It Happened to Me

Red vs. Blue

“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.

Illustration: Two dogs fighting (by Goopymart).
Ah, talk radio. Click the illustration to hear the MP3 of the show.

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).

Graphic: 'Votes, Bits and Bytes' logo.
Good conference, lame name. Might as well have called it “Voting Voting Voting” and set it to the tune of Badger Badger Badger.

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.

If you want to know more about the conference, here’s its “about” page. If you want to know what’s happening, check out the conference schedule.

As always, feel free to comment! The standard rules of decorum apply.

3 replies on “Red vs. Blue”

“Saturday night will feature a party at the Hong Kong Club, and the accordion’s presence has already been requested.”

Ah, the Kong. I just returned from there. Will you be dining downstairs as well? If so, I recommend the sesame chicken– but only after midnight– you just can’t eat food from the Kong before midnight.

Hey. You’re not supposed to insult the name of my conference. Even if I didn’t make up the title. 😛

I’m gobsmacked.

I knew Lolita very well while I was living in NYC. Her work with the Children’s Aid Society was selfless and significant. I met her as a result of taking kids in Harlem out on weekend jaunts, and she is as nice a person as you’d ever want to meet. Hers was one of the names I so desperately searched for on the “we’re okay” lists after 9/11, and I was incredibly relieved to see it. (I moved back to Accordion City one month before 9/11, after a 5-year tour of Manhattan). I’m so glad she’s doing well!

Man. Now I’m going to have to rethink my opinion of Republicans. Lolita…I hardly knew ye.

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