Paul Lewis, an English professor at Boston College, authored an editorial, “The Gollum Voters” for the Boston Globe earlier this month that describes how many “[miss] the deep ambivalence plauging many Bush and Kerry supporters, an ambivalence that characterizes what me might call their Gollum mindset.”
What is that mindset? Lewis: “As Bush and Kerry shift to the bland center of US politics looking for every last vote in the Shire, they count on their bases for support, hoping that the alienation they engender will not push loyalists away. But, haunted by the resisting voices of ideological clarity, these loyalists find themselves wondering more and more whether they will have the strength and willpower to hold onto their preference all the way to November and, against counter promptings of disgust and disappointment, vote for their candidate.”
Lewis overstates his case and suggests that some voters may hold their noses come Election Day and vote against their consciences for their party’s candidate. Were the Presidential contest between two unknowns I think he may be onto something. Except that this year the race isn’t between two unknowns. President Bush is a known quantity. Kerry’s appeal for many voters is simple–he isn’t Bush. Quantifying the difference between the two candidates on domestic policy issues, Iraq, etc. simply doesn’t matter. For Bush, the quesiton he asks voters is, “Have I done a good enough job to be rehired?” For Kerry he needs merely to make the case that Bush hasn’t done enough for another chance.
Still, Lewis’ editorial is worth reading.
TeamXBox has some information on the Nintendo DS, their new hand-held dual-screen system. Nothing comes as a surprise–“[Nintendo’s] newest handheld will make its worldwide debut in North American stores on Nov. 21, and then in Japan on Dec. 2. The Nintendo DS will sell at an MSRP of $149.99 and it will become the company’s first system ever to make its sales debut outside of Japan.” We’ve had some interest at work, but I think the sticking point for many consumers who may be interested in the DS is the utter lack of information on the system. What games are coming out? What sort of launch strategy does Nintendo have in mind? I would expect some major announcements on this front in the next few weeks.
Okay, I’m pathetic, I just ordered the set.
I watched Barry Levinson’s film Wag the Dog a few nights ago. When it was made I thought it funny but cyncial. I was in the mood for a political comedy, but I’d watched Primary Colors recently, didn’t want the feel-good Dave, and Bob Roberts is fantastic but best taken in small doses. Wag the Dog, because I hadn’t seen it in years, seemed like the best choice. Now I find it eerily prescient and more than a little frightening.
I’m four chapters into Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I love the narrative style, and some of the footnotes tell stories that could make whole novels on their own.
(ETA — April 07): God, I used to write the most random stuff. I’m not even going to bother tagging this as anything more than “life.” :/
(ETA — October 07): Okay, I changed my mind. But jeez. This is just fucking whack.