October 6th, 2004

flavored with age

Debate and de switch

Last night will be spun as a draw, I think. Of course, Edwards had to have won it on points, simply because he wasn't constantly lying; additionally, he managed to throw a few of Cheney's most powerful attacks back at him (Cheney's comment about his voting record looked like it might be a real knockout blow, but Edwards turned it around nicely by illuminating Cheney's own dismally reactionary record, and he managed a similarly face-saving turnaround on the flip-flop issue). Perhaps most importantly given that no one watches the VP debates, there was no defining moment, no obvious misstep or easily-decontextualized statement that the right will be able to throw around as a smoking gun in order to seize the post-debate spin.

On the other hand, Edwards wasn't on the attack very often, he let Cheney define the terms of argument once too often, and he seemed a bit stiff and devoted to his script; Cheney, on the other hand, took advantage of deflated expectations by coming across as a grumpy, impatient, scornful old prick rather than the outright plutocratic monster he normally is. He also didn't say anything flagrantly scandalous or come across as utterly unreasonably (except for maybe when he didn't feel it necessary to respond to some of Edwards' arguments, which the lapdogs of the right will no doubt interpret as strength and confidence).

So, a draw at best, a draw at worst. The first Kerry/Bush debate sent a shitload of momentum the Democrat's way, and at the very least this won't hurt. There's two more presidential debates, and it's too much to hope for a repeat of last Thursday's drubbing, but I'm pulling for Rove's hit squad putting the twitchy, ex-cokehead president into such a frenzy of overpreparation that he still looks like a freak. We'll see.
flavored with age

MAILBAG!

1. The October issue of Keeler News, the bulletin of the Harry Stephen Keeler Society. Features a piece on the movie version of "Sing Sing Nights", an announcement of this year's Imitate Keeler Competition, a long exchange of letters between HSK and August 'Gus' Derleth, and best of all, not only a letter from me and a notation of my membership renewal, but a gratuitous and kindly plug for my upcoming article in the High Hat about Keeler.

CRASSNESS LEVEL: 0.

2. New health insurance card from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois, along with incomprehensible letter 'explaining' why new card had to be issued. Does not ask for money.

CRASSNESS LEVEL: 2.

3. Schedule & promotional material for Chicago International Children's Film Festival. Does not ask for money, but was sent with the understanding that I attend the festival and then write nice things about it for the rag who got it for me, so is not entirely free of the taint of merchandising.

CRASSNESS LEVEL: 3.

4. Begging letter from the DNC, along with my DNC 2004 membership card, some historical materials, and a fun poll about my political beliefs and policy priorities. Not that awful, and even allows me to send in the poll without money.

CRASSNESS LEVEL: 5.

5. Begging letter from the DNC's Presidential Victory Fund asking for $25-40 to help John Kerry become Head Nigga In Charge. Contains no extraneous content other than a plea for money.

CRASSNESS LEVEL: 7.

6. Rejection letter from certain publication informing me some four months after I first applied that I will not be getting a job on their film desk. Politely worded letter, delightfully enough, is accompanied by subscription card that allows me to subscribe to the publication at a discount. In other words, no, they will not be offering me a lucrative and prominent position, but they will give me the chance to send them money.

CRASSNESS LEVEL: 71,649.