Back from Austin

I’m finally starting to get back to normal after traveling to the Flow Conference in Austin last weekend where I had the chance to participate on a panel with KVUE political blogger Elise Hu and managed to run into Agnes Varnum, whose blog I’ve been reading for several years, at a film festival party. I don’t have time for a longer post right now, but wanted to point to a few videos that have recently crossed my radar.

  • Pretty much everyone is linking to this John Cleese interview in which the former Monty Python star admits that his comedy colleague Michael Palin is “no longer the funniest Palin.” In addition to being pretty funny himself, Cleese has a good reading of Sarah Palin’s performance as a VP candidate.
  • More Palin-related humor: Sarah Benincasa’s Palin videoblogs have been circulating for a while, but they’re well worth checking out as well.
  • After catching Crawford on Hulu the other day, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the role of political documentary (broadly defined) in the Bush era, possibly as part of a larger project. With that in mind, I’m curious to check out Steve Rosenbaum’s Inside the Bubble, a look at the “bubble” that engulfed the closest advisors to the John Kerry campaign. The documentary is available in its entirety on SnagFims, one of the great new online film distribution hubs.

Update: I forgot to mention A.J.’s thought-provoking post on a key scene in Robert Drew’s Primary (which was recently rereleased along with Drew’s Crisis by Docurama). Primary, of course, documents, in classic verite fashion, the rivalry between John Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey during the 1960 Democratic primary in Wisconsin, but as A.J. astutely notes, there is a key scene in which Humphrey, seeing himself losing to the slicker and more polished Kennedy , criticizes the elite media members who don’t understand rural America (money quote: “they don’t know the difference between a corn cob and a ukulele”). It’s probably not a big surprise that the bash-the-media tactics that McCain-Palin have adopted have a much longer history. It’s probably also not a surprise to see that they don’t always work.

Update 2: McChris has a blog post related to my Flow panel on viral videos and presidential politics.  One of the issues that came up was the issue of copyright and the fair use of news clips in many of the viral videos.  McChris reports that according to a NewTeeVee story, the McCain campaign has contacted YouTube asking them to evaluate the fair use of news material in a number of McCain ads that have been taken down because of copyright claims by news organizations.  While I’m no big fan of the McCain campaign, I’m glad to see them standing up for fair use rights.


  1. Elise Said,

    October 14, 2008 @ 10:47 am

    Thanks for the linkage, Chuck. Good discussion on Saturday, I don’t really get to think critically about stuff very often so I found it quite interesting.

  2. Chris Cagle Said,

    October 14, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

    It’s probably not a big surprise that the bash-the-media tactics that McCain-Palin have adopted have a much longer history.

    On that count, I’d particularly recommend de Antonio’s Milhouse, which depicts Nixon’s “town hall” meetings.

  3. Chuck Said,

    October 14, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

    I very much appreciated your contributions to the panel, Elise. It’s always nice to hear from someone who is covering political discourse on a daily basis.

    Thanks for the tip on Milhouse, Chris. I feel like I read about it recently (perhaps in Jonathan Kahana’s new book), but it sounds like an interesting film.

    BTW, McChris has a post related to the Flow panel that is worth checking out.

  4. alex Said,

    October 15, 2008 @ 11:35 am


    I’ve been beginning to worry about sarcasm, cyncacism, and satire (say, Sarah Benincasa)–wow awesome aliteration happening here!–as the only way for citizens to speak and be heard about this election. I know you and others are thinking about this a lot. Care to pipe in on the conversation I’m having with my students on my blog/YouTube? (;;



  5. Chuck Said,

    October 15, 2008 @ 4:26 pm

    Hi Alex, the first link is broken, so I’ll relink: Media Praxisme’s YouTube channel. I tend to agree with you that there are only a limited number of genres available for political commentary–satire, cynicism, and sarcasm being prominent among them–and that is a political-discursive limit that needs to be addressed.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Comment

Subscribe without commenting