote. The video is a for a new song by Grammy-winger singer Randy Newman, the man who most recently won the Best Original Song for “We Belong Together” in Toy Story 3.

According to the Associated Press, Newman is playing the race card through his song “I’m Dreaming.” Never mind the fact that race is not a card to be played. It is either a reality of existence, something you are born into and grow into an understanding of (ideally), or is something you learn about through others. No card game that I have yet played can claim a race card, so let’s stop using the term. Nonetheless, Newman uses race as a the central focus of his new song, in which he assumes the position of a racist voter, who just wants to vote for a white person.

As Newman’s website states, “With lyrics from the viewpoint of a voter who casts his ballot solely based on skin color, the song draws attention to something Newman has noticed and written about for 40 years: racism in America … anyone wishing to contribute is encouraged to donate to the United Negro College Fund at www.uncf.org.”

The lyrics are slightly entertaining, if you like that kind of mock-racism type of thing: “A real live white man, who knows the score, how to handle money or start a war, wouldn’t even have to tell me what we were fighting for … He won’t be the brightest, perhaps, but he’ll be the whitest.”

Though he does not believe people will admit it, Newman thinks, “there are a lot of people who find it jarring to have a black man in the White House and they want him out.”

As quoted in the New York Times blog, Newman said he was worried there, “may be backlash from conservatives.” Perhaps the next song will be a satire against Obama? It all seems a bit strange and silly. I am curious to see if there is a boost in funding for the United Negro College Fund. Somehow, I doubt it.

“Hard work” (on what it takes to be a farmer)

Sarojany Devi has four daughters between age 14 and 20. All of her daughters are in school now. Sarojany manages 40 nali (20 nali = approx 1 acre) of land herself. Her daughters are unable to assist her and her husband cannot plough because he is ill. Her husband says that no one will farm here in the future once the daughters have moved to the families of their husbands, but Sarojany says, “if we can, we will do it, if we cannot, then we don’t know.”

Sarojany is 38, and she came to Sauri when she was 18 years old. Before marrying, she only learned how to cook. In Tonada village where she was born, she explains that there was another type of farming that uses more water. “Here the work is different.”

After she was married, her mother-in-law taught her farming. “They teach ‘little little’ and until I knew everything.” Saroj says that it took three to five years to gain experience in farming.

Sarojany says she “grows everything.”Generally, the family is able to support themselves from the land, “due to climate change we have to buy food sometimes.” “There is a very big problem with monkeys” she adds.

It takes hard work to be a farmer, according to Sarojany. Since January, she has had support in the form of the local Mahila Anna Swaraj (Womens Food Sovereignty Group). She collects all kinds of seeds and exchanges them with others in the village. The women’s group started in January and has already collected Rs 5,000 or Rs 6,000. “We discuss what work we have to do, about seeds, how to make compost…” Sarojany says. They also sing songs together.

Sarojany believes it is important for her daughters to be educated so that they can “Do well with farming.” Already she is teaching her daughters  “to make roti, to weed, to make compost, to clean.”

Concerning her daughters’ futures, she says, “That depends on luck. If they can do service that is good, if they do agriculture then she will do it well.” Sarojany received help for her farming work from her studies. She explains that she gained a better understanding of how much to sow which helps not to waste seeds. Sarojany says she is able to tell if it is a good seed or not by the yield: “If it gives a good yield, then it is good.”

Her husband believes it is important to grow food, because then it will be “pure.” According to her husband, if the rain is good they will exchange some crops for salt and if the harvest is enough, then they will sell some of the crops.