Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Five-Minute Fast

Last night, around 9pm, Andrew declared that he was renouncing all political news for the next seven days. No political websites, no CNN, no nytimes.com. We could discuss the events of the day, but I would have to act as a human news feed to get him up to date. I declared his fast cowardly and irresponsible--the news can be riling, circuslike, and absurd, but for this election, I feel it's important to follow all the crazy twists and turns. Andrew disagreed, so I proposed an analogy: it's like foregoing the baseball game in favor of simply glancing at the final score. He declared my analogy irrelevant. Nonetheless, I had my doubts that he could actually go through with this little idea.

Indeed, his fast lasted only until around 2pm today, when he was pressured at work to read a Larry David blog entry on the Huffington Post. It was all downhill from there, and we've spent the evening--appropriately--flipping back and forth between CNN and the Rays/Phillies game.

I understand his impulse--this 24/7 news is exhausting, draining, infuriating, stressful, all-consuming; but I think at this point the only thing to do is go all in. Accept that these next two weeks will be a blur of news and more news. Accept that of all the high-alert highligts of each news cycle--Michelle Bachmann the nutcase! the $150,000 wardrobe!--will, when all is said and done, boil down to just one or two punchlines that will have real longevity. (My money's on "I can see Russia.") And accept that the word "maverick" will, in true Pavlovian style, forevermore activate a kind of shivery chill of horror. Hopefully it will be a horror of what might have been.

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