Marx takes a curtain call; Colbert makes it clear; Obama makes it big

The Guardian reports that a drama troupe in Düsseldorf is performing a stage version of Das Kapital, a project possibly only secondary in difficulty to making a hit musical out of the Encyclopædia Britannica. As incentive, all theatregoers are presented with Volume 23 of the Collected Works of Marx and Engels. I’m not sure it will be enough; a local paper said the play was like a “lecture… dry and boring”.

The double-header Daily Show/Colbert Report on the recent US elections was pretty funny, at least to those of us who obsessively follow US politics. Colbert was in full character as he complained about the results:

What really gets me here is that the Democrats didn’t win this election, the Republicans lost it... We were this close to Jesus coming back! And you Republicans who turned your back on the President are going to wander in the desert for the next two years — literally. Someone’s going to have to replace those troops in Iraq. And don’t think you’re off the hook, voters, you’re the ones who made this bed, now you’re the ones who’ll have to move over so a gay couple can sleep in it. Tomorrow you’re all going to wake up in a brave new world, a world where the Constitution gets trampled by an army of terrorists clones created in a stem cell research lab run by homosexual doctors who sterilize their instruments over burning American flags. Where tax and spend Democrats take all your hard-earned money to buy electric cars for National Public Radio and teach evolution to illegal immigrants. And everybody’s high!

Seriously, though, I gather that many Democratic gains were made behind “enemy lines”, by taking out incumbent Republicans staked out in generally blue territory, and that several others were thanks to “moderate” candidates not immediately distinguishable from their Republican opponents. Oh, well, Bush still called it a “thumpin’”. The Democrat’s gains will draw attention to their own leadership race, and in second place so far is Barack Obama, a popular Black senator from Illinois (actually, he’s the only Black senator sitting, and only the fifth Black senator to ever hold office). He seems like an alright sort, although as the feature on him in the latest Harper’s noted, it’s pretty much impossible to hold high office in the US without making deals far and wide just to have enough money to run a basic campaign. You can’t really get anywhere by being an independent thinker who refuses to court lobbyists. (I’m not claiming Canadian politicians are necessarily more ethical, but at least our campaigns are cheaper and shorter, which leaves less need for cronyism.)

Anyways, I mention this because it so happens that his father was from a small village in western Kenya just a few dozen kilometres south of where our friends Sarah and Julian were working when we visited them this past winter. It’s a small world.