Friday, June 04, 2004

Conventional Wisdom

This is a bigger and better version of a comment I originally posted on Plastic.

Even though I know that such things are planned way in advance, the sites chosen for the Democratic and Republican National Conventions this year produce some purely baroque cosmic poetry. Consider:

Boston: A city with a populist revolutionary past, yet synonymous with sclerotic blue blood. Known for its primary export of effete smartypants. The city of choice for the latte-drinking, Volvo-driving, elitist East Coast liberal caricatures that the GOP has so successfully invented in order to demonize. For chrissakes, even Jerry Bruckheimer would pick anyplace but Boston for the scene in which the war hero scion Democratic senator from Massachusetts with the initials 'JFK' culminates his come-from-behind story. Which makes it the perfect place for the can't-win Democrats to confirm their stereotype in the minds of those all-important red state fair weather voters. In other words, a predictably bad move.

New York: a city of tough talk and impetuous braggarts. A city which, like its imminent GOP guests, has had some success in masking its sordid and violent aspects. Yet beyond the exterior bravado that wows the rubes, New York is most importantly Corporate HQ. DC may be the nation's capitol, but the Big Apple is the nation's Capital. What better backdrop for the CEO President and the party that, before wanting to drown it in a bathtub, wanted to run government like a business? There's a reason that those "freedom-haters" bypassed the Statue of Liberty in favor of the World Trade Center: they knew as well as John Dewey that "government is the shadow cast by business over society". How fitting, then, is ground zero for the mis-en-scene in which Bush steps out from two colossal shadows to polish his crown in the footlights of his masters?

But in an age in which political analysis sounds like the halftime report and political debate is reduced to rabid partisan screaming, the most salient comparison is, of course, to the most heated rivalry in sports. Will the lovable but hapless Democrats/Red Sox finally take one away from the imperial and spectacularly bankrolled Republicans/Yankees? As Babe Ruth or Jim Jeffords might tell you, it could just come down to a key trade.


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