You Become What You Hate
Another politics post, this time to note something techy about how campaigns use email. Previously, I'd said mean things about Team Obama for sending out a message "from a supporter" to a much wider subset of their email list. Today, the Dodd campaign used another SpamKing tactic, faking an apparent "mistake email" as a gimmick to get people to donate.
This stuff may work in bringing in the dough, but I really hate it. Creating the illusion of peer-to-peer contact (in Obamas case) or of an unfiltered "behind the scenes" look into a campaign (as Dodd's email does) undermines the most important virtuous things I like to think teh internets can bring to a Democracy.
You know, people want real connections, they want to know what's really going on, and instead of actually engaging, these tactics prey on that desire. They're false in very important ways, and they undermine the hope that such things as an egalitarian and transparent society are really possible, even in a networked era.
It calls to mind this quote from George Meyer (the most influential of all the Simpsons writers) in a Believer interview:
GM: I don’t remember a lot of what I write. I try to release it after it’s out there so that I can be fresh again. I find that the creative side of my brain and the archival side of my brain don’t work well together. When I’ve done my best work, I’ve been in a trance-like state. I write jokes that are more by-the-numbers, but they tend to have a flat, pedestrian quality compared to the dizzying flights of silliness that we occasionally achieve. That said, I’m pretty sure I wrote “Pray for Mojo.” Do you remember that line?
BLVR: Weren’t those the dying words of Homer’s helper monkey?
GM: Uh-huh. It’s almost like an epitaph for Western civilization.
BLVR: That seems about right.
GM: *It’s this bloated, fucked-out corpse that washes up on the beach, burping up its final breath.*
BLVR: What a lovely, pro-America message for the kids.
GM: [Laughs] I do what I can.
In other news, I'm off to DC on Sunday. Should be fun.