Adam Serwer

Adam Serwer is a writing fellow at The American Prospect and a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He also blogs at Jack and Jill Politics and has written for The Village Voice, The Washington Post, The Root, and the Daily News.

Recent Articles

MESSAGE BOARD JOURNALISM.

Some of you who read Amy Chozick 's article in the Wall Street Journal , musing whether Obama may be "too skinny" to be president, may have mistakenly thought you were reading The Onion . In her piece, Chozick quotes a "Clinton Supporter" on a message board who says, "I won't vote for any beanpole guy." The good folks at Sadly, No! and Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog , however, point out that it was Chozick herself who started the message board. While the thread has since been deleted, this Google cache version is still up. Of the three independent responses, two were mocking Chozick for posing the question. The anonymous posting on the message board is one of the only two people quoted in the article as actually criticizing Obama for being "too fit". Steve M. further points out that one sentence in the article -- "These days he stays away from junk food and instead snacks on MET-Rx chocolate roasted-peanut protein bars and drinks Black Forest Berry Honest Tea, a healthy organic...

Obama's Racial Catch-22

For Barack Obama, countering racist attacks means acknowledging that racism is alive and well -- which poses a threat to his hope-based campaign.

You've probably seen it by now: the images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton dissolving into footage of Barack Obama's speech in Berlin, as a voice dripping with sarcasm proclaims, "He's the biggest celebrity in the world." The McCain campaign's "Britney" ad lays out a series of objections about Obama, questioning whether he's "ready to lead" and criticizing his opposition to offshore drilling. But what's garnered the most attention is the juxtaposition of Obama with two white women known for their sex appeal. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo compared the ad to the infamous Harold Ford "Call Me" ads that ran in 2006, and Rick Perlstein of the Campaign for America's Future concurred that the ad was playing off stereotypes about black male sexuality. The New York Times and CNN's Jack Cafferty also saw parallels with the Ford ads. The critics are correct in noting that a racial dimension is certainly present. The problem is that they interpret the ad as channeling fears of...

"A RUNNING START."

This post has been edited for clarity . Mother Jones has a new project called "SLAMMED: The Coming Prison Meldown," that deals with our ever-expanding prison system. Justine Sharrock writes about how, in Kansas, previously skeptical corrections professionals were pleasantly surprised about how effective transitional services could be, properly supported. The problem is that political debates about crime often degenerate into demagoguery, with politicians describing social investments that are effective in reducing recidivism as "giveaways" to felons who don't deserve them. Others describe crime as resulting from "cultural problems" that can't be fixed, so all you can do is lock people up forever. To a certain extent, it's true that there's a cultural component; regardless of who you were before you went to prison, the skills for surviving a bid are all about self-preservation in a dangerous environment, they don't help you keep a job or take care of a family. But that's part of the...

MCCAIN'S "MAVERICK" NARRATIVE PERSISTS.

This article in The Washington Post , which actually does a good job of chronicling McCain's wildly fluctuating positions, still shows how strong the resistance is to deviating from the established campaign narrative about John McCain. What's most disconcerting is the way it suggests that McCain has secretly been for a conditional withdrawal from Iraq all along. The article explains that when delivering his "attack lines," namely that Obama 's plan would force U.S. troops to "retreat under fire," McCain is awkward (according to aides, he's "no Bush" -- how happy was the campaign to see that quote in the final copy?) but left to "freewheel" on CNN with Wolf Blitzer , he offers a complete reversal of the policy he's been advocating for more than a year. The indefinite occupation that had been the centerpiece of McCain's Iraq policy, we are now meant to believe, was now the product of conniving Washington aides (whom McCain himself chose to help run his campaign, but bears no...

UMBRAGE-FEST 2008 CONTINUES.

Barack Obama 's campaign issued a denunciation of this Ludacris song in which he refers to Hillary Clinton as "a bitch". Simultaneously, Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton released a statement saying: "As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn't want his daughters or any children exposed to. This song is not only outrageously offensive to Senator Clinton, Reverend Jackson , Senator McCain , and President Bush , it is offensive to all of us who are trying to raise our children with the values we hold dear. While Ludacris is a talented individual he should be ashamed of these lyrics." Ta-Nehisi Coates titles a post "Ludacris attempts to make Hip-hop more irrelevant" but it's hard to see how it's ever been more relevant. Nas is protesting FOX News on behalf of MoveOn, Ludacris gets a personal chin check from Bill Burton and when and where Obama chooses to listen to Jay-Z 's...

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