“Politics,” as the blogger who goes by the name Stavros the Wonder Chicken writes, “chafe my scrote.” I hear ya, brother, I hear ya. In spite of this, a fella like me likes to keep his hand in the game, however so slightly.
I’ve just finished listening to the MP3 [13.8 MB MP3, podcast-friendly enclosure] of Kathy “Relapsed Catholic” Shaidle’s (American wanna-be) debating Osgoode Hall professor Michael Mandel (Sixties damage) on KMSR-AM 990 Texas Talk Radio’s David Gold show.
(The phrase “Texas talk radio” should be your first warning sign.)
Mandel won the obnoxiousness trophy, exhibiting the worst traits of the Left — a toxic melange of social maladroitsm and unresolved adolescent rebellion — to near-parodic levels. Any good point he had was eclipsed by that tiresome lefty shrillness. Kathy did a better job being civil, although she practiced her own trademarked brand of “I’m a grown-up and you’re not” red-state condescension; in moments she even out-Church-Ladied Dana Carvey. The bit in which she says Canada’s priorities are mixed up because we recognize sexual orientation rights but not property rights (Homesteads before homos!) is funny, but in the way she intended.
My verdict: it’s just two diametrically-opposed people scoring debating points off each other. At best, it follows the dictum that writers for the Seinfeld TV series follow: “Nobody hugs, nobody learns”. However, if you’re like me and like catching the late-night racoon fights that take place in my yard, you might enjoy it. Make sure you’re doing something useful while listening so that you won’t feel robbed of an hour of your time (in my case, the initial work on a revised reseller code library for Blogware).
The second first red-stater/blue-stater debate that I’ll hear this week will take place at Harvard, at the Internet + Society 2004 Conference: “Votes, Bits and Bytes”.
The conference will open with a debate between Michael Turk, eCampaign Director for the Bush/Cheney campaign and Joe Trippi, former campaign manager for Howard Dean. The topic of discussion: the effect of the Internet on politics and the way Democrats and Republicans used the web in 2004. The moderator: Kathleen Matthews (news anchor, Harvard fellow, wife of Hardball host Chris Matthews). I’ll take notes and post them here.
Friday night will feature a number of “Food for Thought” dinners, in which a prominent person will lead a dinner discussion at a nearby restaurant on a socio-political topic of his or her choice. I was invited to lead a dinner, but for the life of me couldn’t come up with a topic that I felt was worthy (my thanks to Erica George at the Center for consdering me; maybe next year I’ll think of something). I gave some thought to sitting in on the dinner that Hossein “Hoder” Derakhshan was hosting, but I can catch up with him any time here in Accordion City. I also gave some thought to Brian Reich’s talk about how changes in technological mobility, information transparency, and access to broadband will affect the next election, but that’s the sort of stuff I always discuss with my peers in the industry. I opted to attend the dinner hosted by Lolita Jackson of the Metropolitan Republican Club, where the topic will be “How are shifting minority voting patterns reshaping politics on the ground?”
Ms. Jackson, it should be noted, has luck that far outshines my own — she survived both the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
I’ll post my notes from the dinner.
Saturday looks like it’ll be the most intense for me, as there are a number of discussions of interest to me and Tucows; this is where I go into full geek ambassador mode. Saturday night will feature a party at the Hong Kong Club, and the accordion’s presence has already been requested. I’ll be groovin’ like Batman.
As always, feel free to comment! The standard rules of decorum apply.