Aperture magazine at the Democratic National Convention Night 2
August 26, 2008. Hillary Clinton speech. 2008 Democratic National Convention. Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado. Photo by Jon Winet
David Levi Strauss, Aperture magazine contributing editor, noted writer, and current Chair of MFA Art Criticism and Writing Department, School of Visual Arts, shares his unique perspective via daily dispatches from the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
The principle drama of the conventions is the relation between the press (now, the MSM) and the politicians. This entire spectacle is built for and caters to the media and the media cannot get enough of it. This year Wolf Blitzer and CNN have set themselves up in the middle of everything, right down on the floor rather than suspended above it. CNN pundits James Carville, et al. wear black Madonna headpiece mics so that they can hear themselves and each other above the din. They look like astronauts in New Guinea.
After eight years of Bush/Cheney-style bunker mentality and press blackout, the conventions are orgies of access, and the MSM is bleary-eyed and gooey with the surfeit.
Last night, the stage belonged to the Clintons, and they showed (if anyone remained unconvinced) how masterful they are at this kind of stagecraft. Chelsea introduced her mother with a film that almost managed to make Hillary look hip, and Hillary gave the best televised speech of her life, artfully intercut with close-ups of weeping women delegates and extreme close-ups and reaction shots of Bill Clinton (often even in splitscreen) laughing, loving, earnestly rapt, and tearful. The words said “Vote for Obama,” but the images said “Look you now upon the President and First Gentleman who could and should have been, and weep.”
Filed on Wednesday, August 27, 2008, after the second night of the convention.