I have updated Wednesday's blog to include the events of last night. You can see it here.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
2:34 am MST - No one is wasting time splitting town. The Onion sponsored a party that ended before I got there. The folks running it finagled tickets to the Vanity Fair soiree across town, which was the event of the night. Or at least enough so that every taxi in town seemed to be there. I had to walk home through the empty shells of halfway-packed canvas pavilions and the ribcage-metal frames of earlier events. Purpose aside, the convention is essentially a big four-day party and like any really good bender, it's a little tragic to see it end, especially when there will be no hangover brunch to follow.
I wandered into the Hyatt around 2:15 and there were just a few youngsters hanging around the closed-down bar. The political bigwigs are all abed, ready to hit the fundraisers and town hall meetings in the next few months. Time to follow their example.
12:30 am MST - Go to the opening of a film where you turned down the lead role and if it's any good you're gonna feel dreadful. Same with any sort of production. I spent the later part of the evening meeting the advance staff who choreographed tonight, and while I was never in the running to be among them, I still felt like a colossal asshole for sitting back and drinking beer while they orchestrated one of the best laid out political events in recent memory.
9:10 pm MST - There will be a good deal of chatter about this speech and I'll leave most of it to paid prime-time chatterers. The crew at CNN gave straight A's to Obama and there were a couple fun lines (Rough quotes: "The Republicans believe we live in an ownership society: you are on your own... you have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, even if you don't have boots.) What was remarkable about the whole beast though was its tightly calculated appeal to constituency groups. You could go through line by line with colored highlighters for the sections on women (the biggest group of swing voters this election with the largest block of speech time), Latinos (not much here), Veterans (yep), the attack-hungry (in spades right up front), unions, minimum wage laborers, teachers, and national security buffs. It was only in the last five to ten minutes where Obama slipped back into the language that lifted him out of obscurity and made zealots of his supporters: the call for unity; the feeling that we as a people face a common struggle; and the appeal to our better selves. It's soul-searing stuff and it's hard to be jaded when a football stadium is cheering for a man asking us to 'hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess' rather than, say, a twenty yard rush.
And the fireworks were a nice touch. I was sort of hoping for a jet flyover, but attack jets are probably inappropriate in a stadium filled with people who ride around regularly in armored Suburbans.
4:00 pm MST - The lines going into Invesco field are extraordinary. The Secret Service has been tasked with sending 70,000 people - roughly three times the average daily traffic through JFK airport - through magnetometers in five hours, so a line is understandable. Nonetheless, everyone has tried to find some new and fancy way to skip said line. It's hot as can be outside, so the elderly are dropping like flies and the full teams of paramedics keep themselves busy through some combination of reviving the fainted and keeping the rest of us hydrated.
12:02 pm MST - Denver is the mile-high city, which is easy to forget until you try to run in it. I gave myself a brisk reminder of the altitude this morning with a half-hour detox run to prepare my body for the abuse I intend to put it through this evening at Invesco and the parties thereafter.
One detail of last night that has been under-noted: the second song as Bill Clinton was leaving the stage was 'addicted to love.' Hilarious.
My sister is online hypothesizing about a purchase of the 'pulse smart pen,' a device that records ambient sound and labels it according to what you are writing. We live in quite a world. Before this next president's term is out there is every possibility that I will be writing posts like these directly from my cell phone, which will automatically hyperlink the text for both content and advertisers depending on the location of the reader. I might say 'I am hungry' and some smart phone user would click the word 'hungry' and receive an ad for the Bennigan's (or whatever will take it's place once they finish filing for bankruptcy) half a block away.
And that's just media. The pace of industry and the fury with which the world economy consumes industry's output make change an inevitability these next few years. I am even willing to say that 'change we can believe in' is pretty much a foregone conclusion. I come from a long line of pessimists, so I am not yet convinced that it will be change for the better. It is my general assumption that the world is slowly but inevitably rotting. But if I am wrong and we can prevent New York from sinking or someday help overturn the Burmese military junta or just generally have a positive impact on all of the horrible things that seem to be happening everywhere... well, that's the whole 'hope' thing. And it does seem pretty damn audacious. I think most of us are waiting to be swept up in Obama's candidacy and tonight seems like as good a time as any to get that started.
But I have wandered a long way from any point. There's not much to do right now but wait.