October 3, 2008

Dearest Hendrik

Shortly after I started posting a quadrazillion photos on flickr.com, I read that the image is the new unit of information. The unit that comes in second, it seems to me, is voice. I don't know about you, but the intonations of Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin are lodged in my synapses.

My recent immersion in social media, including my adventures in mail art, has left me with two weeks' worth of newspapers piled in a chair with the rubber bands still on them. Therefore, it was a joy when my friend Sharon sent me a link to a New Yorker article about the election. (Text is my preferred medium.) Then, as soon as I clicked the link, I remembered that Hendrik Hertzberg writes for the magazine. It turns out that not only does he write for them but he also blogs. I suggest we all take the afternoon off and read everything he's written. Short of that, check out the two pieces I've linked.

In the first, Hertzberg quotes (quotes, I say! puts into print the exact words!) Sarah Palin in response to a Katie Couric question about how Alaska being near Russia gives Palin foreign affairs experience. Hertzberg on Sarah Palin on Russia

The second Hertzberg piece considers John McCain's oft-cited statement about the U. S. remaining in Iraq for a hundred years. Hertzberg does more than consider McCain's statement: He quotes the actual words that came out of McCain's mouth. And he does more than quote: He cites the context in which the statements were made.

I think what Hendrik does used to be called journalism, back before image and voice (and hairdo, shoes, American flag pins, coquettishness, and whether somebody seemed to really care about us plain ol' ordinary folks) replaced policy and character as grounds for nomination to public office.

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