Well, we’re getting close, and things are looking good:
(This is a live link, so it will show the final results, and we’ll see how “good” things really went.)
One delightful election story that is rather apropos of this site involves Brian Dewan. He was in the news this past Saturday because of his performances of historical political folk songs (think mildly irritating songs about Jimmy Carter, Nixon or Eisenhower), but Dewan’s true claims to fame are his unqiue electronic musical instruments, including Melody Gins and Dewantrons, and “Folk Synthesizers.” We at CatSynth are delighted to see politics and our own art form crossing paths in such a direct and public way. As for Dewan’s instruments – we want one!.
This reminds me of how electronic music crossed paths for me during the previous elections, when I attended ICMC in New Orleans in 2006; and in 2004 as well, when my fellow electronic musicians and I watched the defeat at a bar in Miami. Things are looking much better this time.
We at CatSynth have also been quite amused by some of the humorous and well-designed sites that have recently appeared, most notably PalinAsPresident.com. This Flash animation depicts Sarah Palin as President (presumably after McCain’s untimely demise) in the form of an interactive game where you click on different objects (it reminds my a lot of Myst series and similar games from the 1990s). Humor abounds, as you uncover stashes from huge shopping trips, make Palin say goofy things like “Where’s Russia” and variations on “Maverick.” It is being updated every day through November 4th, and it’s always fun to come back and see what’s new. Hours, or least minutes of quality entertainment.
One thing that is not so entertaining: a mailer I received, using Barack Obama’s image and words to support Proposition 8. He is officially against it – though he hasn’t been particular vocal about the issue, mostly because of cultural blackmail in certain regions and among certain demographics. Nonetheless, it is really troubling, hopefully it doesn’t sway anyone in this largely Obama-supporting state.
The ad seemed largely targeted at African Americans, given the images and quotes from black clergy. It made me wonder about my own ethnic hertiges and their support for marriage equality. In particular, the Indian side of my heritage. I did find this survey thanks to Prerna. It suggests a 47% vote against proposition 8, which is far higher than I expected. Given my own experience (as well as the stereotypes of Indian Americans), I would have expected far lower, as we (i.e., South Asians) have an embarrassing track record on social and cultural issues. So on that note, I am somewhat optimistic. But both Prerna and I agree, “We can do so much better.”
And that’s true for the country as a whole, we can do so much better. Hopefully, we will chose that option, both nationally and locally…
Keeping cash in the freezer and taking bribes is one thing, but in my mind the reason he deserves to lose is that he has turned to bashing his opponent Karen Carpenter for her support of gay rights and abortion rights. Whether these represent his true views or a cynical attempt to appeal to socially conservative voters, either qualifies as a reason to vote against him. We'll have to see if at the end of the day his little “Republican” play works…
UPDATE: Looks like Jefferson pretty much trounced Carpenter in the runoff. I would like to think it's because of loyalty in the district, and not because of so-called “values issues.”
Imagine yourself an ordinary New Orleans bus driver, doing your normal night route on St. Charles. Just two or three passengers, quiet. Maybe even a little quieter than usual given that many people are home watching election returns. Then suddenly you come to stop where twenty or so weird people with laptops and beeds get on the bus. That’s what happened to a bus driver last night when participants at the ICMC conference boarded to attend the offsite late-nite performance at the aptly named Columns Hotel.
The election so far went as well as one could expect at 11PM, with headlines suggesting things are about to change for the better – a takeover of the House, Virginia is the new Florida (with George “macaca” Allen trailing), and social conservatives (i.e., the littering religious right) lost a trifecta on abortion, stem cells and gay marriage. Plus, I get to watch all of this from the home (and district) of William “Frozen Assets” Jefferson.
So what better way to celebrate than with experimental electronic improv music in an old hotel parlor? First on the program was Pink Canoes, who hail from the Bay Area. I was acquainted with several members of the group by name only (and vice versa), so it was quite ironic to meet in person in New Orleans. Musically, they played free improvisation with guitars, effects pedals, analog synths and circuit-bend instruments, similar to some of the group improvisations I have done with friends in Santa Cruz. I get the sense that many of the academics at the conference hadn’t heard much of this sub-genre of electronic music. Personally I would like to see more hybridization among free electronic improv, traditional computer music, and even things like the jazz duo that was also playing in the hotel at the same time.
Pink Canoe was followed by the due Andre Castro + Martin Aeserud, featuring laptop and “prepared” acoustic guitar. I found the guitar quite interesting to watch as well as listen to, and gives me some ideas for projects with the guitar that’s sitting in pieces on the floor back home.
More on the conference later.
From an AP article today:
BURLINGTON, Vt. – For three decades, Rep. Bernie Sanders has been a party of one, an avowed socialist who rails against corporate America, Republicans, Democrats and all those he believes fail the poor and working families. Now 65, the Brooklyn-born independent and his crusade could end up in the Senate.
It's great to see Bernie Sanders succeeding in his Senate bid. I had the opportunity to meet him while I was at Yale, during a private dinner before his appearance at the Yale Political Union. I got to attend because I was the organization's secretary at the time, basically a glorified stenographer. But I did often lace minutes with my dry humor, a practice that annoyed more uptight members. I did send a copy of the minutes from the meeting Sanders attended to his congressional office, and got both a letter and phone response saying he got a kick of the transcripts. The humor and style was really a New York thing that people like Sanders can appreciate and others, well, appreciate a bit less. From the same AP article, consider this comment from one of Sanders' critics about his style:
Part of it is just his mannerisms and his Brooklyn accent and his kind of loud reaction to things,” said Sara Gear Boyd of Burlington, Vermont's longtime Republican national committeewoman. “He's always kind of in-your-face with his reactions. Then, philosophically, he's worlds apart from the way most Republicans think. His solutions are truly much more socialistic, and that just kind of grates.”
Let's see, loud, Brooklyn, “socialistic”(sp)…hey, what's not to like?