Friday, July 30, 2004

I did not find myself even slightly tempted to chant “help is on the way” along with John Kerry and the convention crowd last night, and the “hope is on the way” line repeated by John Edwards the night before bordered on nonsensical.

But as branding, Help and Hope cut right to the Dem’s core message and the packaging of the candidates. Kerry is Help, Edwards is Hope. That’s what they told us in Boston.

Mr. Help is strong (he served in Vietnam) and action oriented. You can count on him to help when things are tough, like that one time in Vietnam when he saved that guy’s life while serving in the military in Vietnam. Mr. Help promises to help you on important issues like healthcare and to improve national security, too, being qualified for the latter by his military service in Vietnam.

Mr. Hope is optimistic. He grew up a mill-worker’s son, and just look at him now and you know that there’s hope for you too. Charming southerner Bill Clinton ran as the man from Hope, now Edwards extends the brand. He’s smiling so nicely, he’s bigtime but still a regular guy like his dad the mill worker and you and your dad, too.

Help and Hope are good things, not the stuff of negative campaigns. Yet they imply that things are not so good, and so allow the candidates talk about why we are hoping for help after a term of W. Kerry wants you to know that he will help clean up Bush’s mess in Iraq and help middle class people by not helping rich people quite so much.

Next month: Mr. Security and Mr. Experience go to New York.

2:55:01 PM    comment []

Fake record label, lots of Spinal Tap/Mighty Wind-style humor. The southern rock parody has a great album cover and a decent back story, although the song "Sonofbitch" sounds more like AC/DC than Skynyrd.

Via Paul Boutin at Slate, who gives the site a pass for mining a familiar genre and claims (unconvincingly, I think) that "Clubbo takes a big step in legitimizing Web fiction." It's pretty funny, though.

12:51:25 PM    comment []

The N&R sports blog links to an ESPN poll asking both an "expert panel" and fans to name the best coaches of the last 25 years in any sport. The panel has Dean Smith #1, Mike Krzyzewski #3, while the fans put K #1 and Dean #2. "Best" seems to mean whatever you want it to mean...

12:27:48 PM    comment []

Vernon Robinson's latest ad thanks voters for "rejecting the lies and the mudslinging," according to NC Rumors. He is completely shameless, this guy. His post-primary press release is headlined, "Vernon Robinson Faces August Run-off With Liberal State Senator."

12:19:02 PM    comment []

Bontecou at the 'Spoon

Two works by Lee Bontecou at the Weatherspoon Museum in Greensboro.

Study for Lincoln Center Mural
Bontecou, Lee
graphite on paper
overall: 17 1/4 x 22 in.; 43.815 x 55.88 cm

From The Stockholm Portfolio
Bontecou, Lee
lithograph on paper
9 x 12 in, 22.86 x 30.48 cm

Bontecou and her show, now at MoMA in Queens, are big news in this morning's NYT. Says critic Michael Kimmelman, "I suspect the exhibition will seem a revelation to many people."

Bontecou was highly regarded in the '60s and '70s, then dropped out of sight. Kimmelman: "So thoroughly did Ms. Bontecou remove herself from the spotlight that when this retrospective opened at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles last year, to much justifiable hoopla, some people in the art world expressed genuine shock to discover that she was still alive."

9:36:06 AM    comment []

We watched Kerry with some half-drunk, very liberal friends. They didn't like the speech that much, thought it had too much Vietnam and not enough healthcare, thought he tried to cram too much in before the local news at 11, but then again it wasn't really a speech for them. We were watching it on CSPAN, which stayed with the floor show long after the speech ended, through the endless loop of a bad Sammy Hagar-era Van Halen song and the balloons that stayed stubbornly in their aeries instead of falling on the crowd below.

Kerry's much better than Gore, noted one partygoer. True. He is serious, a grown-up. And he will look good against Bush in the debates.

9:09:00 AM    comment []