Something, Something, Barack Obama: Miranda July’s We Think Alone, Week 3

July 15, 2013 | Marie Calloway

The third week of emails from Miranda July’s We Think Alone project was sent out today. After “money” and “advice,” the latest topic is Barack Obama. Or rather, emails that mention Barack Obama. A little bit.

The emails are mostly complimentary of the president and are dated during the earlier parts of his administration. Kareem Abdul Jabbar discusses how honored he was to visit the White House with his son. Catherine Opie responded to an email with the subject of “amazing speech” with “go Obama all the way.” There is one that stands out: In 2012, Dahn Vo admired his critical friend’s article, “Obama’s EPA Allows Toxic Navy Ships to be Dumped in Bangladesh.”

Like Opie’s, several other of the emails reference Obama’s campaigns, both 2008 and 2012’s. There is a certain feeling of nostalgia in reading them. Writer Sheila Heti discussed the I Dream of Hilary, I Dream Of Barack website, which allows users to send in posts about dreams they had during the 2008 presidential election. Heti was interested in the project for its opportunity to reveal what the candidates represented in our subconsciousness: “They’re strange and revealing! The Barack dreams are really different from the Clinton ones. For example, in two of the Clinton dreams, a pineapple appears. There are no pineapples in the Barack dreams.”

Lena Dunham discusses the backlash she received after her infamously sexually suggestive PSA went viral.  “[I’m] not hurt, just amazed this whole side of the country is truly actively existing, calling women skanks like it’s somehow a valid argument.”

A few are totally apolitical. Etgar Keret’s is rather personal — a warm email to a friend or possible romantic interest.  “The evening together was really great. There is something about the fact that it always ends with me flying off that adds something existential or at least classic-movie like to it (Casablanca ‘we’ll always have New york’ kind of ending). I can imagine us two living in NYC and I’m hanging out all the time in your office…” It only mentions Obama in a tangential way, saying he should have paid the limo driver, “…with my Obama 44$ notes leaving him a big tip.” That might seem a bit self-absorbed.

So, now we know how the election affected Miranda July’s friends. Kirsten Dunst’s email is my favorite. It reads, simply, “Obama mom.”