Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Important newspaper discovers AddieStan.com

...in which your blogstress finds herself quoted in The Wall Street Journal.

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This blog s#cks!*
(Just ask the DNC)

NOTE: Brackets [such as these] denote words that were not actually spoken, but perhaps should have been.

BOSTON--As promised, your intrepid blogger paid a little visit on the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) Press Gallery on the matter of her revoked blogger credentials. You’ll recall that a very small handful of bloggers who received letters granting them credentials to cover the Democratic National Convention experienced the misfortune of having those credentials mysteriously revoked for reasons that seem dubious, at best. (E.g., the convention folks suddenly realized that they didn’t have enough space for us.) The others I know of who were so disrespected are righties; what liberal, feminist moi did to be similarly decommissioned was a mystery to me. So I went to find out.

The party giveth, and the party taketh away

At the press gallery, I presented the letter I had initially received, the one I was to bring to the gallery in exchange for my credentials--the one that came before a second letter claimed that the first had “not been properly authorized."(Since both letters were signed by the same person, one Francesca Gage, I decided that I could choose which one to accept.)

Now, after the initial mishap, I had gone through channels, both back and proper, to get the matter cleared up, but to no avail. Not even a congressperson who was an official of the convention could put poor Humpty together again. (If you think that’s bad, Alexis Simendinger of National Journal reports that former Clinton administration officials had a mighty hard time getting credentials to see their former bosses address the convention last night.)

Whatever happened to affirmative action?

After I confounded the gallery staff with my credentialing letter, one of the press gallery directors, an earnest young man named Michael Hurlbut, was sent out to contend with me. “Believe me, that was not a good day--the day we had to send out those letters," he explained, speaking of the decredentialling missives. “This is about the worst thing that could have happened to us."

At first he seemed to attribute the problem to a red flag from the convention’s IT people regarding how many bloggers they could accomodate. Then he chalked it up to a glitch with an Exel spreadsheet.

"So, you actually meant to credential only seven women out of the 33 bloggers you invited?" I asked. "I throught this was the party of affirmative action."

He stood silent, with a pained look on his face.

The blog itself

Whatever. What I really wanted to know was, what were the criteria for those who got to keep their blogger credentials? He seemed flummoxed by the question. So I offered a little help.

Whipping out a copy of a 1996 issue of Mother Jones with a picture of a cross-adorned White House on the cover and the headline, “House of God?", I asked, “So was it that I went too easy on the religious right in this one [which I wrote when you were at your junior prom]?"

(Yeah, I know I’ve about flogged that piece to death.)

Next came an issue of Working Woman from the 2000 campaign that featured the former first lady on its cover. “Maybe you didn’t like this picture of Hillary for my piece on the women’s vote? Or perhaps you didn’t like the [puff] piece I just did for The Advocate on Congresswoman Tammy Balwin [which she richly deserves, honestly, because she’s the most fabulous lesbian congresswoman--ever]"

He was looking rather pale.

“I mean, really," I said, “I’ve been at this for 20 years [since you were taking nappy time with your Barney doll]. I would like to think I’ve paid my freight."

“Unfortunately," he replied, “none of that could be taken into consideration." (I had sent “that" as part of a package of requested “supporting materials" for my application.) “It was based on the blog itself," he explained.

So, there you have it. This blog s#cks. Just ask the very apologetic Master Hulbut.

*Why does Addie use wingdings in curse words instead of spelling them out? Is she some kind of a prude?

No, actually, those unfamiliar with her native dialect have accused Addie of having the mouth of a sailor when, in fact, she simply has the mouth of the Jersey girl that she is. The reason for the bad-word obfuscation has to do with blocking mechanisms for sites with questionable content. Addie wants everybody to be able to steal time from their employers to read, without hindrance, AddieStan.com.

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(Enhancing the script)

Ron Reagan (r) on the MSNBC set outside Fanueil Hall for a live airing of "Hardball".
photo © 2004 Adele M. Stan

BOSTON--As predictable as flung mud, every four years the grousing about the scriptedness of the conventions rains down upon us--so much so that it's become part of the metascript itself.

One recalls that in 1996, Ted Koppel packed up early at the Republican National Convention, leaving San Diego in a huff over the banal non-newsiness of it. (Yesterday, however, saw Mr. Koppel briskly walking the halls of the Fleet Center during the prime-time hours.)

But there's scripted, and there's scripted. On Sunday night, while foraging for food in the area of Quincy Market, I stumbled upon the outdoor set for Chris Matthews's MSNBC show "Hardball." Standing around the open-sided, tented set were a few hundred people, mostly young men, holding "Kerry/Edwards" signs. As I approached the gathering, I heard a mix of noises, and then a sudden burst of cheering that rose even louder as I stopped to watch. Standing at the edge of the platform on which the set was staged were a videographer and a producer, both motioning directions to the sign-holders as to when to raise and lower their voices in chant.

It was like the outdoor segments for the "Today" show, where Al Roker goes out to Rockefeller Plaza to soak up the adoration of the tourists who travel hundreds of miles just to get their faces, and perhaps an old bedsheet imbued with a Magic-Marker message, on camera. But here, the signs were provided by the Kerry campaign, and the choreographed crowd was attempting to approximate a spontaneous political demonstration. (About as spontaneous as a "reality" show.)

All the world's a stage, I suppose...or a television studio.

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BOSTON--Since he left office, when Bill Clinton speaks, I feel myself start to smile at the same time that I experience a profound sense of sadness. For after all that was the Clinton presidency, how did it come to this? (This being complete marginalization of the Democratic Party after yielding eight pretty prosperous during its last turn in the White House.)

Clinton remains a maddening figure to me; much like a family member with a major character defect whom you just can't help loving too much. (Yeah, I'm already feeling the results of missing this week's therapy appointment.)

Bill gave a good speech last night; he always does. (I had already seen the preview of the "Send me" riff in his post-primary address to a Democratic fundraising dinner in Washington last March.) His best line: "Strength and wisdom are not conflicting values..."

He also did a great job explaining the US economic relationship with China and Japan, asking how can the US hope to enforce fair trade laws with these competitors, when they're now the bankers who finance our deficit.

Was also nice to hear him give a nod to the candidates' "wonderful wives": Teresa Heinz Kerry and Elizabeth Edwards.

Yet, when it was all over, I felt a bit underwhelmed, even after Patti LaBelle's stunning rendition of "A Change is Gonna Come". The energy just isn't here. It all feels a little flat.

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