November 1, 2008

"But what it does mean is that McCain2000 wants to have it both ways..."

"... rather like modern corporations who give to charity and then try to reap PR benefits by hyping their altruism in their ads. Does stuff like this mean the gifts and phone call aren't 'good'? The answer depends on how gray-area-tolerant you are about sincerity vs. marketing, or sincerity plus marketing, or leadership plus the packaging and selling of same. Nobody else can tell you how to see it or convince you you shouldn't yawn and turn away in disgust. Maybe McCain deserves the disgust; maybe he's really just another salesman."

Here's the full text of the long article David Foster Wallace wrote about John McCain in 2000. It might provide a refreshing change of pace from the political writings of the present moment.

(Or do you think I owe you a coherent elaboration of my reasons for voting for Obama?)

18 comments:

Palladian said...

"(Or do you think I owe you a coherent elaboration of my reasons for voting for Obama?)"

Didn't you already elaborate on your reasons?

In any case, no. You don't owe anyone anything. I don't think people should have to justify their vote, especially more than once.

Seven Machos said...

You don't owe. However, should Obama win, trust me: you'll be giving your reasons. They won't be presented in argument. It will be more of a confused lament. You will be saying I thought that...

Vote McCain.

Palladian said...

Althouse doesn't do regret, Seven.

Seven Machos said...

Not regret. Error.

Palladian said...

Althouse doesn't do errors either.

rhhardin said...

You don't get credit for charity, you get salvation; and not eventually, but right away.

Which is how it depends on motives.

Credit is big in these days of dumb-as-rocks-moralism though.

Ron said...

You don't have to justify your vote. Your readers should know that prior to 9/11 your center-left placement politically was with the Democratic Party. You've been hoping that the party would give you a reason to vote for their candidate, a now you think they have.

As suggested by a previous commenter, you may be disappointed with your vote in the future. The political environment during the Clinton Administration constrained the far left element of the Democratic Party. Circumstances now suggest that the far left may not be constrained and there are troubling practices that Obama either tolerates or promotes that generate fear of a long leftward march for this country.

Original George said...

Oh, Professor.....!

What an positive profile of McCain. Exceeded expectations.

"There is a difference between a great leader and a great salesman. Because a salesman's ultimate, overriding motivation is his own self-interest. If you buy what he's selling, the salesman profits. So even though the salesman may have a very powerful, charismatic, admirable personality, and might even persuade you that buying really is in your interest (and it really might be) — still, a little part of you always knows that what the salesman's ultimately after is something for himself. And this awareness is painful ... although admittedly it's a tiny pain, more like a twinge, and often unconscious. But if you're subjected to enough great salesmen and salespitches and marketing concepts for long enough — like from your earliest Saturday-morning cartoons, let's say — it is only a matter of time before you start believing deep down that everything is sales and marketing, and that whenever somebody seems like they care about you or about some noble idea or cause, that person is a salesman and really ultimately doesn't give a shit about you or some cause but really just wants something for himself."

(Mr. Wallace needed not so much an editor as a whip across his back. I hear that he was supposed to have been the greatest writer of his generation. He needed the smarty-pantsness lashed out of him. Jumbles of word clotted, syntactically tangled run-on sentences heaped like pick-up sticks do not good writing make. The essay reads like a breathless first draft. It was typed, not written. Had it been half as long, it would have been twice as good.)

Meade said...

You certainly owe me nothing. But since you asked, I think I'd find it more interesting to read a reflective coherent elaboration of your reasoning for voting for George Bush in 2004 than your reasons for voting for Obama now. I'm trying to remember: there was more to it than just disgust for Kerry's security wobbliness, was there not?

Jen Bradford said...

Oh God, please no DFW bashing, I can't bear it.

Nichevo said...

Perhaps you owe it to yourself, Professor. I tend to question whether you can really do it - I don't find your rationalizations to date coherent, and more such BS would only diminish you in my eyes - so if you think you mean what you say, it might be a worthwhile exercise for you. I would be glad to see your best efforts.

But when you use words like "owe" to people eating your free ice cream, even when it has turned from Cookies & Cream to Rocky Road to Pregnant Pickle to, what next, Dirt?

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Besides, shayna, if you owe me a debt, I'd rather score it on thy taille.

Big Mike said...

You nothing to anybody about your vote. You are a law professor (and presumably hostile to tort reform) at one of the further left universities (even by the standard of 21st century American universities). It never occurred to me that you would vote for anyone other than Barack Obama.

Jen Bradford said...

The version of this piece in Consider The Lobster is much better. I really missed the part where the insane guy at a town hall meeting asks him a question about a govt mind control machine, and how McCain handles that exchange.

Simon said...

"(Or do you think I owe you a coherent elaboration of my reasons for voting for Obama?)"

No. But I think you owe yourself an honest exposition of what's really on your mind, one sufficiently coherent as to survive scrutiny in black and white, and I think readers would be interested in reading it.

Why is it that we write? It isn't just to communicate with others. It's because we know an idea can seem much more cohesive and well-reasoned than it actually is when it exists only in one's head. We have an idea, we think it makes sense, so we set it out in writing - not, at least initially, to communicate the idea to other people, but to test it. To see if it will write. The discipline of having to set out an idea in words on paper (or in pixels) reveals cracks, assumptions and shortcomings in the idea that were invisible while it was only a thought, obscured by the soft focus of the mind's eye. If I can't argue a position in writing, that makes me suspicious that my position may well be wrong.

If nothing else, it means that in a few years, when you're asking yourself "what was I thinking!" there will be one post giving a ready answer.

Elise said...

(Or do you think I owe you a coherent elaboration of my reasons for voting for Obama?)

You don't owe one, of course, but I'd love to read it. I have a number of friends who are voting for Obama (I am not) and the reasons they have given boil down to one of the following:

1) I'm a yellow-dog Democrat.
2) I hate Bush.
3) Keith Olbermann thinks Obama is great. (What can I say? We've been friends for years and she always seemed like a rational person.)

Sadly, these seem to be much the same reasons I see on strongly pro-Obama blogs with a hefty dose of Obama worship and an often even heftier dose of Palin hate thrown in.

I'd really appreciate it if you could present a more fully articulated case for voting for Obama. If nothing else, it might make me feel less depressed about his (apparently inevitable) victory.

john marzan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john marzan said...

she says she will vote for obama (just to keep the deranged bhtv commenters from harassing her), but miss althouse will pull the lever for mccain on election day.

even in the blogosphere, there will be some bradley effect. and ann voting for mccain and not obama will have nothing to do with race, but on other factors like inexperience.

Rose said...

I agree, John Marzan. Inexperience, and lack of specifics. And maybe a touch of you can't hand the Democratic Party over to the activist extremists.

Or maybe because, if you think about it, none of Obama's pals are going to be able to get security clearances. That's pretty telling. All that time ago or not, do you REALLY want to hand the keys to the White House Lincoln Bedroom to a guy who bombed our own buildings, killed our own people, hates cops, and wishes he had killed more? To Farakkhan? To Rezko?

I don't know about where you are, but here the activists are industry and job killers. The fight all infrastructure improvements, suck money out of the system, exist as predatory litigants who use the education system (and kids) as cover. How can we criticize them when they volunteer in our classrooms?

They have no idea how to actually build and create something. They are all about destruction and obstruction, and they hide it all behind beautifully written 'mission statements."

That same thing reeks from Obama's pores.