Real Politic

by Maria on July 15, 2003

Howard Dean’s guest spot on Lawrence Lessig’s blog has gotten off to a slow-ish start. Today’s post was pretty waffly campaign-speak and didn’t seem to answer any of the almost 200 questions posed yesterday. Fair enough, as Dean says he can’t get to every question, but I hope as the week continues he’ll get more of a feel for the give and take of blogging. I scanned today’s and yesterday’s comments and didn’t see responses from Dean amongst them, but there was one from his campaign manager, Joe Trippi, asking for some input to speed up their learning process. Perhaps a little unreasonably, Lessig’s readership were expecting a much more detailed treatment of IP and copyright issues. Myself, I’d just assumed this was a free for all for whatever issues the commenters posed. Anyway, as one of the comments pointed out, the very least this exercise has done is bring many Dean supporters to Lessig’s site where they’ll pick up a lot about the IP and copyright protection debate.

But if you’re after politicians who’ve already crested the blogging learning curve, Westminster is where you need to be. Huge thanks to Mick Fealty over at Slugger O’Toole for his account of an informal meeting about political blogging in the UK. Top of the class is Lib Dem Richard Allan. I’ve been following his blog for a while and, insofar as anyone actually does, he really gets it. He’s come up with an ‘adopt an MP’ idea for getting more MPs into blogging, and is the only person I can think of who could have made a genuinely amusing pun out of the phrase ‘peer to peer networking’. I’m with Mick Fealty, though, in wondering who and when will be the first Irish politician blogger. Probably a Sinn Fein-er. They’ve been several steps ahead on the communications front for a long old time.

Oh, one for the Irish readership. Lessig’s commenters had a long discussion yesterday about the whole FCC and alternative channels of media issue. It got me thinking of the old days of RTE a h-aon agus RTE a do. I think people of Henry’s and my generation are about the last cohort to refer to changing the tv channel as ‘turning it to the other side’.



Patrick Nielsen Hayden 07.16.03 at 1:36 am

“It got me thinking of the old days of RTE a h-aon agus RTE a do.”

Spa fon? Squa tront!


Henry 07.16.03 at 2:49 am

This is an Irish insider joke. RTE One (RTE a h-aon) and RTE Two (RTE a do) were the only two TV channels available in Ireland for a very long time (unless you lived along a small section of the East coast, or the border region, and could scarf up the English channels. Thus, you didn’t “switch channels” – as there was no multiplicity of same – instead you “turned to the other side.”


Kieran Healy 07.16.03 at 4:25 am

And remember that RTE2 didn’t get off the ground till the late 70s. And it wasn’t until well into the 1980s that either channel woke up before noon or stayed up after 11:35pm. On the other hand, we had Wanderly Wagon.


Henry 07.16.03 at 5:14 am

It was a sad day in the Farrell household when Rory’s departure to help sort out the problems on the moon was announced. And he never came back either :(


David Weman 07.16.03 at 9:33 am

Sweden didn’t get a third channel until christmas ’88. I’ born in 1980 and remember the days of no coercial television.


Scott Martens 07.16.03 at 4:24 pm

Hey, when I was a kid living in the brush in Canada (in 1980 when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth and boy bands meant Menudo), we only got one channel: the CBC. All the other channels didn’t have powerful enough antennas to get out where we were, and there wasn’t cable back in those days.

It could have been worse. One place I lived (Iqaluit, actually) had only gotten a CBC satellite feed a couple of years earlier. Before that, they flew three day’s worth of CBC North – four hours a day – out on tape twice a week from Montreal.

Getting just CBC is bad for your health. Even after all these years, I still can’t quite get the theme song to Disco Rene out of my head.


Daragh McDowell 07.16.03 at 7:39 pm

I was raised with a cable box that got somewhere in the region of 40 channels of garbage, 24 hours a day, and spent my saturday mornings glued to atrocities such as the new Scooby Doo and the animated Adam’s Family. I think you’ll find that Maria and Henry’s Irish upbringing produced far more intelligent, well-rounded individuals than my one in Calgary did.

BTW Maria, in all fairness how long did Dublin put up with ‘switching sides.’ Did it belonging to that region that was able to tune in the BBC? If so its somewhat misleading to refer to a small portion of the East Coast, as it does hold a third of the population :)


Greg 07.21.03 at 3:08 am

Sadly, I know people back home who call RTE 1 and N2 (what RTE 2 eventually metamorphosed into) Bog 1 and Bog 2. Sad, but true. These were people who could not merely ‘scarf up the English channels’, but in fact refused to watch the Irish ones.

Now there are four Irish ones -TV3 is imported nonsense, and TG4 is nominally an Irish language channel but tends to show an awful lot of English stuff…

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