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what's the opposite of concise? rambling?

Just bought another year for this journal - guess that means I should write more.

I have become scarily addicted to political blogs.  I hate them, and yet I love them.  They all cover the exact same stories and issues.  They refer to each other constantly.  Basically their whole purpose for existing is to refer to each other.  They repeat themselves.  They blow everything out of proportion.  They bicker like children.  They are ruining American democracy, and maybe saving it too: at least they are talking about the issues, sometimes.  Good or bad, I am addicted. 

Another new addiction: the Sweeney Todd soundtrack.  Can it really be healthy to spend an hour every day in my car singing about cannibalism?

I signed up to be an Obama precinct captain, as I may have mentioned, which means that I am responsible for contacting likely Democratic and independent voters in a couple-block radius to see who they are planning to vote for, and as election day nears, to get Obama supporters to the polls.  Only my precinct is not actually near my house.  Also, 80% of the people in it are over the age of 80 (there's an assisted living center smack dab in the middle).  I

 tried to make calls tonight after I got home and had dinner, but it was 8:30 so I didn't want to call any older people who might be asleep already.  Calling only people under 65 meant I could call 1-3 people per page (18 to a page).  I do not have a good work schedule for this.  But I will try to devote myself to it this weekend. 

One of the women I talked to said that she was undecided, even though she lived Obama better, because she did not want to get too attached to a candidate and be disappointed.  I laughed, sadly, and said, "I'm bad at that."  I really hope I am not disappointed this time.  The Clinton machine is on the attack, and that scares me.  Why does the lowest common denominator always win?  (but it hasn't won yet - and I am going to tell myself, at least for the next 12 days, that it won't win this time)

Other than that, I am taking a newswriting class at City College of San Francisco, one night a week.  The teacher has been in journalism and editing for over 20 years, and he has lots of good stories.  His experience is both an asset and a drawback.  He knows all of the reporters in SF, and at the San Francisco Chronicle - which is cool because he has the inside scoop, but unfortunate because he is unable to separate himself from them or be critical of their work.  We were discussing an article in class yesterday, and he seemed to take criticism of it personally, and rather than admit it might not be perfect, he finally suggested that an editor might have changed it - as if we were criticizing the reporter and not the work.  Institutional thinking - the press defends itself.  I'm interested to see how he critiques our writing, as that is the real test.  I hope he can teach me to be clear and concise.  Obviously, my conciseness needs some work.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
aznina
Jan. 26th, 2008 02:41 am (UTC)
yay journalism! reporting classes are such a blast.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 27th, 2008 06:28 am (UTC)
Thanks for writing for us. Music. Politics.
I especially like the duets between Rickman and Depp. Wonderfully creepy. In the same vein, I love Bernstein's Candide. A 50's operetta based on Voltaire. The best song is "Glitter and Be Gay" sung by Cunegonde. The best version I've heard is by Michael Callen, a NYC gay activist/singer. Sometimes I walk home from work singing the refrain with him, "Ha ha--ha ha ha ha" at the top of my lungs. People avoid me then.
I played Bananagram, a simplified Speed Scrabble tonight at Janis's birthday party. I won 2 of 3 games. Between Sp. Scr. and the NYT's crossword puzzle (can usually nail Friday's now) I had an unfair advantage. There was a 23 year old there. She had no politics, liked Adam Sandler and Red Bull chasers, and didn't know there were Jews in Hollywood. Ben Stiller is Jewish? What a shock! I thought all college graduates were smart and worldly and witty and politically astute. I guess I've been interacting with too small a sample.She's from a small town and carried it with her to UW for four years.
I'm teaching The Photograph Within workshop with Doug tomorrow. We've got 12 participants. It's the first time that we've done a true joint venture. I think it will be fun. He's doing the Art Theory parts. I'm doing the experiential pieces: inner focus, finding the zone, refinding the zone. It'll be fine if we're not snowed out.
I'm going to have to let go of Edwards, even though he's my fave. Since our caucus isn't until after Super Tuesday, and happens on the day of the Seder, I'll have no say in who the Democrat is. I'll vote for him or her and probably give money. I feel helpless, but not hopeless. Like your phone person, I'm trying to cultivate detachment.
I'm also cultivating my healing process. Better every day. Though we'll be sitting on the couch to teach--The high stools would destroy me in 10 minutes.
Please keep writing us. I love it when you ramble. You do it so concisely.
Robin
(Anonymous)
Jan. 27th, 2008 06:30 am (UTC)
Congratulations.
Your guy blew them away in South Carolina. Even white people voted for him. Congratulations.
Robin
dougplummer
Feb. 1st, 2008 01:48 am (UTC)
what political blogs?
Do you have recommendations for blogs that aren't a rant or a screed? I'd like to get more than I'm getting from the mainstream.

Doug
bytheriver05
Feb. 1st, 2008 02:13 am (UTC)
Re: what political blogs?
I like Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias - both young progressives who tend to be pretty measured and thoughtful. Klein writes for the American Prospect and Yglesias for the Atlantic.

For more updates/horse race/less opinion I read the NY Times political blog, The Caucus, and Salon's political blog, War Room (they both tend liberal but aren't as personal as Klein or Yglesias).

And then for fun (and to see how the other half lives) I read Andrew Sullivan's blog at the Atlantic. He spends a lot of time ranting about Clinton, which I could do without, but besides that he is pretty thoughtful and writes well, so even though I disagree with many of his positions I find it interesting to read (unlike most "conservative" blogs which just make me angry.)
dougplummer
Feb. 1st, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
Re: what political blogs?
I've been a subscriber to The Atlantic for decades, and I appreciate its sometimes contrarian point of view. James Fallows is the smartest person on any issue out there. If he says it, it's right. I get most of my opinion from newspaper columnists though, and I like reading the thoughtful conservative ones. Charles Krauthammer generally is annoying, but every now and again I find him spot on. George Will I hardly ever agree with, but he's so elegantly disagreeable. On the other hand, someone needs to put Prozac in Maureen Dowd's feed. She is too in love with her point of view, never mind the facts, and Frank Rich has too long a leash for his own good. Paul Krugman can do no wrong however.
bytheriver05
Feb. 1st, 2008 06:38 am (UTC)
Re: what political blogs?
Interesting. I'm pissed at Paul Krugman because he has it out for Obama and I think he is being unfair and skewing facts just to score points against him. Generally I like Frank Rich. But I agree with you about Dowd! Ugh.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 16th, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC)
An example of it...
I think that Obama is arrogant...and this will be his downfall amongst educated, well-rounded, mature and informed American voters.

I also believe that websites like the one listed below could ultimately determine why more and more Democrats will defect to John McCain's camp.

Unfortunately, there is little about Obama that a website like the one below says that can be refuted...that is, unless you've flunked Philosphy 101 in college,or never got to college in the first place.

Check it out: http://www.chilkootmarketing.com/index.htm

What can be done?

Sooner or later all of us will have to reckon with our conscience and higher intellectual powers and when this occures we will invariably be forced to choose between either 'principle' or the physical attributes of the other candidate.

Which candidate is traveling down the wrong road on critical issues?

Which do you think will win out, come November? '

'Higher principles' or the 'physical' attributes of a particular candidate?

Predictably, older voters will vote in favor of 'principle'... obviously, because they are more concerned about what happens after death and the legacy they will leave behind.

In contrast, the younger voters, since they have more time left in life to recant, are more likely to be reckless and procrastinate with any decision in favor of principle, and will likely vote in favor of 'idealism'...

...and these are the young and youthful voters that Obama appeals to and also why a lot of us older folks see Obama as 'the Pied Piper of the niave'.

However, (which is the next question that begs itself): 'When does Barack's own conscience begin to bother him?'

Personally, I think Obama needs to start thinking about what he can do to 'remake' his image if he wants to win this election.

I'm not sure that he'll want to be that person he's beginning to look like against John McCain...who today represents everything that America stands for.

BUT, if Obama thinks he can win going the way he's headed, then let him go for it.

But, as for me and many like me who sit on the fence until election time in November, we'll still be thinking about having to live with ourselves long after this election is over in November and maybe these are the thoughts that the new young voters haven't entertained yet...

...and, there's still a lot that can happen between now and November...

...and, this probably means that Obama faces a huge political swamp ahead...one that he has created for himself by being too impetuous on some very important issues...

...which has already gotten him into trouble with some of the very wise old parents of the younger generation.


- Jim Carder
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )