Monday, August 25, 2008

Cops with frappes

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The conventions are all about political theater, of course, but it's theater we'll be following closely. Stay tuned. (I'm actually looking forward to some of the speeches this week -- the Clintons, Gore, Biden, Obama -- and, yes, I'll even try to make it through the the flag-waving smear-fest that will be the GOP convention.)

In the meantime, TNR's Eve Fairbanks paints the picture for us in Denver:

On the day before the official kickoff to the Democratic convention, Denver seems dominated by two, oddly mismatched groups: protesters and preachers. All day long, cotton-candy-colored Code Pink women, anti-war veterans outfitted in camo, anti-capitalism activists with bandannas drawn across their faces, guys in handlebar mustaches and turn-of-the-century outfits protesting (it would appear) modernity, and people carrying "No Empire For War" signs and singing "Give Peace a Chance" have been streaming up and down 16th Street, Denver's main drag. But in spite of their finery -- probably their once-a-year protest best -- nobody, not even the press, is paying them much mind. The columns of police in full riot gear who've been deployed to control them are peeling off of their formations and meandering into Starbucks for frappucinos.

Meanwhile, all across the city, more official Democrats have been paying frenzied homage to faith at a massive interfaith service at the Colorado Convention Center, a brunch for a blind rabbi running for Congress, a briefing for Colorado Jews, a reception celebrating Jewish lawmakers, and myriad other faith-themed happenings. The Democratic Party may have lost the spirit of '68, but it found religion.

Politics as theater. Religion as theater. Life as theater. Enough faux authenticity and misguided self-awareness to bring down our entire civilization.

Good times. I'll be happy when the balloons come down on Thursday.

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