Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Burden of White Men

Today's op-ed by Gail Collins is worth a read. It's both funny and expresses exasperations that I feel, this one in particular:

The candidates have already resigned themselves to wooing people with political attention deficit disorder. They know that if they embark on a 12-week tour of the nation to publicize their signature issue of dropout prevention, on the day it’s over they will turn on the TV and see an undecided voter in sweat pants saying: "I’m waiting to hear what they say about dropouts."

She's preaching to my choir, for sure. It drives me crazy how much attention the "undecided" voters get as elections progress, especially since 95% of the time, "undecided" in this context means "clueless," and almost all of these votes will ultimately be cast on the basis of the last video clip shone into the glazed eyes of a couch potato.

Ah, well. Might as well wish for Dick Cheney to grow a new heart.

Collins goes on to discuss the irony of a contest between a white woman and a black man coming down to, once again, what white men care about, and how a certain type of white man feels like he's lost a lot of turf lately. On the lighter side, she says:

I once tried to make a list of specifically guy things that no woman was ever going to want to trespass upon. All I came up with were "The Three Stooges" and lawn care.

To the extent that this is true, I can come up with a few more:

Anybody got anything to add?


Anonymous said...

Half the population is going to vote republican regardless and half the population is going to vote democratic regardless, so it's a waste of energy and money to court the firmly decideds. The only voters that matter are the undecided who might vote this way or that way. I'm not voting for pro war and pro torture Hillary regardless so it's a waste of time and money trying to sway me. Might as well put your time and money into trying to sway the undecideds one way or the other. Why this should disturb you I'm not sure. You're for putting more effort into preaching to the choir and less effort into trying to sway people who might change?

Anonymous said...

What a female may not want to trespass...

- Hacking linux kernel

Anonymous said...

Messing with OpenID!

I've seen your OpenID option for identity on your commenting system, so I decided to check it out. I signed up for an account easily enough at, but I decided to add a little twist, and this comment is a test of that.

If you've got a website that you control, you can add two link tags in the head section of the html. These tags refer to your OpenID provider. You then use your url as the OpenID 'password'.

The theory is that the site you are identifying yourself with checks your website, finds the references to the OpenID provider you are using, and redirects there.

This way you can easily chose another provider in the future if yours starts acting squirrely - just change the redirect at your website.

So, here's the test. I'll let you know if it works, and if it does, I'll show you the format of the link tags.

Anonymous said...


These are the tags I added to the head section of my html:

link="openid.server" rel=""

link="openid.delegate" rel=""

Very cool...

Anonymous said...

Oops, those tags should have been:

link rel="openid.server" href=""

link rel="openid.delegate" href=""

bjkeefe said...


Thanks for the discussion on OpenID. I keep meaning to look more carefully into that, but from what I've learned so far, I can't see a pressing need. I guess I don't need to sign into so many different sites that it's all that big a deal to remember a few passwords.

I'm also a little dubious about the feeling of all eggs in one basket. This may be a fear due to ignorance on my part, I admit.


I take your point. Still, there's a difference between preaching to one's choir and rallying one's base. Related, and more important, the effort to attract undecideds, it seems to me, moves a candidate towards the center, which irritates and de-energizes the base.

Maybe it wouldn't be a winning strategy, but I'd rather see my candidate pick a clear message and stick to it, rather than getting into the hand-waving and hedging that seems to be required to get some of those undecideds.

Also, my gripe is partly just pique, and not entirely rational. It just seems to me that the undecideds, as I said, are mostly just clueless. A candidate wastes an inordinate amount of time trying to deal with people who are barely capable of being spoon-fed. As a result, discussion about other issues is neglected, because so much time and energy is spent going over the same two or three points.

bjkeefe said...

More in response to TC: Have a look at items 3 and 4 in this post. Note that the remarks were made by someone who won the last election.