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2 August 2000

We thank you, sir, for your concern regarding our notoriously over-medicated scribe, and hasten to assure you that no matter what pretence the author makes for lofty, literary aspirations, his outpourings shall never lose, nor manage to successfully disguise, the cheery, vulgar, proletarian aura of the dog-fouled gutter.

He would like to think, however, that with this current venture he and Mr. O'Neill have managed to transcend the "Penny Dreadful", and have instead given genesis, in his own words, to the "Three Dollar ****ing Awful".
-- The Editor of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, from the letters column of L.O.E.G. Vol. 1 No. 6 (of 6) by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill. (Yes, the asterisks were there in the original.)

Mostly GOP convention stuff today...

Did anyone hear the speech from Theodore Roosevelt IV? It was rather surprising. He talked about the Republican Party as the party of conservationists, he praised the EPA, he talked about preserving pelicans being just as important as progress... I would quote some of it if there were an easily-found transcript (or if I had time to transcribe some myself...not today!).

I can't help but think that some Republicans in the hall looked around quizzically asking each other, "who let him on stage?"

Or am I not giving the GOP enough credit?

So, as usual, I find myself watching a "mainstream" political event with great interest, even though I'm really not part of the audience for it; neither major party is getting my vote. What fascinates me is just observing what the Republicans apparently believe will be persuasive to the general public as well as to their own members. It's riveting at times, deathly boring at times, and often transparently phony.

The slogans for each day are mind-numbing: Opportunity With a Purpose, Strength and Security With a Purpose, Prosperity With a Purpose, and President With a Purpose. What dimestore MBA marketing major came up with that? Why tack on 'with a purpose'? What is the purpose? Why not just Opportunity, Strength and Security, and Prosperity? ("President With a Purpose" I'll give them, just because it almost makes some sense and "President" on its own doesn't mean much.)

I won't even go near the platform, except to note that everyone talks out of both sides of their mouth about it: "It's not that important, it obviously doesn't reflect the feelings of the average Republican, but really it's a crucial document." Um?

Similarly, Andrew Card, the convention's chairman, goes on Larry King, talking about the ways this convention will be different and unified and pre-fabricated and choreographed down to the minute, and we already know the outcome, yet then he claims "Real history will be made here." Uh. Riiiight.

Bob Dole gave a pretty nice speech.

McCain drank the Kool-Aid, but put a pretty face on it.

Best of all, The Daily Show is at the convention. True, their coverage hasn't been all that fabulous yet, but I expect it to get better. Plus, I missed part of last night's show while flipping back & forth between it & CNN, but maybe I'll catch the repeat today.

The coolest part so far was when Jon Stewart was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN. He had a number of serious things to say, though as usual they're buried in sarcasm:

  • CNN Late Edition: What Message Do Republicans Want to Send? [CNN]
    We're here to enjoy the process. We're a fake news organization covering a fake news event. So, really, we're the only ones who should be here. I don't know what you're doing here.

    You know, when you do those polls, do they ever address how many people hang up?... Because anybody who will just sit there and talk to you and your pollster isn't very busy.

    What's funny to me, so far, is just the complete script that people keep walking in and hitting. That's what's killing me. That's what -- when you watch this at home, it's so dispiriting.

    I wonder if they think we have no short-term memory... Do they think we weren't alive, two years ago, when Bob Barr and the House managers walked in and just started flinging. Here's what I remember -- I remember when Clarence Thomas might have had sexually inappropriate contact with someone, that was a crime against humanity as far as the Democrats were concerned, but when Bill Clinton had sexual contact, that was a -- 'yes, the man has faults. Well, we won't say he's perfect.'

Also, the New York Times had a profile on the show yesterday:

  • In the News Today: Wry Observations and Snide Remarks [NY Times]
    Because "The Daily Show" is far more enjoyable when compared with the traditional newscasts, it could actually encourage young people to watch the nightly news -- if only to make fun of it.

    It's no small feat to pull off this eclectic vision of breaking news, which relies on film clips and graphics to tell its stories. In addition to its crew of field reporters and commentators, "The Daily Show" has a large backstage contingent of writers, producers and technicians. The show is sending 94 people to the Philadelphia convention. But casting Mr. Stewart, who also writes much of his own material, as the anchor 18 months ago -- replacing Craig Kilborn -- has proved to be the crucial ingredient to the four-year-old program's success. Ratings have increased 43 percent since he took over.

Jon Stewart stomps Jay Leno like a grape as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks to rc3 for the heads-up that (a combined e-commerce site for independent booksellers) is up and running (though still in beta).

I didn't see any mention of an affiliate program. That's one big reason Amazon got so popular, I think; people had an incentive to get others to buy from them. If BookSense would add an affiliate program, I think they'd have a better shot at becoming a raging success.

Whoa. Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini has joined Jakob Nielsen & Don Norman's outfit. Huh. This raises my estimation of the group.

Gotta go watch more convention coverage. Who knows why...

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