Thursday, November 6, 2008

Three, two, one

  • Archer has suddenly developed an obsession with the presidential election, spawned when he realized that it relies on electoral vote totals. He now spends his time telling all of us how many electoral votes we have, and acting as some kind of election master of ceremonies: "The voters are voting for 30 minutes! And the score right now: Donna Bowman has 75 electoral votes, Noel Murray as 98 electoral votes, Cady Gray Murray has 150 electoral votes, and Archer Murray has 150 electoral votes!" (To keep peace between the siblings, Archer has learned that he and Cady Gray need to be tied.) "And now there is no voting because the voters have all gone to lunch. But there are baskets on the table so they can keep voting while they eat their lunch!"

  • There's been a lot of talk about Obama's somewhat subdued acceptance speech Tuesday night. I think the real reason is the burden of governance -- the heavy responsibility that he is assuming. But I also think, in retrospect, that it's a good thing to be subdued in victory during a moment of such multidimensional crisis. Obama supporters were dancing in the street, but the man himself seemed to demonstrate that it's not about doing a touchdown dance, but getting ready for a very hard road ahead.

  • I'm talking to Malcolm Gladwell tomorrow for the A.V. Club (unless the interview gets scheduled for the two hours I'm unavailable). If you've got any questions for him, leave me a comment.


Adam Villani said...

I'd ask him what exactly the thesis of Blink was. He describes how snap judgements can often be right and how they can often be wrong, but suggests no general rule of how to discern between the two, except ex post facto.

That being said, tell him he's a very engaging writer, and I thought The Tipping Point (which did have a coherent thesis) was brilliant. As in, like actually brilliant, not in the current British sense in which brilliant just means "cool!"

Adam Villani said...

Also, I totally get Archer's fascination with the Electoral College. I first became aware of it in 1984, when I realized that the "landslide" win of Reagan over Mondale (I was 11) was greatly exaggerated compared to the popular vote.

But oftentimes a complicated, seemingly nonsensical system just makes things more interesting. Suddenly there's real strategy involved and it's not just a matter of getting the most votes.

I was totally uninterested in College Football until I tried to figure out the BCS.

Ali said...

It's weird how things show up in groups. I had noticed Blink in the bookstore once, checked to see if the library had it, and then was warned away from it by a coworker, who hated its self-helpy vibe. But yesterday, the book was sitting on Kate's babysitter's coffeetable. She said she had seen it in the library and decided to read it. Weird.