e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu


crazy: an unfocused post with the most

Much, much, much happening. I spent part of the morning at the Secretary of State, where Michiganders must go for vehicle registrations, driver's licenses, and the like. Lines aren't as heinously long as they were in the early-90s, I'm told, but the SofS is a concentric circle of you-know-where, to be sure. I need a new driver's license and new license plates by Wednesday, when I turn 35.

On campus, then, for a meeting of the steering committee of the Civic Engagement Project, which means free lunch. Yay. Next, must mark a big fat stack of papers that I should have read over the weekend. Oh, and an article that must be peer-reviewed by Wednesday. Also happening Wednesday: tenure-track members of the composition discipline must give a presentation before the executive council of the dean's office. We're working on a "strategic vision" for the college. I'm responsible for preparing the part of the presentation where we talk about how the discipline of "writing studies" developed and subsequently went through various paradigm shifts. I've got two minutes to tackle that topic. How about that? And, and, and a hundred other things.

Yet despite the busy-ness, I must say something about Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. First, she was funny, although she mostly sat back and let others make the jokes. Still, what a good sport. Maybe the ultimate goal was for her to seem likable; mission accomplished. The NYT piece (use link above) rightly points out that she probably didn't do much to improve her reputation as a lightweight. Bopping one's head while Amy Pohler raps about shooting moose does not equal gravitas, especially nine hours before a prominent and well-respected republican like Colin Powell endorses your opponent. So you get the GOP ticket joshing around on SNL and you get the democratic ticket dominating the Sunday a.m. news shows. I'll take that weekend. Obama continues looking infintely more presidential and McCain-Palin continue looking desperate.

Curious that Palin's people consented to some of the Alec Baldwin jokes. Baldwin angrily, bitingly calls her "that horrible woman" in the bit where he pretends to think the real Palin is Tiny Fey. Baldwin's bit was almost nostalgic, harkening back to a (probably non-existent) time when SNL represented a less diffuse set of counter-cultural worldviews. "She goes against everything we stand for," Baldwin implored Lorne Michaels, invoking a mythic, post-Watergate "we" that SNL represented for about twenty minutes in the mid-70s (if at all). And the punchline of that bit: "you are way hotter in person." I'm sure her handlers figure the jokes are another way to signify Palin as the anti-feminist, the one who can "have it all" without the "radical" and "angry" rhetoric and agenda.

Driving back to Michigan last night from a weekend in Ohio, Nicole made the observation that Palin's nicely setting herself up for a job hosting a tv show and, sure enough, the NYT piece speculates on that very possibility. That Nicole, she's a smarty. In the (blessed) event of a McCain-Palin loss, Palin certainly is set up to write a book, command a huge speaker's fee on the far-right lecture circuit, and, yes, maybe go into showbiz (maybe a Fox News--an entity that's got absolutely nothing to do with journalism and everything to do with showbiz--talk show with what's-her-name from The View serving as her Ed McMahon?). She has continually looked foolish and shockingly unprepared over the past two months, but she's going to be a very rich woman regardless of what happens on November 4.

Talked to many, many Ohioans over the weekend, the vast majority of whom support McCain-Palin. Mainly due to the "Obama sounds good but how will he pay for it all?" argument. As if indefinite military comittments five-thousand miles away; newly imposed taxes on health care; and social service cuts that will result in greater poverty and greater reliance on ERs for basic services are cheap. I did notice--and this is WAY anecdotal--a generational split, with the 40-and-under crowd seeming to lean Obama. (Thank God for absentee ballots for college students!) I suppose they have more years to benefit from optimism, positive social change, and a belief in common good and more years to feel the negative effects of division and cynicism. You know, McCain's inability to look Obama in the eye or even say his name is increasingly seeming like the epitome of what election '08 represents. Maybe those of us under a certain age feel as if we're the ones who'll foot the bill--in terms of both moral cost and fiscal cost--for years and years of Iraqi occupation. We're the ones who don't want to be what the angry McCain signifies.

On a happier note, another awesome Apple Butter party at my parents' house this weekend. Good food and drink, good company, good hayride, good campfire, and a good game of football. 136 people in their backyard...what a fiesta!

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