April 30, 2008
So I was on jailbreaktoys today, trying to purchase the Revolutionary set, and I see this awesome little indie Obama fundraiser.
They are selling these Obama action figures, with the perfect tag, "The first and only action figure with the power to transform a nation."
Best of all, for every action figure ordered, the folks at jailbreak donate a buck to Obama's campaign.
I like this especially because they are supporting my guy, but even if you aren't all about Obama, it is pretty cool to see how even funky web-based toy-makers have been mobilized.
April 29, 2008
April 26, 2008
As anyone who has been reading my other blog for any length of time knows, I'm in the bag for Obama. Hell, if I was hot and female, I'd give Obama girl a run for her money.
OK, that's a bit of tragic hyperbole, but you get where I'm coming from, I'm sure.
As I write this, I'm no less pro-Obama (Probama?) than ever before, but I do have some problems. Not with him, necessarily, more likely his message handlers.
Here's the thing (and I'm about to get all wonky on you, kind of)... Obama is straight-up post-materialist. And that's cool. Plus, I'm pretty much post-materialist, too, so it's real cool.
Post-materialist is just a fancy-schmancy way of saying that he is concerned with all the kinds of things people are concerned with when times are good. You know, when food is on the table, everyone is employed, the nation is relatively at peace. (This country is hardly ever at peace, if you think about it, so we have to approach this thing relatively.) Anyway, point is, when times are good, we stop worrying about the basics and start opening our minds and wallets to other things less directly pressing. No pressing job issues? Let's fix the environment then. No crazy violent crime rate? Let's help the homeless then. No problems with inflation? Let's do campaign finance reform. And so on and so on. Reasonable, right? Right.
Problem is, shit is not comfy right now, and it is getting less comfy by the day. It is still pretty ok for the youth (who don't have to worry about mortgages yet) and the well-educated (because they are usually on pretty solid financial ground). Surprise, surprise - I just named 2/3 of Obama's base. The other 1/3, African-Americans, are as bad off as anyone else, but supporting Obama isn't about post-materialism, it is about history and identity and, yes, hope. And sometimes that stuff is as important as anything else.
Hillary is definitely not a post-materialist. I don't think she's capable of it, even if times were great (which they are decidedly not). She's had a bunker mentality since high school (if not birth) and such a worldview does not usually allow oneself to focus on the less immediate things. This is why I'd really like her in the Senate, as a leader, fostering change for a long time to come.
My guy Barack has plenty of policy details to offer, not just on his webpage but in every stump speech he delivers. Focusing on his policy details just doesn't fit with the media's stereotype of his candidacy, so it doesn't make the news, but that's another complaint for another time.
So where am I going with all this? Honestly, I don't know. Mostly just trying to say I wish my candidate would take a step back, realize that the political landscape has changed dramatically since he launched his bid last year, and recalibrate his pitch. He's got all the right positions, he just needs to change the way he lets people know.
He's the candidate of change, which is great and necessary. We want transformation and we desperately need it. But right now people really need to keep their houses and feed their kids and put gas in the tank and get their cousins and sons and fathers home alive from wars abroad.
It is possible to have both, but you have to speak to both. Obama's gone from rhetoric of transformation to rhetoric of electoral calculation (i.e., why HRC can't win). He's as right today as he's ever been, but it wasn't the rhetorical switch he needed to make. He needs to adopt a rhetoric of problem solving, and he can do so without being crass or pandering. All he needs to do is talk about his ideas.
I hope he and his advisors aren't too hooked on the hubris it seems they've been caught on of late to make this change. It'd be a damn shame if we ended up with a lesser leader cause he/they couldn't read the tea leaves.
April 24, 2008
Jimmy and I were talking in the hallway yesterday about the food crisis and the end of Empire. We ran into another of our colleagues and asked him what he thought, but he hadn't heard about the food shortages or the food riots. Sigh. I don't think that the U.S. MSM has paid nearly enough attention to this issue. Why not?
And, is it all caused by rising gas prices or are there other factors?
April 23, 2008
1. I had a dream last night in which I yelled at Hillary Clinton severely for not being nicer to my pregnant friend. I accused her of not being a real woman, among other things. WTF?
2. How do I get on this list? And, I'm sad to say that I don't know anyone on it personally. Can we start a facebook for that?
3. I'm confused about where Obama wins and electoral maps. What do you think that it means that he tends to win in the big cities (typically where Democrats win), but not so much in the country/suburbs. Does that mean that "true" Democrats like Obama better and more centrists like Clinton? But, I thought that Obama was getting all the new Dems and the Independents and the cross-over Republicans. Very confusing. What am I missing? Please don't say that the "urban vote" is the minority vote--I mean, is that what it is??
ps: When is spellcheck going to learn how to spell Obama?? Jeez.
April 16, 2008
A lot of buzz has been raised over Barack Obama’s recent comments about small-town voters. The initial reaction was merely the public being called a name that they didn’t like. Voters like him to tell the truth, but start to get shifty when it pertains to them. Polls numbers show, however, that this offense didn’t take for long . His recent misstep shows how out of touch he is with the image of perfection that the media has built him up to be – and how he can relate to us normal-folk.
This is nothing new, especially to the blogosphere, mainstream media, or news sources.
The voters have moved on from this issue. Hillary never got the bump in the polls she was expecting, Obama is still gaining or holding ground in Pennsylvania (depending on what poll you look at), and the superdelegates aren’t moving. Without political gains on the issue, you would think that the story would be dead.
But it continues. We’ve had apologies before and we’ve had stories go on infinitely longer than they should have. This conversation is no longer about the content of the comment, however. It’s a game: how many entendres can we come up with “Bitter”? Now, don’t get me wrong – there have been some good ones. My favorite has been “Guns and Bitter”. They range from “Bitter Battle” to “Bitter-Sweet Symphony”. The most recent stories are how inconsequential these comments have been on the race at large.
I can’t help but feel that the continued frenzy over this issue is fueled by the plays on words that continue to plague articles. A new pun comes to mind, and someone on the tail end of the spin cycle contributes with an analogy of Obama trying to swallow a “bitter pill”. I’ve done my part to keep it going, too, with my own variation from the “Butter Battle Book”. Language has a powerful hold on this election. The level of political discourse in this country is higher than at any point in my lifetime, and I give much of the credit to Barack Obama’s powerful speeches that inspire a nation. It’s just a bit depressing to see this debasement of language by the infotainment (read: news) industry.
Now, I like puns as much as the next guy. Plays on words are the epitome of my sense of humor. But when language is stretched to the brink of uselessness merely for the sake of using another bad entendre, it creates a blasé attitude towards language in general – and I can’t afford to go through another era of “common” language.
It's not my fault. I guess the media has just made me bitter.
April 14, 2008
Political Cotton Candy is new, very new. In fact, PCC is so new that many of its co-bloggers have not yet written a blog post. Perhaps they are waiting to find out what particular lacuna we fill? Behold, the Google search strings that lead our many, many readers to find us:
6.52% right to bear video games
6.52% i don't get walnuts mccain
4.35% hop obama beer six points
4.35% why is mccain called walnuts
2.17% candy with vote for me on it.
2.17% what kinds of cotton candy is their
2.17% walnuts john mccain
2.17% tv show john adams
2.17% cotton candy dist
2.17% arm bears
2.17% facts about the john adams tv series
2.17% political candy
2.17% why mccain walnuts
2.17% lisa meid
2.17% fluff for ashtrays
2.17% john adams tv series
2.17% mike gravel
2.17% why do they call mccain walnuts
2.17% adams morgan
2.17% how did cotton candy improve peoples lives?
2.17% what is political rhe-trickery
2.17% mccain walnut
2.17% why is john mccain referred to as walnuts
2.17% heston cold prying fingers hands
2.17% black americana woman bobblehead
2.17% walnuts wonkette
2.17% pecan marijuana
2.17% should pilots have the right to bear arms
2.17% john mccain walnuts why
2.17% john walnuts! mccain
Notice any themes?
April 7, 2008
Stanley Fish has a great essay in the NYT in response to the soon to be published “French Theory: How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, & Co. Transformed the Intellectual Life of the United States” by Francois Cusset.
It looks like a great book to introduce graduate students to the history of ideas. Anyone plan to read it?
April 3, 2008
I can't tell if that Gravel Video Jen linked to is an elaborate inside joke or not.
For the Libertarian Party, the Ron Paul newsletters were such a big deal, both on the left, where it confirmed their darkest (and most gleeful) imaginations, as well as for the libertarians themselves, who were worried about what was being advertised as part of a Libertarian Agenda. For me, I enjoyed seeing the newsletters' engagement with the Michigan Militia mentality:
As early as December 1989, a section of his Investment Letter, titled "What To Expect for the 1990s," predicted that "Racial Violence Will Fill Our Cities" because "mostly black welfare recipients will feel justified in stealing from mostly white 'haves.'" Two months later, a newsletter warned of "The Coming Race War," and, in November 1990, an item advised readers, "If you live in a major city, and can leave, do so. If not, but you can have a rural retreat, for investment and refuge, buy it." In June 1991, an entry on racial disturbances in Washington, DC's Adams Morgan neighborhood was titled, "Animals Take Over the D.C. Zoo." "This is only the first skirmish in the race war of the 1990s," the newsletter predicted. In an October 1992 item about urban crime, the newsletter's author--presumably Paul--wrote, "I've urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming."
Say what you will, but it is interesting how Anti-Welfare State rhetoric and racism compliment each other so well; this marriage wasn't a shotgun one. More to the point, if this sounds like Charles Manson, it should:
The murders perpetrated by Charles Manson and members of his Family were inspired in part by Manson's prediction of Helter Skelter, an apocalyptic war he believed would arise from tension over racial relations between blacks and whites. This "chimerical vision," as it was termed by the court that heard Manson's appeal from his conviction for the Tate-LaBianca killings, involved reference to music of The Beatles and to the New Testament's Book of Revelation.
Manson had been predicting racial war for some time before he used the term Helter Skelter His first use of the term was at a gathering of the Family on New Year's Eve 1968. This took place at the Family's base at Myers Ranch, near California's Death Valley...
On August 8, 1969, the day Manson instructed his followers to carry out the first of two sets of notorious murders, he told the Family, "Now is the time for Helter Skelter."
So the Libertarian Party had a bit of a Helter Skelter problem in 2008, one could say. And in case you didn't hear, Mike Gravel is now running for the Libertarian Nomination (and may very well get it). Maybe he wants race war cred?
I wonder if rhetorical scholars might descibe the difference between Clinton and Obama's rhetorical style as the difference between Aristotle and Gorgias (at least from Clinton's framing). How has Obama attempted to frame the differences between he and Clinton? Could we say that he positions himself as Demonsthenes? If so, does Demonsthenes trump Aristotle? Or, anyone else have a more apt comparison?
April 2, 2008
My dear friend Jim Aune posted this over at Blogora, I thought y'all might be interested in it here at PCC too. Feel free to discuss...