Commentaries - September 2008
C. A. Conrad interviews poet-critic Kristen Gallagher about her time at the recent Republican convention in Minneapolis. "Minneapolis/St. Paul is perhaps one of the easiest American cities to turn into a fortress." "We hooked up with some folks who were doing a satirical 'Billionaires for Bush'-style protest against Big Oil. About 40 people fake-dressed-up like rich oil barons. About 10 people wore cardboard bobble-heads, each with the face of an oil company CEO. There were boxes and boxes and boxes of very beautiful fake money with John McCain's face on the front and an oil well on the back. That money was for throwing around. It was tremendously fun."
Centrism has its vices.
By now, position-taking on the Iraq War on the national political level is almost entirely muddled. Someone is against the initiation of the war, against the pre-surge strategy, "for" the surge as an effect but not as a tactic, against setting a date for withdrawal. Another won't speak any longer about initial support for the war (WMDs) but was against the strategy, for the surge, for setting a date for withdrawal. Another is against the war in Iraq because he's "for" the war in Afganistan and yet is generally against Bushian martial anti-terrorism. The problem is obviously the term "the war."
Are you for or against the war?
I'm reminded of Nelson Rockefeller, then governor of New York, who uttered this crystalline statement when asked in a press conference for his position on the Vietnam War:
My position on Vietnam is very simple. And I feel this way. I haven't spoken on it because I haven't felt there was any major contribution that I had to make at the time. I think that our concepts as a nation and that our actions have not kept pace with the changing conditions, and therefore our actions are not completely relevant today to the realities of the magnitude and complexity of the problems that we face in this conflict.
I've been using invision.tv. It's in beta testing still, but works better than just well enough for my purposes. One of these web 2.0 applications, invision allows you to organize all your web video clips - searching across the usual sources (YouTube, myspace, hulu, CNN, etc.) and also indexing many video source sites you've never heard of. As I write this I'm watching a report on a weekly Arabic poetry TV show. I'd typed "poetry" in the invision search box and of course got a bunch of crap in addition to a half dozen web video clips and stories and profiles (and excerpts from poetry readings) that I wanted to watch.
Now the Arabic poetry show is done and I'm watching a clip from a Charlie Rose episode about poetry and next up is a YouTube random selection called "Bjork's Pagan Poetry." I have doubts about that one.
Commoner use for this: get up in the morning and type in "presidential debate" and you'll get video excerpts and analysis - far beyond YouTube.
Here's your link to invision.tv. Go there and customize, picking your "interests" and your preferred "channels."