Thursday, October 16, 2008

Behind the Line

Watching the debate last night I came to a realization. I've always liked Barack Obama, from his impressive speech at the 2004 Democratic convention to his off-the-cuff campaigning for a failed California gubernatorial candidate on the steps of the university library across the way. He seemed like a bright passionate guy - spirited without being annoying, pragmatic without being dull. It was clear from the beginning of the campaign that I was voting for him - not Hilary Clinton and her Fountainhead undertones, not John Edwards and his TQM technique, not John McCain and his everything (how did such an interesting Daily Show guest and David Foster Wallace book subject turn into such a cranky ass?) No, I was clarly voting for Brack Obama.

Last night, Obama - at the point of greatest pressure, when the election seems like it's almost wrapped up, when he has the most to lose - didn't back down from a single tough question. He tackled abortion, the economy (I'll take that penalty-free 401K withdrawal you promised, Barack), William Ayers (really - try finding a college professor in Chicago who's not a reformed domestic terrorist) and did it coolly, smartly, inspirationally, and pragmatically. (Note: These are admirable traits) McCain, on the other hand, offered intellectually vacant sentences and scripted "zinger" comebacks that went nowhere. That might have worked in 2000 and 2004 but not against an opponent who can shoot you down with one well-thought-out sentence. Plus, he plays basketball and has lived in Hawaii, Kansas, Indonesia, and the south side of Chicago (all of which is pretty much analogous to Sweden, Egypt, the NJ/PA corridor, Minnesota, and the sort-of-east side of Los Angeles).

Speaking of Chicago - read my cousin's amazing account of a horrifying scene outside his apartment building.

I'll keep trying to push It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on all of you until someone tells me I'm right. This show is the natural successor (companion?) to Curb Your Enthusiasm except that it features five egocentric inappropriate characters instead of one. Not only that but Kaitlyn Olson - Larry's sister-in-law on CYE - is one of those five people. Here's part one of her "I'm not a bus person" scene from a couple episodes back. It can't touch the scene I linked to last week (nothing can) but it does perfectly represent a certain kind of public transportation claustrophobia that everyone can relate to.

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