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No ponies for Joan Didion

MsExPat's picture

The podcast of that live November 10th discussion at the New York Public Library about Obama's election is up now at the New York Review of Books website.

Mostly, it's an all boyz, all Obama lovefest. But not Joan Didion. She's short, dry, eloquent, and brilliant. Go, listen. (Her segment begins around minute 16:00).

Ed. Note: Vastleft here. Edited to delete gratuitous references to a certain sugary fruit drink. A post on this topic is coming soon.

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flotsam's picture
Submitted by flotsam on

Thanks for the tip. I will definitely pick up on that podcast. In my estimation Joan Didion is without peer in her ongoing analysis of and engagement with This American Life. It was she who coined the term "insider baseball" in a brilliant essay on the 1988 Bush/Dukakis race. If you haven't already read it, you should. It stands as a classic analysis of what's wrong with the media filter on politics, and it was done at time when nobody else had clearly articulated the problem. In 1988 the news media still had some vestiges of the public service ethos. Today, of course, the news is a branch of the entertainment industry. Didion's essay marks a wateshed, and stands as a clear indication of where we came from, and where we have ended up.

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

... I take your larger point here. However, the Manhattan literary crowd represented by the speakers and, no doubt, the audience for the talk produces two fine publications -- the New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. I've read both regularly and religiously since being a teenager, so I'm totally attuned to all the nuances. And in both of them the Obama hagiography was positively gruesome. See, e.g., the Political Scene on Obama's RFK smear. Kool-Aid really would not be too strong a word in this case. FITH is entirely appropriate.

MsExPat's picture
Submitted by MsExPat on

I used the "Kool-aid" metaphor because it was the metaphor that Didion herself used in her talk, to great effect.

For the record #2: Speaking as a writer, I think the "pony" metaphor is kinda lame, and not appropriate here. I would never have used that, myself. I do wish you had consulted me first.

whaleshaman's picture
Submitted by whaleshaman on

For those of us in the religious-right hinterlands with easy access to little else but CNN/MSNBC SCMSM propaganda, circus freak shows and junior high school snarky gossip mongers, this whole presentation - whether cherry or grape flavored -- is welcomed by me.

Thanks for finding and offering it, MsExPat. And bless the intelligence that invents the internets and its tubes.

A slight correction and tech suggestions here.

Ms. Didion's comments are at 10:38 minutes.

My quicktime player doesn't provide a time, but this entire conversation can be downloaded [large file >47 mb] then opened with WMP which does show the time. On FireFox, simply choose file>save page as -- and your download can be saved to listen to on your computer when you like or exported to an mp3 player.

If you have IE, the process is similar: file> save as -- etc.