Just another one of those weeks. Hence that lack of a Tuesday update. Sorry.
Really, I love October. The turning of the leaves, the arrival of crisp autumn air, the harvesting of squashes, apples and corn, and the imminence of Halloween — it's the season I love more than the others. Warm clothes, warm food, warm blankets. And the sun goes down at a respectable time of the day. (In July when the sun is still out at 9 o'clock, I want to shout, "Go to bed!")
But every four years the month is overtaken by a national obsession with the worst aspects of our political culture. Mostly I blame the loss of a public forum for citizens to engage in discussion, debate, dialog and all those other "d" words that make a democracy work. Our national media provides a poor substitute: the talking heads and hired spin-meisters make asses of themselves attempting to fathom the shallow pool of so-called "undecideds" they have corralled into a focus group on debate nights. Lately they have become obsessed with second-by-second mood tracking technology I first saw used by that over-rated political consultant Frank Luntz years ago on MSNBC (before FOXNews claimed his goofy bowl cut head) as a means of estimating emotional responses to phrases and terms that might resonate with voter concerns. Which simply adds a pseudo-scientific excuse for politicians to tell voters what they want to hear.
The length of this election season has exacerbated my burnout. Fatigue set in shortly before Hillary Clinton launched her "3 A.M." ad, so the last several months have been tedious to the extreme. Were it not for this outlet, granting me a way of working off my mounting anger with caricature and mockery, I'd probably join the unwashed uninformed masses. The other night, I skipped the second debate, opting to let my kids watch a movie while I finished reading an Ian Rankin crime novel. After they went to bed, I read the transcript online, yawned, and took in a little punditry to gauge the memes. Mostly I feel like that returning Viet Nam War vet who crashes the wedding scene in "The Deer Hunter", the guy whose only sane toast is simply to raise his shot glass and say, "Fuck it."