A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lies, Damn Lies, and Politics

I don't get it. Less than a week after Barack Obama's candid speech about race, both Hillary Clinton and John McCain have been caught in ... misstatements. (I'm not being candid, either.) Hillary claims she "misspoke" when she talked about being under sniper fire in Bosnia -- after videotape shows her sauntering across the tarmac with Chelsea to accept some flowers from a little girl. And McCain blames a slip of the tongue for his assertion that Iran is training Al-Qaida insurgents -- even though video shows that his tongue slipped at least four times.

What's going on here? Have these guys never heard of YouTube? It led me to imagine this scenario:

A conference room with two tables set up with computers. Both monitors are displaying the home page for YouTube. Barack Obama enters, and ushers Hillary Clinton and John McCain to the chairs in front of the computers.

Obama: Hillary, John, thanks for coming. I know how busy you are, but I really felt we needed to have this session.

McCain: Not a problem. I'm not doing anything much but watching you guys slug it out.

Clinton: Thank you, Barack.


Obama: The reason I asked you here, is that I think the campaign has gone off track. We're not getting our messages across about the issues. We're spending too much time apologizing for misspeaking.

Clinton: Right. You and your "typical white person." (She giggles.)

Obama: (Irritably.) Not quite what I had in mind, Hillary. You see, I don't think you're aware of what an influence YouTube is having on politics.

Clinton: YouTube? Oh, right. Chelsea showed me the scary hamster.

McCain: Hamster? I had to eat one of those when I was a P.O.W. in Iran.

Obama: Vietnam.

McCain: Pardon?

Obama: You were a P.O.W. in Vietnam, John. Not Iran.

McCain: If you say so. Maybe I misspoke.

Obama: Well, that's the point. Every time you or Hillary or I say something, millions of people go to YouTube and check it out to see if we're lying. Everything we say or do in public winds up there. And so does everything our friends and supporters say and do.

Hillary: Everything? (She turns to the computer with interest.)

Obama: Yes, including Rev. Wright's sermons. That's how they got me in trouble.


McCain: (Chuckles.) Really got your tail in a crack there, didn't you, son? Imagine I'll get some mileage out of that this fall.


Clinton: He wasn't my pastor. You'll be running against me.

Obama: Oh, lay off it, Hillary. Anyway, I thought you might want to know about this YouTube thing. I mean, it's really important: It helped Jim Webb defeat George Allen after the "macaca" incident.

Clinton: So you say everything's on here? How do I check up on Bill?

McCain: I want to see the scary hamster.