Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Body Language

Does anyone else think the body language "experts" they're putting on network newscasts have no business peddling their pseudo-science on supposedly objective broadcasts? Just saw one talking about "the snub" and acting like his trivial judgement his some kind of foolproof lie detector. I don't really blame the experts--they're just trying to make a buck--but what happened to pure journalism? Why don't they just trot some psychics out there to say what will happen if each candidate becomes president?


Obama snubs Hillary? You've got to be kidding me. I mean, maybe it happened but it's not in that photo. Look at her eyes and her expression. She's looking at Kennedy, not Obama--and she still has a smile on her face and her hand outstretched even though he's clearly turned the other way. Maybe she was snubbed that night, but it wasn't happening when that photo was snapped. It wouldn't matter to me, but I'm floored that she's try to turn the illusion in that photo into an unearned political advantage

Recess Good, Recession Bad

It seems to me that "recess" and "recession" are just variations on the same theme, and we'd be a lot better off if we looked at them that way. When we were at school, recess was a good thing, a welcome thing--it was a break between periods of productivity and I'm not sure we'd have made it through the year without them. So maybe, instead of causing panic in the streets, we should have regularly scheduled recessions of pre-determined length where obscenely overpriced real estate takes a reality break, stocks that accelerate on nothing but a feeding frenzy get a breather and the economy resets to thrive another day. We'd rest, hit the monkey bars, relax and then a bell would ring and capitalism could go back to its desk.

That can't happen, of course, but I think I'd prefer it to the recession-heavy force feeding shoved down our throats by financial chicken littles whose only real concern is that the sky isn't falling fast enough. Doesn't it seem like recession, in many ways, is a self-fulfilling prophecy? I mean, if you tell people they should worry about their jobs and their investments, they stop spending and hold on to their money--the very things we collectively shouldn't do if we really wanted to evade a recession. Does that make any sense?

At least, if we called it recess, we'd know when it was coming and when it was going to be over. Sure, you might get pelted with dodgeballs, but at least you know it's only a matter of time until the bell is going to ring and the hurting stops.

Say It Ain't So, Rudy

When Rudy Giuliani makes his exit any second now, it's going to be a sad event not because he didn't win, but because he didn't leave us with a good story. He had created this larger-than-life persona of a big-shouldered brawler who would find a way to beat you--which is the only reason that we believed there could be a big surprise waiting in Florida, even if every analyst and common sense said something very different.

So when he limps out of the race without so much as a highlight reel moment, it's a little like a latter-year Ali when he'd climb in the ring and we'd be waiting for a shuffle or a rope-a-dope or something that took us back on that thrill-ride, but it never came. It's like if Michael Jordan had come back to the Bulls after a baseball break and never gotten off the bench. It's just not the way we want to see the big guy go out. Maybe it's part of our entertaiment-driven culture, but we like (and expect) a big finish.

It's just different this time. John Edwards made his departure today, and that's less sad than inevitable. When Fred Thompson dropped out, it seemed like even he was relieved. But for those guys and others, there's a positive aspect to their candidacy--they grabbed a moment in the political spotlight and it only enhances their resume. Edwards rid himself of the bad taste leftover from being the lower half of the Kerry ticket, and Thompson added some gravitas that will make him a sought-after speaker who didn't just talk law and order on a TV show.

But Rudy--he brought the spotlight with him. And all it did was cast a shadow. He may be the only person from the race who leaves it worse-off for the experience, and that's too bad. I think he liked being that fearsome force waiting in the wings to be reckoned with. To be honest, I don't know that he deserved better. But I kind of think we did.