blog advertising is good for you

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"As the U.S. presidential campaign heats up, both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are piling up money and shoring up their political bases. But they're also going after a few million voters in a handful of swing states -- voters who are considered critical to winning the election. And within this block of voters is a special camp: 'low-information voters,' or LIVs, a term that keeps popping up in magazines and political blogs. The term is mainly used by liberals to refer to those who vote conservative against their interests and the best interests of the nation. It assumes they vote that way because they lack sufficient information about issues. The assumption being, of course, that if only they had the real facts, they would vote differently -- for both their own best interests and those of the nation. They're the kind of folks Thomas Frank wrote about in What's the Matter with Kansas?, folks who vote on the basis of their sense of what is right -- the moral views they identify with -- rather than material interests, either theirs or those of their fellow citizens. The problem is that, as neutral as the term 'low-information voters' may sound, it's pejorative and used to express frustration with these voters, who (we're told) act against their own best interests. Liberals tend to attribute the problem in large part to conscious Republican efforts at misinformation -- say, on Fox News or talk radio -- and in part to faulty information gleaned from friends, family, and random sources. Interestingly, I have yet to run across a liberal castigating low-information voters who happen to vote Democrat on the basis of information from liberal media, friends, or family. It's a term that goes one way: left to right. I have seen two attitudes toward LIVs. The first is that they are reclaimable, if only somebody -- the president, the Democrats, the media -- can get the right information to them. The second attitude is a hand-wringing sense of cynical hopelessness on the part of liberals who see LIVs as having an inherent character flaw. In their minds, LIVs are either too lazy to seek out relevant information, too dumb to act in a way that would maximize their own interests, too apathetic or selfish to care about what's best for their fellow citizens, or simply brainwashed automatons who vote the way they're told. The implicit assumption is that everyone can be a high-information voter -- that everyone is capable of learning, understanding, reasoning about, and voting on the basis of relevant facts, which are objectively true, independent of worldview." (FP)

"A few days ago, Byron York passed on a fascinating bit of reportage from inside the Mitt Romney campaign: 'Romney aides believe strongly that this race will play out like the 1980 campaign, in which President Jimmy Carter led Ronald Reagan for much of the race until Reagan broke through just before the election.' The hopeful precedent here is that a Democratic president in a lousy economy hung tough in the polls through most of the summer before collapsing at the end as a Republican challenger allayed doubts about his suitability.It’s not a useful precedent. By 1980, Carter had completely split his party, having alienated liberals (in part by abandoning health-care reform) and provoking a long, bitter primary challenge from Ted Kennedy. On top of that, the economy cratered (nothing remotely comparable has occurred this year) and then the Iranian hostage crisis, after an initial rally-around-the-flag blip, steadily corroded Carter’s popularity. No equivalent of those factors can be seen yet today, and pinning your hopes on a scenario where your campaign suddenly picks up ten points in the final month seems to be either an act of self-delusion or (as Ed Kilgore suspects) a ploy to keep anxious conservatives at bay. There’s really one way to tell whether Romney actually believes the 1980 story, or is merely using it to keep his party calm: the vice-presidential choice. In May, the word from Boston had it that Romney wanted to pick an 'incredibly boring white guy.' There was no apparent need to add to the ticket in any important way. The sole qualification was to avoid detracting from it, as Palin did. IBWG picks include Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty, or Bob McDonnell. But if Romney feels he actually needs the proverbial Game Change, he might instead avail himself of non-incredibly boring white guys, like Paul Ryan or Chris Christie. Or even non-incredibly-boring, non-white guys like Marco Rubio or Bobby Jindal. (Non-incredibly-boring, non-white non-guys Susan Martinez and Condoleezza Rice have been floated but are deeply implausible for reasons of ideological suitability.)" (NYMag)


"The Australian art critic and historian Robert Studley Forrest Hughes died yesterday at the age of just 74. He'd withstood such a lot, coming back after weeks in a coma following a terrible car accident in Australia in 1999. I thought he was so strong that he would still live to be 100. Part of his name, even, was 'Studley'! And that is just what he was. What is the best thing Hughes ever did? How to choose from this embarrassment of riches? The obvious answer would be his stately, gorgeously comprehensive history of the convict settlement of Australia, The Fatal Shore (1987). Equally obvious: the 1980 TV series 'The Shock of the New,' which you can watch in its entirety online. This is the thing that brought him fame, and no wonder. It's a marvel: a solid education in post-Impressionist modern art of the 20th century in the form of a luscious entertainment stretching over hours and hours; awareness, scholarship, wit, and a visual sensitivity matched for once by an equally sensitive sense of language, all delivered in a brisk, whip-smart, slightly clipped Anglo-Australian voice of enormous power and beauty." (Maria Bustillos)


"This past Saturday in Southampton, the Southampton Hospital held its 54th annual festive evening of cocktails, silent auction, raffle, dinner and dancing to benefit the Jenny and John Paulson Emergency Department. Laura Lofaro Freeman was benefit chair. Graff Diamonds was the honorary jewelry chair. Alex Donner and his Orchestra provided the music for dancing, with catering by Robbins Wolfe Eventeurs." (NYSocialDiary)









No comments: