There Is No Cat

The alternative to flowers!

Monday, September 23, 2002

In Defense of The Wooden Man

Sarah Vowell's new book, The Partly Cloudy Patriot, looks interesting. I love Vowell's work for Salon and for This American Life. She was a particular highlight when we saw TAL tape live in New York a few years ago. But I found one aspect of the book (which I haven't bought yet) mentioned in this review on Salon very troubling, and that's the way she makes fun of Al Gore for not being self-deprecating. She must not have been paying attention during the campaign, because that's so at odds with what I saw. It's cheap, lazy reporting based on the crappy, biased job the media did at the time. Because the Al Gore I saw on C-SPAN was nothing if not self-deprecating. He had a blast at his own expense. I think it was the Democratic Convention where he did his own personal version of the Macarena where he stood absolutely rock-solid stiff. Then there was at least one appearance where he had himself wheeled out onto the stage on a hand-truck. I know there were dozens of more examples of Al Gore's willingness, nay, delight, in poking fun at his own image as Mr. Stiff-and-Boring. But Vowell is apparently just parrotting the line projected by the media, who did a terrible job of hiding their biases during the last election. They would let nothing get in the way of the received wisdom that Al Gore was boring and had no sense of humor. I'm sorry to see that a writer I like and respect and who I've always thought of as very perceptive so totally misses the boat on this. It's a cheap shot that panders to a totally inaccurate misconception of what Al Gore was like on the campaign trail.

I'll still probably buy the book, but I'm less interested in it now than I was before I read the end of this review. I'll probably wait for it to come out in paperback.

Posted at 7:45 PM

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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