Pulling Out the Savoy Truffle

Reflections on music, literature, politics, and pop culture from retired rock musician, writer, and college professor Jim Booth. Email comments to Jim at jim@jimbooth.org.

Location: Advance, North Carolina, United States

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Veep Debate

"You're not the boss of me now...."
They Might be Giants

My buddy Sam Smith has a pretty lucid analysis of the debate at The Lullaby Pit. Go read it.

As for me: bully CEO meets hot shot trial lawyer. Media calls it a draw.

Humpty Dumpty....

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all."
Lewis Carroll

Vice-President Cheney seems to have determined that if HE says it, it must be true. Despite the report from the chief U.S. weapons inspector that Saddam had built NO WMD's after 1991, Cheney insists that this justifies Dubya's decision to go to war.

I'm not sure which troubles me more - Cheney's delusion that whatever he and this administration say and do is justified because they say and do it or his arrogance that he can simply lie in the face of overwhelming evidence and he'll be believed by about 50% of the American voting public.


Friday, October 01, 2004

You Are What You Read

"Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe...."
John Lennon

ST WV correspondent Steve sent along this fun little piece from Cambridge University:

"I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt!"

Cool, huh?

As ST NY correspondent Sam points out, the phenomenon is called Gestalt - or as he would say, "Gstelat."

Next, go see Sam Smith's terrific new poem at The Lullaby Pit....

Now you're more educated....


Red and Blue

"You say yes/I say no...."
Sir Paul McCartney

The Seattle Times offers an editorial concerning last night's first presidential debate that contains a sentence that really set me thinking:

"Here is a radical idea: Suspend the rest of these expensive, bloated campaigns and have the candidates spending more time in front of Americans talking — together."

What a great idea. That could make this a real election based on honest differences over issues - not an advertising campaign for each candidate.

Don't look for it to happen. In this Age of Surfaces (I'm going to write about this concept extensively here shortly), this would allow us to decide between candidates based on our ability to decode them as men, as politicians, as leaders. Political parties and mass media have long since decided that we, the American people, can't be trusted to make those sorts of vitally important civic decisions without their manipulating candidates' images and messages as well as our ability to discover, analyze, and assess the truth behind those images and messages.

(For more deep thoughts on the debate, go see Sam Smith's excellent analysis at The Lullaby Pit....)