Thursday, July 24, 2008


(Cover from book three of what is probably my favorite sci-fi series of all time, by C.J. Cherryh. The figure is Pyanfar, a brilliant tactician and diplomat in a pocket of space inhabited by several different -- EXTREMELY different -- alien species. She is a hani, a feline sentient race that is matriarchal and fond of silk pantaloons. Read all five books if you can. I think it's an allegory of Native American response to European invasion of North America.)

I've been puny, as we say in Texas, for the last 24 hours so have been mostly sleeping, taking albuterol treatments every four hours and, when awake, watching broadcast TV. And even in these circumstances, interesting items bob to the surface.

(1) I have yet to see a national news broadcast mention the earthquake in Japan. Maybe I just didn't hit the right channel, but it seems to me like this is should be of national significance, don't you think?

(2) The way the three major networks handled Obama's speech in Berlin was fascinating. Couric followed with an equal amount of time, it felt to me (subjectively), about McCain in the Midwest, though the coverage had no substance despite everybody trying to make it seem relevant. Williams had a one-on-one sitdown with Obama, which I missed (the perils of channel-surfing). Gibson seemed to have the longest sound bites and camera shots of faces in the crowd, a couple of which choked me up, I have to admit. He also had the obligatory "Meanwhile, back at the corral, McCain..." return, but this included a little vignette with a Midwestern couple who had just watched Obama's speech interrupting the McNovocaine blah-blah by saying they had really like what Obama had to say and thought he looked "at ease" meeting all those foreign presidents. No Merkel mauling, is what I read into it.

(3) David Letterman's second guest last night was Jane Mayer, whose book The Dark Side has published only two days ago. The Dark Side is subtitled "The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals". As The New York Times review states, "It’s a cage match between the Constitution and a cabal of ideological extremists, and the Constitution goes down." Letterman is increasingly allowing his political convictions to show, and having Mayer on as a guest this immediately after publication was a clue as to his sympathies. He had clearly read enough of the book to speak intelligently about its main points, and he asked questions we dearly wish the so-called pundits would push out past their narcissistic lips, giving her lots of time to answer. He eventually began trying to maneuver her into saying that Chimpy McFlightsuit and Gunner Dick were the eponymous "dark side", that their intentions were neither patriotic nor in any way separated from their lust for power. He used that clear, smart Midwestern voice of his, and I could feel the breathlessness of the audience. She would not commit herself to this assessment, however. I haven't read the book, so I don't know if she's that guarded in print or if she was operating on air from a lawyer's strict admonitions. Still, it was a delight to see somebody on "regular" TV with Letterman's influence declaring that Cheney just wants the sick thrill of waterboarding people.

And, saving by far the best for last: I got an incredible mention by Kathy G. at The G Spot, talking about the dinner a wonderful bunch of us had at Threadgill's during Netroots Nation. I especially appreciated her assessment of Netroots Nation itself, her candor and courage, and agree with her 100%. I will write myself about it when I'm feeling more cogent. In the meantime, give her some sugar, ya'll.


Sue Katz said...

Chicken soup, dahlink, chicken soup. You still give "good blog" - the best postings around - despite being struck down in this way. Get well quick.

kat said...

I'll send good vibes your way...I'm also sending your blog info to a woman I'm singing with at the moment. She's a writer, a poet, is working on a novel, is fascinating and formidable.

She had one of her chapbooks with her at rehearsal last night, and her poems are really interesting.


Liza Cowan said...

Hope you're feeling better soon.