I don't mind admitting to you that (for this very reason) I watched nearly every minute of this past RNC '08 convention, held in Minneapolis, MN. It was stunning, for many reasons, the least of which was that, from above, the convention center looked like what you've always heard hell looks like: a giant dark pit, with fiery red floor, bunch of half-broken people mindlessly wandering around. I don't know who was in charge of designing the '08 RNC but whoever hired them really had no idea what they were doing. Whoever that person is should have a glass of water poured over their head every night for the rest of their life.
Check out the enormous digital American flag. That's weird. That makes no sense. I tried to imagine who would think that's cool. I thought of myself when I was 12. And even then I might have thought that t was stupid. The live in-house progressive jazz band was amazing, so much so that they were hard to describe. They were uncanny, the way the guy in the bear suit, leaning over and sort-of fellating the butler in The Shining was uncanny. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any footage on youtube. That was probably THE MOST sterile music I have ever heard - and I like sterile music! It's weird and totally amazing in a non-human/post-human kind of way. (Where's Pitchfork when you actually need them?)
And, of course, the most amazing moment of the RNC 2008 was at the very beginning when an honor guard marches through the half-empty coliseum and the whole room stands in silence, their hands over their hearts, when a solemn voice comes on over the intercom (think mid-twentieth Eastern European internment camp) and commanded everyone to turn around and freeze for one full minute while a super-fancy camera overhead takes everyone's picture. Everyone turns around with their hat/hand over their heart and holds their pose for an entire minute while the camera takes their picture. Have you ever seen several thousand people in a coliseum freeze and hold completely still for a full sixty seconds? It's creepy. It's a lot like observing a ritual in the most old-school pagan kind of way. All political (and athletic) events are ritualistic (obviously), but most of the successful, modern events successfully (I think; and, really, this could be an entirely different post) somehow successfully mask their own Ritualness...the '08 RNC should go down in history as one of THE MOST POORLY disguised political rituals EVER. And that sucks. For all of us. If we're going to be a two-party system we have to act like it. We need both the D's and R's to really want it, and know how to want it. Do you get the feeling we have a third party slowly galloping our way? God, I hope they're smart.
Well, anyway, I did find this clip from the RNC '08. Enjoy:
Also: Doesn't this look more like a scene out of a new David Lynch film rather than a contemporary conservative political rally?
Incidentally, I had lunch with a political columnist from the New York Observer a few months ago who was at the RNC, and was standing on the floor when Sarah Palin gave her introductory speech and he thought she killed. He said he was there with his editor and they both thought that it was all over for Obama. It's funny: I watched the RNC on a live internet stream and I thought it looked cheap and poorly orchestrated and I thought, almost immediately, that Obama was definitely going to take it. Televised orchestration's a big deal. You've got to have a candidate that looks good, who plays well on-screen. But, I know you know that. Well, the Republicans had an off year. They were due.