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The UK Defence Ministry thinks terrorists will dance with you, have tea with your mum and babysit all thanks to social media

This is pretty amazing. The Telegraph has the story of the MoD warning servicemen and women (and their families) about the potential dangers of posting information to social networks. The videos are well done and do actually lead you to think before you post. However, they have conclusions which lead to far more important lessons.

Take the video above. Toward the end, as the tension builds, I'm expecting the sailors to get attacked, kidnapped, beheaded or something. Instead, the closing shot is of the servicewomen dancing with a fully-masked, fully-armed, presumed-terrorist. This begs much larger questions than "Did these ladies overshare on Foursquare?" Questions such as:

  1. What sort of security is the nightclub operating under? Maybe the MoD should do a public campaign about the dangers of shit bouncers?
  2. What sort of British sailor spots an armed terrorist and chooses to dance with him? Granted, a lot might have happened off-screen. Maybe the terrorist threated to murder every single club-goer if these sailors didn't dance with him. Maybe that's what he really wants in life, not money, not the release of a political prisoner. Maybe he just wants to feel sexy for once in his life.

There are a total of four full scenario videos in the series. Here's my absolute favorite.

I mean, that's just brilliant. If terrorists are providing free child care, we need to rethink this entire War on Terrorism thing from the ground up!

Just discovered the Armando Iannucci show. Another reason to love British satire

h/t Tricia Wang for a heads up about this.

Armando Ianucci created The Day Today in the early 1990s (considered by some to be a predecessor to The Daily Show), and I'm disappointed I'm just now seeing his work. Check out this 8 minute clip from what I think is a recent show. It's worth the whole look and hilarious. Great writing. Dry tone. Penetrating satire. 

And here's a trailer for the 2009 movie In The Loop which is about the US-UK relationship and the lead-up to the Iraq War, with all the associated miscommunication of government. 

Those of you who love Skins as much as I do will recognize the lead role is played by Peter Capaldi, aka Sid's dad! For more background, check out this Charlie Rose interview with Armando. Also, he is on Twitter.

My Op Ed In The Independent Of London On Obama And Black America

cross-posted to Jack and Jill Politics Wednesday morning I got a call from the UK asking if I would write an editorial about the significance of Barack Obama's nomination in Black America. I find it hard to resist that crisp British accent and made room to compose my thoughts. The piece has been published in print and online under the title Baratunde Thurston: I used to be cynical about my country. No longer... Not quite the headline I'd have chosen, but pretty accurate. In the piece,  I share a story for the first time from my experience with the Obama campaign in Dallas and write about the power and limits of symbolism. Here's an excerpt
Despite our sacrifices – fighting in wars and paying taxes – we are constantly reminded we're not full members of the club. Yet, Barack Obama made me feel American. He has, and this is really quite annoying, made me care enough to get more involved. His early opposition to the war, the grass-roots nature of his campaign, and his habit of speaking in grammatically correct sentences have all helped. His very composition from white Kansan and black African parents tells a story that is authentically American. Beyond him, however, the reaction of the American people best demonstrates Obama's impact. For black America, the defining moment occurred on 3 January, when Obama won in overwhelmingly white Iowa. It was a sign that things in this country were changing. Although Obama is the nominee, the path ahead won't be easy. People still ask, "Is America ready for a black president?" That's the wrong question. America has never been "ready" to extend its ideals to all of its citizens without being pushed. Was America "ready" for emancipation or women's suffrage or Simon Cowell? No, but we've got them now and in two of those three cases, we are much better for it.
Check out the full editorial at their fancy British website!