Let’s try on rings.

I don’t know how worried to be about the threats against Congress members who voted for health-care reform over the weekend. I’ve always believed that those who make threats do so out of cowardice, that they cannot keep their mouths shut because it’s operating as a safety valve. On the other hand, conventional wisdom says people leave warnings when they’re planning violent acts, warnings that are almost always ignored because of (see above).

I told someone yesterday I expect to see a government building explode before the end of the year. I wonder what the Fox News counter-narrative on that will be.

It would be irresponsible to speculate. So let’s not. Let’s look, instead, at the state of publishing today. Exhibit A: Jennifer Love Hewitt, author.

Stipulated: It is a fool’s errand to spend even a minute of your finite number on earth asking yourself, “Why was this published, and not that?” And yet, it can hardly be avoided, can it? At least Sarah Palin sold a lot of books. (Although, ahem, I’ve seen a copy of “Going Rogue” sitting on the new-releases shelf at my public library — one patronized by many, many Republicans — for days and days on end. Common sense tells me a book that drew rock-star crowds just a few months ago should not be sitting there, unloved and un-checked out, for that long. I’m starting to wonder how many books she-who sold, after all.)

But honest: Jennifer Love Hewitt? Jennifer. Love. Hewitt. The book is called “The Day I Shot Cupid: Hello, My Name Is Jennifer Love Hewitt, And I’m A Love-aholic.” That’s under her name, so, as the NPR blogger whose work is linked above notes, this means her name is on the cover twice, with a little subliminal zinger thrown in there with “Love.” The major revelation of this book, I’m told, is that it is in these pages that JLH admits to gluing Swarovski crystals on her “precious lady” as, I dunno, kind of a day-brightener, I guess. She refers to this region as her “va-jay-jay,” and now would be the time, LA Mary, to subject her to some serious medical-level questioning:

Are you saying you glued crystals on your vulva, then? No? Well, what do you mean by va-jay-jay, then? On your pubis? Yes? Excuse me, please, I need to make a call. Be right back. …[I need security at intake, please. Security at intake. With restraints.]…Yes, OK, you were saying?

JLH’s book has a pink cover. She wore a pink dress while promoting it. That’s pretty much all you need to know about Jennifer Love Hewitt, author. Also, this:

“This is embarrassing and personal, but once a month, since I was twelve years old, I go to my favorite jewelry store and try on my dream ring.” She is 31 years old. If this is true, she has made roughly 225 trips to the jewelry store to try on engagement rings. I do not know where to go with this.

I’m going to go back to worrying about crazy teabaggers. It’s less upsetting.

Bloggage:

A suburban high school here is wrangling over its ban on so-called freak dancing at the prom, and the DetNews does a story. My quibble is with the graphic, which implies the lambada was once a “controversial” dance. My contention is that no one ever did the lambada at all, that the entire dance was invented for one zero-star movie, and I think the graphic supports me on this — the lambada couple looks like it’s doing the hustle, or whatever you call it. Meanwhile, where’s the freaking? Sheesh. (Kids at the middle-school dances I chaperone were asked to sign an agreement that there would be no freaking all year. Thank God we have held the line!)

Meanwhile, medical marijuana was approved by Michigan voters more than a year ago, and still no one knows what the law is.

And I’m lame and done.

Posted at 10:23 am in Current events |
 

69 responses to “Let’s try on rings.”

  1. Hexdecimal said on March 25, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Late maybe? But not lame. Never!

  2. LAMary said on March 25, 2010 at 10:53 am

    My kids’ kiddie dentist has a lot of child star business and lots of autographed photos of child stars going back nearly thirty years. There’s a photo of Jennifer Love Hewitt at about age 11 and at that time the name she used was Love Hewitt. No Jennifer. Now you know.

  3. MichaelG said on March 25, 2010 at 11:12 am

    A while ago you newspaper types were talking about bloating your output. How about Linda Holmes telling us of the twenty some exclamation points and other multiple uses of punctuation or the use of all caps – are these legit output bloaters or are they cheating?

    How about your new mayor’s plan to tear down 10,000 buildings?

  4. cosmo panzini said on March 25, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I did the Lambada once. Got thrown out, along with my date, of the Policemens’ Ball in about 1988 or so. Not sure if they were upset about the salacious nature of our performance or how bad a dancer I am.

  5. coozledad said on March 25, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    The new Republican line is “What we really meant is we need to register more people to vote.” Bullshit. The only way for Republicans to win is to actively work to restrict voter registration. They know it and they actively incorporate disenfranchisement as part of their ground game.

    We registered quite a few Republicans to vote in the past election, at least the ones mentally competent to put the correct information on the form. I’ll never forget one of them telling me that Obama “had gotten far enough for a black man”, and this guy was a recent arrival from Cuba. He filled his form out incorrectly and left an incorrect phone number and address, so the State Board of Elections couldn’t get in touch with him.
    You do what you can.

  6. brian stouder said on March 25, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    So the REAL question is – what does Ms Hewitt have to say to us, in writing, across the length of a book? Or may the real question is – would anyone really pay to read an extended “tweet” from her? (of course the answer is “yes”).

    I suppose if she tweeted this stuff for free, some internet guru will say THIS is the FUTURE! Embrace it!!

    Leaving aside the oddly barbaric image of Ms Hewitt handling a tube of super-glue in such proximity to her “precious lady”, the most interesting erotic-related thing I saw this week was that Friend-of-Nance Laura Lippman has written erotica under a pen-name, as a part of a collection of short stories edited by Michele Slung (and isn’t that a great name, for an editor of erotica?)…

  7. LAMary said on March 25, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    That graphic of dancers is really bad.

  8. Bob (not Greene) said on March 25, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    God almighty, that JLH stuff is so stupid. People will pay to read this? And that cover drwaing? Looks like something you’d see on the mudflap of a semi. Dumb beyond belief.

  9. Linda said on March 25, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I and the other librarians I work with are amazed at the current excuses to kill trees, and Hewitt’s book is not the worst of these. Books calcuated to excite paranoia (fill in the blank…that THEY don’t want you to know), stupid franchise books (Venus and Mars), and dumbass trends (celebrities writing kid’s books). The worst I ever saw was a chick who made a book out of her mom’s voice mails. I have always wondered if I was up to writing a book. Now I know it doesn’t matter.

  10. Dorothy said on March 25, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Nancy did you do something to the settings for the comments? I’m now seeing lovely little quilt block squares to the right of each name. Only cooze has a rooster as his identifying square! Can’t wait to hit “submit comment” and see what pretty picture comes up for me.

  11. nancy said on March 25, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I think J.C. is messing with the rigs backstage; I’ve seen similar quilt squares on other WordPress blogs. (I have a little hedshot for me.) As Coozledad has his own WP blog, I think his li’l red rooster travels throughout the network. I’m sure we’ll soon get an entertaining story about it. (I heard he ain’t crowed for days.)

  12. jcburns said on March 25, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Gravatars are Globally Recognized Avatars.

    Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog.

    The little quilt thingies are generated by taking your email address and putting it through a digital mixmaster blender whatchamacalit.

    If you go to the gravatar site, you can upload a pic that will replace your quilt pattern thingie.

  13. alice said on March 25, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    “Your body is a temple, not a 7-Eleven”. Speak for yourself, sister.

  14. coozledad said on March 25, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    The rooster is Mr. Johnny, whose namesake is Johnny Dodds, who played the clarinet for Jellyroll Morton. I got that picture of him by drinking a lot of wine and laying in wait for the first chicken who came over to see if I was ready to be eaten. Mr. Johnny’s (the rooster, not the musician) brother Alvis is still alive despite being repeatedly stomped by mules, but he has a limp.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPMcMXkMiPw

  15. Julie Robinson. said on March 25, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I learn so much from nnc. First, that you can bedazzle your precious lady, and now gravatars. Never mind that before today, I couldn’t have picked Jennifer Love Hewitt out of a lineup. Can’t wait to see my quilt block!

  16. Jeff Borden said on March 25, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    The mess that is the Catholic Church just keeps getting messier and I am left wondering about the future. How, exactly, can a church hierarchy that for decades has treated the raping and abuse of children as a sin rather than a crime emerge from the growing number of scandals with any sort of moral authority at all?

    Mother of God, the predator priest up in Wisconsin molested more than 200 deaf boys over a 20-year period. When he was finally about to face some canonical punishment, he sent out a letter to now Pope Ratzi asking that it not proceed because he was old and in ill health. The story in today’s NYT had my blood boiling.

    I walked away from the One True 40-plus years ago, but I was never ashamed of the Church. My reasons were my own, though they were definitely colored by the Church’s blind faith in the past and its antipathy to reasonable contraception under all circumstances. Now, I am ashamed. . .and angry.

    There are people of far greater faith than me who visit NN.C. I’m interested in hearing how this enormous scandal can not only be contained and addressed, but also avoided in the future. I see the beginning as the resignation of Pope Ratzi and the naming of a non-religious, independent truth panel to explore any and all of these issues on every continent. But I doubt the Church will undertake any such effort. So. . .what is next?

  17. Scout said on March 25, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    OK, I admit it, I am leaving a comment mostly to see if my gravatar shows up. But while I’m here, I’ll comment on the JLH nonsense. Anyone who uses the term va-jay-jay should be shunned. Let the shunning begin.

    Yeah, and the teabaggers? Tell me again how they’re just grass-roots folk like you, me or any of our family and neighbors? There’s only so much prodding with the Glenn Beck stick before somebody blows, I tell ya.

  18. moe99 said on March 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    The thoughts about freaky dancing reminded me of gatoring, which was popular during my time in law school at the University of KY 1973-76. That involved two participants who got horizontal with each other (a close relation to Lucky Pierres back in college, but that’s another story entirely) and lots of vigorous, rhythmic humping to the music. I recall much discussion of gatoring, but only seeing it done once by a young woman and a fellow law student, who is now a senior member of the Fayette County Bar Association in Lexington.

  19. judybusy said on March 25, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Julie, I’m with you. I have no idea who JLH is. I keep a moderate store of arcana in my head due to all the non-fiction I read, and my gaps in pop culture can be pretty funny. For a while, I thought Paris Hilton was a black R-n-B singer. After she stopped laughing, one of my friends filled me in.

  20. Dexter said on March 25, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Is it S.O.P. now for right wing radio hosts to deny validity regarding the threats to Congresspeople? I heard a clip of Limbaugh saying “…we have to wipe these bastards out.”
    Republican Congress members were on the balcony encouraging the wackos , as reported here by nance yesterday.
    An Ohio Congressman called into WLW and spoke to a radio host, McConnell, and McConnell asked him if he took the threats seriously. “Of course I do…I have had death threats”, the man said sincerely. Then McConnell started in with his sing-song ridiculing voice saying that wackos did not take their signals from Congresspeople, they just don’t do that. Right. In my younger days, protesters were beaten into submission or at least thrown into a paddy wagon and hauled off to retaining cells. When lunatic Republicans and total wackos like Limbaugh lead the charge, everything is rationalized.
    “We have to wipe them out.” I bet that crazy Austin suicide pilot thought the same thing.

  21. Rana said on March 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    As appalled as I am by the vajazzling (or whatever the term is), I have to say that the posts I’ve seen on it generate some of the most hilarious comments. The best I saw was someone wondering if the next trend might be a strip of LEDs pointing the way for those unable to figure it out in the dark without help.

    Re: JLH – one of these days she’s going to go into that store and the ring will have been bought by someone else. What then? (And how hideous must a ring be to go that long unsold?)

  22. Dorothy said on March 25, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Testing my new Gravatar (as if I don’t have enough time wasters at my disposal…)

    Edit: rats didn’t work. Back to the drawing board.

  23. Scout said on March 25, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Dexter, I’m sure you remember the days when wearing a T-shirt depicting the number of dead American soldiers in Iraq was enough to get people tossed out of a GW Bush event. That was supposedly too disrespectful. And remember the crap the Dixie Chicks (the friggin’ Dixie Chicks!)took for merely saying they were ashamed Jr. was from Texas. Oh yeah, the rightwing was ALL for R-E-S-P-E-C-T then! But now? Oh right, it’s different. Naturally.

    More hypocrisy abounds as a dozen or so State Attorneys General mount lawsuits to repeal HCR. What was that thing the wingers were always carrying on about? -taps chin- Oh yes, tort reform! I think this fits the description of frivolous law-suit, and at taxpayer expense at that. But I’m not a lawyer, I’m willing to hear alternative points of view.

    It wasn’t that long ago that the same people who are now crying a river were saying “elections have consequences” and “you lost, get over it.” Selective memory is a gift that keeps on giving for these folks.

  24. beb said on March 25, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Since I don’t have a gravitar I’ll just have to see what prety quit block I’ll get. Ten to One I’ll like it more than any pic of me.

    Julie, as for bedazzling one’s lady parts, I heistate to inform you that they can also be pierced and adorn with any number of rings, studs and chains. Not that I know from personal experience, I just have a wide and largely wasted reading habit.

    As for violence against Democrats, we are clearly moving into deep and very murky waters. I think the best think that could happen right now is for someone to be prosecuted for threatening an Congressman, or maybe inciting to riot. Lawence O’Donnell, filling in for Keith had a long segment on the man who was encouraging people to throw bricks throw Democratic offic windows. I think he would be a good place to start.

  25. Scout said on March 25, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    And now, this just in: “white powder” sent to Congressman Weiner’s office. http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local-beat/White-Powder-Package-Sent-to-Congressman-Weiners-Office-89136827.html

    The FBI is going to be busy.

  26. LAMary said on March 25, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    It seems like a very sensitive part of the body to be gluing things onto and piercing. I’m thinking about the glued on sparklies combined with hair growing in. It isn’t a good thought.

  27. nancy said on March 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I love the LED strip. Maybe in the shape of an arrow.

  28. Bob (not Greene) said on March 25, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    This is becoming one of the stranger threads, what with the vajazzling and hair growing through the sparklies, the appearance of gravatars and talk of congressional death threats. Nance, this thread is the Platonic form of the site you envisioned — the ever-shifting, bizarro tavern conversation. That’s why I keep coming back.

  29. ROgirl said on March 25, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I keep on thinking about the song “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.”

    Diamonds on the Soles of her Pubes?

  30. Dexter said on March 25, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    http://www.dixiechicks.com/splash.html
    Scout, when Natalie Maines did that a few years ago, I went straight to cheap cds dot com and bought their new cd. That was the last cd I ever bought in this age of newer and ever changing ways to acquire music.
    And as these slimy Reublicans bring disgrace to their party, they blow up at VP Joe Biden for saying, off mic, that HCR is a BFD to the President.
    McCain singing “Bomb Iran” and Reagan saying to was time to bomb Russia back to the stone age? Cute little jokes.

    My son-in-law always gives me chocolate covered cherries for holiday gifts, those “cordials” that are so sickeningly syrupy if you eat just half of one you feel sick. I just found a box I had forgotten about…why, oh why, Lord? Why did I have to find them? I just ate 6. Gross. Somebody shoot M E.

  31. moe99 said on March 25, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Example A in why the present US health care system should not be allowed to continue:

    http://cbs11tv.com/local/Baby.denied.coverage.2.1587978.html

  32. Kirk said on March 25, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Don’t mind me. I’m just here for the Gravatars.

  33. Sue said on March 25, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Apparently both sides are receiving threats, but to me the scarier people are the ones threatening the Dems; they’ve been in training for this since a year ago last November, and they’re being taught by the best.
    Speaking of unnecessary and embarrassing personal revelations, I saw headlines about a week ago noting that Hugh Hefner had announced that at age 345, he still has it. Besides the obvious and horrifying mental images that spring immediately to mind, the question presents itself – why would you say something like that to anyone, except maybe a close friend after a little alcohol consumption? What is wrong with these people?

    Edit: Oh for crying out loud, now they’re going after the Parliamentarian.
    http://www.rollcall.com/news/44688-1.html

  34. 4dbirds said on March 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Me too, just checking out if I get a gravatar.

  35. James said on March 25, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I have noting to say, but just want to see my little icon show up.

  36. Joe Kobiela said on March 25, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Dexter,
    I believe the Austin Pilot was a registered democrat. I also think you could go thru the archives and find just as much bad stuff said by the left about the right as you do the other way around.
    Pilot Joe

  37. Sue said on March 25, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    OK, Nancy, please explain this, because it sounds like your governor rocks but I’m not sure.
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/3/25/850692/-Mich.-Governor-directs-AG-to-intervene-against-HIMSELF!

  38. Kirk said on March 25, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Testing.

    Hmmm. Attempt to change Gravatar failed.

    EDIT: Didn’t fail, just took a couple of minutes. This Internet is really something.

  39. nancy said on March 25, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    She doesn’t rock, and in general has been a disappointment, but she’s not completely incompetent, and for smacking down this eager-beaver GOP ambition machine, well, you gotta give her credit. The AG is a strange bird. The first time he came on my radar he was crying at a press conference while claiming Geoffrey Feiger was blackmailing him over an extramarital affair the nice Republican AG had had.

  40. Deborah said on March 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    checking out my quilt square here.

  41. Deborah said on March 25, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Checking now to see if the quilt square stays the same every time I comment. Or do I get a new one each time?

    edit: It stays the same. What if I don’t like the color? Not enough contrast for the designer in me.

    second edit: when I get home I’m going to make myself a gravatar.

  42. Kirk said on March 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    You’re kind of pastel there, Deborah.

  43. Little Bird said on March 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Go to gravatar(dot)com, sign up and follow the instructions to get your very own personalized avatar. It’s easy, but it doesn’t always show up right away. Your avatar is tied directly to the e-mail address you use. It should show up on each and every wordpress site that has the avatars enabled.

  44. jcburns said on March 25, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Yeah, it’s not a random quilt pattern—texture and color is based on the characters in your email address mushed through an algorithm.

    And then the data is handed off to an Amish family and they make a square out of old cotton rags, digitize it on an ancient HP scanner, and those pixels are carved in wood, painted, and transferred via buggy to the nancynall.com datacenter, where the pattern’s likeness is reconstituted as pixels. All in a fraction of a second.

    I’m just amazed how youall get going when a small change to the site is made.

  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 25, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Uh, sorry, must be in the wrong room.

  46. Kirk said on March 25, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Gravatars: If I can do it, everyone else here certainly can.

  47. deb said on March 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    stipulated: JLH is nuts, and way overestimates the public’s interest in her, um, private-area bling.

    now, where’s that quilt square?

  48. Linda said on March 25, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Re: an earlier column this week: David Frum apparently just got kicked off the rez for his continued insolence. The kickee (Arthur Brooks) was not even man enough to say why, and even inferred that it was Frum’s decision (way to NOT cowboy up). Of course, they offered to let him stay on in an unpaid position. Do we even need to wonder if the Heritage Foundation is pretty much nothing by a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican Party? Think tank, indeed.

  49. moe99 said on March 25, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Well Linda, the GOP and Heritage Foundation and AEI all appear to be subsidiaries of Fox News.

  50. Dorothy said on March 25, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Okay figured it out. I registered at Gravatar with my usual email address, but I use a different one when I log in here for comments. Let’s see if I worked out the kinks and you can see my new (non-quilt block) gravatar.

    Edit: Wheee!!! I did it. This will get addicting I can tell already. (Just read jcburns’ expression about how we “get going” when there are changes here. Love that saying – never heard that before. I think I’ll use that sometime in a play I plan to write.)

  51. Linda said on March 25, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    You’re right, Moe, it was AEI. I’m having a hard time telling them apart.

  52. alex said on March 25, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Just wanna see my quilt before I go gravatar. Hope I can find me a pic where I don’t look, uh, gravid.

  53. James Moehrke said on March 25, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Another Gravatar test. I discovered I already had an account there I didn’t remember. Must be getting old.

    And it works!

  54. Judith said on March 25, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    David Frum’s pointing out the irrationality, viciousness and non-comprising the Republican party has been exhibiting has now resulted in HIS losing his job. His acknowledgement that R’s thought Fox News was working for them, but in reality R’s are now supporting Fox News seems to have been the final straw.

  55. alex said on March 25, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Wowee, gravatar places pix retroactively. Guess all my noms de plum on the web are kaput.

  56. Little Bird said on March 25, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Oh yeah, because Gravatar works with your e-mail address, any previous names you might have used… will suddenly all have the same icon.

  57. alex said on March 25, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Well, we’ll see if it changes.

    On edit: Changed pix on gravatar but this one’s sticking, apparently.

  58. alex said on March 25, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Changed pix on gravatar twice.

  59. alex said on March 25, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Guess it’s like your driver’s license. You only get one chance.

  60. brian stouder said on March 25, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Alex – you’re a braver man than I am.

    Really enjoyed Neil LaBute’s lecture at IPFW this evening. It was lively, enlightening and more than a little humorous, plus I think almost every artsy/high maintenance person in town (plus a few crackers like me) showed up.

    Mr LaBute (born in Michigan, on my birthday), who was dressed in baggy grey dress slacks, a suit jacket, athletic shoes and an untucked Metallica tee shirt (and who looked a little like Michael Moore’s younger brother) showed us three interesting clips from his movies at different points in his talk, illustrative of different things; one each from In the Company of Men, Lakeview Terrace, and Possession. It was quite simply enthralling, as he conversationally pointed out (for example) the very simple – in fact immobile – camera work from In the Company of Men, as compared to the much more complex series of cuts and mixes in the scene from Possession (and Gwyneth Paltrow rocks!). He pointed out that he likes seeing the actors move within the shot, and do their thing, rather than having lots of camera work and post-production stuff.

    His talk was titled Changing Course: The Serpentine Road to Success, and indeed he walked us through how he “stupidly” (his word!) thought that you could make a movie for $25,000, and how they shot the thing (In the Company of Men) in 11 days, and then there was no more money and the film wasn’t complete – but they had submitted it to Sundance (interestingly enough, in black and white), where it was accepted….and then they HAD to complete the thing!

    It ended up costing an additional $100,000, and Mr LaBute matter-of-factly said that if he hadn’t been stupid enough to have jumped in on the deep end to begin with – if he had had ANY idea how much money and work (but mainly money) it was really and truly going to take – he would never, ever have embarked upon it.

    (He pointed out that some key funds came from two of his former students who had been involved in a car crash, and received cash settlements – which they shared; along with other people advancing money)

    I thought it was interesting that he said that writing and directing plays is more enjoyable to him than making movies – although he enjoys making movies, and directing movies (whether his own or others’). He kept returning to the idea that first, you have to hire correctly, and then the people you hire bring things to the table and the process evolves.

    All in all, a great evening. His newest movie – Death at a Funeral (with Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence) is coming out next month

  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 25, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    OK, I’m confused — didn’t “Death at a Funeral” already come out? Or is this the ‘Murrican remake of the other one I haven’t seen yet?

    By the way, just got back from listening to and talking to David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s campaign manager, but I’ve got about three pages of notes. Not sure how interesting all of it would be, but an edit will take a while. Very good speaker if you’re in the market for that sort of thing, especially on a college campus.

  62. brian stouder said on March 25, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Jeff, he said it’s coming out in April, and he’d have shown us a great clip from it, but (as he looked at all the young folks, most of whom probably have high;y capable phones in their pockets) he really doesn’t want to see parts of his movie show up on Youtube before it premiers!

    edit – Jeff, I envy your Plouffe lecture. Two years ago, before the presidential election began in earnest, Samantha Power spoke at IPFW, and I enjoyed that immensely! She was speaking about her book A Problem From Hell (about genocide in the 20th century, and America’s response), and as the evening unwound she also spoke about this bright candidate from Illinois who she was working for. I bought her book (an excellent read, btw) and had her inscribe it, and she completely charmed me…and then a few months later the Obama campaign whacked her, when she referred to the Hillary Clinton campaign as a “monster” (at least that’s what I recall. I don’t think she called the senator herself a “monster”, but who knows?)

  63. Dave said on March 26, 2010 at 3:38 am

    Books. When I saw that Dog, the Bounty Hunter, had written a book and was on tour, passing through here, and noted JLH’s book, I thought what I always thought, about the many people who try to write the one best seller that’ll send them on their way, surely more literate than the above-mentioned folks, but they never make it. No fame, no lifetime scrambling for fame, or no cable network show to boost them up.

  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 26, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Since this thread is about to roll over to Friday, I’ll go ahead and give Brian and I’m sure a few others a peek at what David Plouffe had to say in central Ohio last night.

    He opened by very sincerely saying how nice it was to be back in Ohio, a place he has very good feelings about. After the usual opening asides and swipes at She-Who, he dug straight into a very precise analysis of what the campaign and the candidate did that no one else expected, what had never been done before, and what he suspects won’t often be replicated, by Democrats or Republicans.

    The key was, with sincere appreciation for this campus and many of those sitting in Denison’s Swasey Chapel, young voters and particularly college students. It began with the campaign against Hillary Clinton (his compliments of her were frequent and I’d say quite sincere). The point he wanted everyone to keep in mind is the general stability of the electorate, demographically, especially in presidential electoral politics from 1976 and Carter to the near-present. With that electorate, there was literally no way for Barack Obama to win.

    So their main task was to change the electorate, the one thing political advisers and veterans were quite certain couldn’t be done. But if they were to win the primaries, they had to do it with new voters, voters outside of the demographic monoliths.

    The heart of their campaign contra Clinton in Iowa. After a number of fairly generic anecdotes, he hit the key number for them — in Iowa caucuses, historically, the ratio of over 65 voters to under 30 voters has been steady at just over 2 to 1, sometimes approaching 3 to 1. In the Iowa primary, it was 1 to 1.

    Also, in the online donations where occupation must be listed per FEC, their two highest categories were 1) retiree, & 2) student. 50% of their volunteers had never worked on a campaign. In Iowa and after, Plouffe felt that the key tie breaker for voters was “well, you know, my kid is really, really enthusiastic for that Obama guy.” 71 to 27% of first time voters, which were 10% of the electorate in the Dem primaries, went Obama; they had 6,000 paid staff, of which 5,500 were under 25.

    In summary, the youth vote had never, in all of American history, been so pivotal for an election.

    He talked much about sincerity, focus, discipline, and use of new media technology to talk directly to people, and how “Obama apps” will be the key volunteer identifier in the 2012 campaign, and about how focus & discipline to stay on course and working your key goals was how health care reform passed. Told some war stories about going down to the Des Moines Register docks and bribing a truck driver to slip him copies of the Peach when the Iowa Poll was about to come out, and how below a certain age, not one word of that story makes sense.

    His summary: Elections matter. If you have a particular viewpoint, the best way to make that happen is to help someone who shares your point of view: elections matter. Elections have enormous consequences . . . I like the competitiveness of it, I’ll admit, but I also love the clarity of it: you won, or you lost. Period. It’s a noble thing — voting, itself, is a meaningful act, but not as meaningful as running for elective office. If their campaign did nothing more than make more, different, and younger people realize that they could run, that their votes make a real difference, than it would be all worthwhile.

    Of course, they won, too!

    That’s my notes from the talk, and there was good back and forth with the audience, even with the obligatory “when will there be an executive order legalizing drugs?” I think the audience thought it was a bit of humor, and Plouffe realized faster than any of us that the questioner was perfectly serious, and answered in the same spirit (not gonna happen anytime soon). He was asked in a non-question sort of way “of course you want the electoral college thrown onto the dustheap of history,” and his answer was not quite, “no,” but he gave an excellent “be careful what you wish for” answer that seemed pretty clearly “it actually does more good than harm, though I understand the visceral appeal of straight-up presidential voting.”

    A fascinating evening, and he’s a very, very smart guy who knows his work and is in no way jaded by it or phoning it in. Couldn’t recommend going to hear him speak more strongly; don’t know about the book, haven’t looked at it yet. Hard to believe it could be anything other than good based on the talk, but that’s not always a guarantee.

  65. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 26, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Of particular interest to Brian —

    His suspicion is that campaigns, left and right, blue and red, D and R, will glance at what they did, and say they are copying them, but will mainly just try to have a cool web page and send out lots of e-mails, which isn’t getting the point. If you make your campaign about DC reality and NYC media (5 pm press conferences to make the 6:30 news, and answering what a senator said on a cable channel yesterday about you), you will miss the real nature of a truly grassroots campaign. It’s about, from, and to your direct supporters, and empowering them to represent you to their friends, family, and associates, essentially making an end run around traditional media. He noted that O’Reilly is indeed huge, in cable news terms, 3.5 million homes — but 85% of voters watched no cable news at all, none. 140 million voters out of 310 million Americans: talk to them, not to “each other” in Washington or the media, and don’t let the news cycle or chatter backstage change your script or your performance.

    He referred also to Pres. Obama’s talk to the House Democratic Caucus last Saturday (find it on YouTube, he said), where Obama had found a quote by Abraham Lincoln while looking through the White House library: “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true.” Be true to who you set out to be, and those you represent, and stay focused on the goals you’ve set because of that, ignoring the distractions, whether FoxNews or MSNBC or the NYT.

    “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true.” Lincoln, by way of Obama.

  66. Deborah said on March 26, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Jeff (tmmo),

    Thanks for the synopsis. Sounds like it was a good experience.

    edit: still haven’t changed my quilt square to a gravatar and I’ve noticed that it is on the right side this morning instead of the left.

  67. Dorothy said on March 26, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Deb when I first noticed them yesterday they were on the left, and then suddenly they all changed to the right. I love how mysterious it all is!

  68. Bryan said on March 26, 2010 at 10:38 am

    At my library, there are 33 requests for Palin’s book.

    The library also has the audiobook version — read by the author herself (winks not included). There are more than a dozen requests for that one.

    They don’t have Jennifer Love Hewitt’s book, though.

  69. brian stouder said on March 26, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Jeff – you wrote a tremendous review! Now I envy you all the more, and indeed, I bet that book will be great.

    We will have Christopher Buckley here next month, and I’m very much looking forward to him. He’s a great recan- err… racan- errrr…story teller!

    Also – I liked the Lincoln quote; the way that guy’s mind worked is always interesting.

    I’ll just say, he (Lincoln) took more derision from nominal political allies (let alone adversaries) in his first two years in office than President Obama ever dreamed of. He (LL) was said to be good-hearted but feckless, weak, confused, not up to the job. Occasionally opinion leaders in the north would be impressed by this or that – his first message to Congress, or, later, his public letter answering back Greely’s “Prayer of twenty millions” editorial; but just as rapidly the chorus of cat calls would swell again.

    Even after the Emancipation Proclamation, which the radicals and the moderates loved when announced after the victory (such as it was) at Antietam in September, 1862, a full-blown cabinet crisis and a White House consultation – or confrontation – with leading Republican senators ensued.

    Worth remembering, as (some) people heap derision upon our current far-sighted president, who is playing for the future as much as for the present (and winning)