My essay-review of the film The Visitor in Global Hybrids Go Home doesn’t discuss the current presidential campaign, but points to a problem that Obama could face in the general campaign. It’s not the race issue. It’s the attempt by Obama and some of his aides to portary him as a cosmopolitan/multicultural figure — Kenyan/African-American father, progressive white academic mother, racist granny — who studied among Moslems in Indonesia, in Hawaii, at Harvard — or to use a term coined by author G. Pascal Zachary, the Global Hybrid, who
posses the attractive mix of “roots” and “wings”—that is, hyper-mobile “global hybrids” with “transnational identities,” who won’t stay put in one place, who experience “the breakdown of the unitary self, the rising appetite for diversity, the growing taste for gumbo, the proliferation of voluntary attachments to places, practices and communities.”
These individuals with roots in more than one nation and with wings to fly anywhere and anytime were “the fruits of the new patterns in migration and mobility,” Zachary wrote. “They are the future.”
They are not, I argue in my review, suggesting that politics — identity, religion, culture, nationalism — prove to be more powerful than that of economics=globalization, make it impossible for the Global Hybrid to continue maintaining “the proliferation of voluntary attachments to places, practices and communities.”
I suppose that the cosmopolitan marketing gimmick could help Obama with academic/Yuppie types. But he owns them anyway. It could backfire among the majority of Americans. My advice would be to promote Obama’s life-story as An American Journey, which happens to be the title of the biography of Colin Powell.