August 5, 2004

As the Vote Rocks, the Stiff Wander the White House


(Apparently, even Boris Yeltsin was cooler than W)

In his Arts (and Politics) column in the NYTimes about a half year ago, Frank Rich speculated that the biggest reelection blindspot for Bush had to do with his ignorance of popular culture. This article was written just as the wheels were coming off the Dean wagon, but at the same time people were realizing how much his sudden rise was fueled by the (populist) internet.

Despite the skill and savvy of Rove and Co., the model they operate out of is a generation behind, geared too much toward the tools (direct marketing) and constituencies (Bush Pioneers, fossil fuel industry) of pre-dot com culture and consciousness.

I realize that most of what has been attracting my blogging attention recently (and not just mine) is the backlash to Bush in the popular culture. However you care to slice it (youth culture, art culture, movie culture, music culture), Bush has catalyzed an emotional and expressive response that is building exponentially toward November.

You know what I find the most telling though?

Despite the intense level of creativity energy circulating now, it’s not that Bush and Co. are failing to push back on it, it’s that they don’t even seem to register it!

(Pulitzer Prize winning photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko. Yeltsin Rocks In Rostov. 1996. Associated Press.)
( Pulitzer Prize “Capture the Moment” interactive exhibition here)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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