Sunday, July 13, 2008

READING IS FUN-DAMENTAL

I picked up the June 2008 issue of Vanity Fair in the Santiago airport on the way back from Chile several weeks ago. At first, I was disappointed that they didn't have the issues with Madonna (May 2008) or Angelina Jolie (July 2008) on the cover, but now I'm glad they didn't. I just finished "Ms. Walters Reflects," the excerpt from Barbara Walters' memoir, and it made me want to buy the book when I go to New York City in a few days. I'm a fool for behind-the-scenes drama. I only wish she had bared her fangs more on the subject of the late Harry Reasoner (left, with Walters), who was famously unwelcoming when she joined the ABC Evening News as his co-anchor in 1976. I suppose she preferred to let him rest in peace. Still, Barbara Walters is a good storyteller. If I'm ever lucky enough to be invited to a dinner party where she's also an invitee, I hope I'm seated next to her.

Now I'm in the middle of "The Last Good Campaign," a piece on Robert Kennedy that excerpts two books. (Doesn't VF hire writers anymore?) Good stuff, too. Bring on the history, Vanity Fair. I'd much rather read these stories than the latest canned soundbites from Madonna and Angelina as they feign enlightenment. The RFK story makes me question the U.S. political system more than ever. The nominating process is corrupt and the victor to whom goes the spoils is as representative of under-the-table deals as it is the will of the people. The delegate aspect is convoluted and ridiculously oligarchical. The fact that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton courted superdelegates (I'm still not 100% sure what those even are or why they are necessary) nearly as ardently as they pursuedp registered Democrats is shameful. And don't get me started on the electoral college. Voting as a state rather than as an individual is so 19th century. Both the parties' nominees and the Presidential election should be determined by the popular vote. Case closed. Then, and only then, will the person who governs the country have a true mandate from the people.

Now excuse me as I step off my soapbox.
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