I’m alive

26 September, 2006

Or so they tell me. Many ideas for blog posts, many ideas for pictures, no time to post or make/process them because lab work is going so damn well. (Thanks in no small part to the blogosphere itself, about which more at a later date. Lemme just say, fear its power, people. For powerful it is.)

One idea I had for a post was based on my hearing the Clinton-Wallace interview on C-Span radio on Sunday. Only half-listening at first, I tuned in when I heard Clinton actually raising his voice. Radio was a good way to catch that interview: when he accused Chris of smirking, Chris AUDIBLY SMIRKED. I doubt the cameras covered that, and if they did one was probably too distracted by a frothing ex-President to appreciate the beauty. You can’t make this stuff up. The next day, I watched the interview without sound, which was a great complement to the listen. I began a body language transcript, because the whole story is there. Oh, for a feed of the wide-angle coverage camera of that interview. I don’t have time to finish, but it sure is fun. Here’s my start if anyone else wants to play with the idea:

CW: Upright posture: I am respectful. Antsy left hand, lean fwd and back only a little, start question.

WJC: Slightly closed, looking at hands — OK, he’s started. Big smile, teeth. Relaxed posture slightly slumped in chair: I am Elder Statesman and have earned the right to slump. He’s talking now: open up hands, jiggle leg without uncrossing, maintain slump.

CW: Serious and slightly regretful expression. Question.

CUT TO LISTENING WJC: Smiling, then hand to mouth, completely obscuring it. Smile wiped for look of concentration. Look neutral, neutral. Blink-as-nod, slight real nod, teeny movements.
CUT TO CW LOOKING UP: This question is my obligation as a newsman, I am also somebody and this is my space and I will ask it. Hands weighed down with this heavy question, which is necessitating strong gestures, aimed at the neutral space between him and WJC. Face even, even. Hands pass question over to Clinton. Rest.

WJC: Uncover mouth. Accept question with hand, begin massaging it, shaping it with hand. Smile is less genuine but politician-functional. Steel creeping in, emphatic expressions creeping in. Scold with head angle. Bring in other hand: form wall, and move it around for extra emphasis. Punctuate return of question by folding hands: Statesman has given you your answer. Return to jollity of before in anticipation of a change to the real interview topic, but allow some satisfaction with answer.

CW: Eye roll. Cover with regretfully dissenting blink using head to emphasize. Sigh, pull back, re-pick up question, both hands. Match Clinton’s animation level. Massage question, shape question, place it down with forward shrug of shoulders. [This guy is good! This was a helluvan ambush.]

WIDE SHOT: CW upright, leaning a bit forward from initial position. WJC in same position as the start, smiling and nodding to question part 2.

CW: Pick question back up. Put question RIGHT. Drag question LEFT. Toss.

WJC: Catch and move question left-right with hands and head for a bit. Insert comma with neck. Engage (You can hear him thinking “a’ight…I can play this one….bring it, Fox.”) . Move away from L-R axis and move forward towards CW. EMphasis. Get it? EMphasis. Scratch head….

Yeah. Sadly I never got around to the meat of it — the pointing, and the smirky, and so on — but you can watch it yourself and have a go if you like. (Note that the transcript of the words seems to be incomplete — that was not how the interview started.) It capped a great week for fans of good political rhetoric, with the Devil himself being invoked in attacks against George Bush AND Hillary Clinton. Is Lucifer the political version of Hitler in Godwin’s Law?

I join Billy boy in recommending Richard Clarke’s book. It can be very frustrating talking about 9/11 with people who haven’t read it and/or don’t know the info it contains (sure the info is public record and available in other places, but his account is as primary as it’s possible to get, and has held up over the years however self-centered you find his writing style to be). Those who have read it have a good understanding of the complexity of the Bin Laden issue pre-9/11, and also of just how the Bush Administration’s seething rabid hatred of Clinton contributed to 9/11 getting the chance to occur. This is where the people who haven’t read the book hear me accusing Bush of causing 9/11. Admittedly I fuel this by my rhetoric — as you can tell from the above, I likes me a fiery statement — usually phrasing it as “Had Gore been president, the 9/11 attack would have been thwarted.” That’s a logical leap from the direct evidence, but one I can justify (with science, even) and it’s NOT the same as saying “Had Gore been president, 9/11 would never have happened” — which is the statement they usually hear me saying no matter what words I use. It’s not unlike trying to discuss animal rights with a carnivore or scientific researcher who hasn’t read Peter Singer. Which is a whole other can of C. elegans that I will not be opening today. (The above is plenty, no?)

I also need to post about my birthday weekend, which was rule, and on something that happened on it that seems to be the “I can’t believe I’m 30 years old and I’ve never…” experience I had been wanting. It’s in regards to a particular pop album, several of the songs on which I knew well (as does everyone who grew up American) but which is actually a work of genius at a level I had not before appreciated. I wonder how obvious this has been to everyone else…maybe it will be fun for people to guess in comments? (I also relistened to an album I knew was a work of genius, ’cause everyone kept saying so before it even came out, but which I never really got — so you have two chances to be right!) It’s not every day you get to listen to music you know and hear it for the first time, and getting to do so was like a whole other gift. And twice! What fun! What a great way to spend a long drive back from a weekend away! R. had already given me the best present an urbanite photographer could ever want: a shiny new lens and a weekend in NYC for a subject. I’m so fucked for coming up with something good for HIS birthday. Thank goodness his isn’t a decimal or even quintile birthday…

Work is awesome, and postworthy, but the better it is the less time I have for good old LO. I’ve got one presentation down and two to go for the fall. So I’mma get back to it now, and see some of yas tonight at the meetup, and try not to let the pauses between posts get too long. I know you hate that, Mom.

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One Response to “I’m alive”

  1. Momb Says:

    Ahhh, thank god you’re alive!! I was afraid the rats of NIMH got their revenge.


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