October 18, 2004

Central Scrutinizer

Hi, it’s me, I’m back. But I don’t know for how long. I’ve become progressively obsessed with this election. Dangerously obsessed, in the cult mind-set, can’t see straight sort of belief. Truth is, I can get addicted to anything. The stakes are so high in this election--life and death, a battle between blind-religious and rational thinking, the possibility of an actual apocalypse. I’m not going overboard here--the Suskind piece in the NY Times yesterday talks about everything regarding Bush’s faith except the obvious--his belief in the inevitability of the Rapture and the Second Coming.

I’m getting off topic. So much is riding on this election that it has overtaken my mind. Nothing much matters to me. I can’t work, all I want to do is read political stories. If I see a pro-Bush piece I search for a positive Kerry article to balance it. Oh, that feels good, a little jolt of optimism, I want some more of that. And so on. I’m a nut.

So I have neglected this blog. I have really neglected the American Book. I am partly interested in seeing how this election turns out. I think the sky is going to fucking clear when Bush is elected out. I read somewhere that the Bush Presidency is like a bad relationship--we won’t know just how bad we had it until it’s over. Fear hangs over everything like weather. I’m of the belief that half of the terror alerts are bullshit, so if Kerry gets into office, the terror alerts won’t be necessary. He is going to discover a war on terror campaign that may seem like it’s intentionally mismanaged.

I read pro-Bush articles in which people say Kerry will be defensive on the War on Terror, Bush will be offensive. These arguments aggravate me so. Number 1. Bush has been on the offensive and look where it’s gotten us. He has mismanaged it so far--what makes a Bushite think that he will do better in the future? Number 2. Bush is so maligned in the world that nobody is going to jump to our side if we do need to preemptively strike again. Number 3. Less importantly, Bush has terrorized the country himself by pumping us full of fear of the enemy. Being that fear of terrorism is basically all that Bush has in his corner, these points are important. Kerry will defend the country against terrorism because he has to.

All right, I thought I could purge some of my political bent by writing a non-partisan blog entry. I can’t. I want this election to happen already so I can move on. I think Kerry’s going to win due to incredibly high voter turnout numbers--people who are not now being counted in the polls--young people, minorities, cell phone users, the anti-Bush sentiment is huge, even with Republicans, etc. Still, I find following this election fun and satisfying. This is the reason people follow religion--a belief in something much larger than themselves. This election seems much deeper than Democratic vs. Republican: it’s spiritual, intellectual, moral as well. The election of one of these two men is going to drastically change the culture and emotion of the world. I can’t stay away from it.

October 5, 2004

Book Covers

While I’m posting pictures. The covers of my novel. I had some hand in the designing of the cover for the Soft Skull edition. I found the designer, Andy Goldman, who I went to high school with. I gave him a cover of a collection of Cornell Woolrich stories called Nightwebs. I liked the pulp style. The novel’s a mixture of Jim Thompson, Bukowski, and "Taxi Driver," as well as myself--anti-Hollywood, young man’s anger. I love what he did with the cover, and most people like it.

The book was the first full color, professionally bound book by Soft Skull. Up to that point they’d been printing at Kinko’s. In no small way, they learned what not to do with my book. They’ve grown since then.

I had no part in the designing the U.K. edition, put out by Rebel Inc. Press, part of Canongate. I gotta admit it flatters my ego that my name’s so big, up in the sky, but the Hollywood sign thing has been used before. I have a novel Wormwood which is basically the same cover.

Once again, my book was abandoned by the editor once it came out. The editor who took on my book left the press right when my book was coming out. I don’t want to complain too much, it’s fucking great to have a published book, I’m proud of it and grateful, but still there’s a strange pattern here.

October 4, 2004


Absurdly cute picture of my daughter. The DNC sent us a picture of Kerry/Edwards at the convention. Olivia picked it up and we told her it's John Kerry. Our bit of parental indoctrination. "John Kerry," she said in her two-year-old voice. When Kerry came on the news, Olivia flipped out. "John Kerry, John Kerry" she yelled and ran to find the picture, clapping, laughing, jumping up and down. I should have filmed the scene and sent it to the DNC. It was the most convincing pro-Kerry display yet.

October 1, 2004

Gut Feeling

My gut reaction to the debate.

Kerry lost. Dammit. He spent too much time attacking Bush. The issue if Bush was wrong to go to war in Iraq is somewhat irrelevant. We're at war. It takes a lot to switch a Commander in Chief midway through a war. Therefore, Kerry needed to talk more about what he would do, rather than what Bush has done wrong. People already know things are messed up--it needs a new plan. Why in the hell didn't Kerry address the charge "What message does that send the troops/allies?" He has a tendency to not address the obvious, i.e. the flip-flop charge.

When Bush says, snidely, "That's not true," to some charge by Kerry, the average voter doesn't know either way. They'll probably side with who's in charge. Bush seemed like an asshole, but he knew his shit, and that may be enough. I'm talking about "knowing his shit" to people who don't know the facts, which is a whole lot of people. Bush seemed in command at times. He seemed to be swiping Kerry off his shoulder like he was a flea he had to deal with. I thought some undecideds might like this.

My point is this: Bush has never been likable, he's always seemed like a prick and still people want to vote for him. So I thought his aggressive/defensive posture in the debate wouldn't be read as negative. The left are looking at Bush through the lens of despising him. This election is going to be decided by people who don’t hate Bush. Most people don’t think of him as Chimpy or a criminal. If they’re still undecided after what they’ve seen from Bush in four years, how is this debate going to change their minds?

This morning…

Once again I should have a little more faith in people. I never think that people will see Bush for what he really is so I assumed people would see his performance as strong. Bush seems to always get a pass. To me, last night wasn’t any worse than normal--he’s always that bad. But people can be discerning. So far, I've been wrong about the debate and I'm glad.

I always judge myself too harshly out in public. I get home from a party and I think shit, shit, shit about all the stupid things I said. Which are never as many as I think. I replay these moments over and over again. Last night, I judged my guy too harshly, and I judged the other guy as better than myself. Exactly what I do in life. I should never be a pundit. I take things too personally.

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