No, I wasn’t there for this, but it’s more evidence that Austin is in fact more awesome than where you live.
Take that, Filipino prison warden of doom.
Tuesday morning I spent at a restaurant in north Austin called Chez Zee, for a panel discussion about the use of technology in current political campaigning, co-sponsored by Leadership Austin and the Digital Media Council. The panel moderator was Rodney Gibbs, head of the local game development studio previously and recently rechristened Fizz Factor.
I probably wouldn’t have gone had Rodney not asked me. But it was informed and informing, the panelists were fun and engaging and I got some useful perspective as well as a handy list of polling sites for Travis County (though I live north of the county line in Williamson County, so I had to find that other list.)
Starting to feel like a man about town, I am. It was useful to note that there were other people who are as excited about the presidential election as I am, living around me, and a stark reminder for me about how I need to read up on the other local candidates. It’s going to be more than just Obama and McCain on the ballot.
I also met two UT grad students, Jessica Mullen and Kelly Cree. Note in the picture linked on Jessica’s site, they’re the ones with laptops and minicameras out, covering the event, and I’m sitting back just listening, trusting they’ve got everything covered.
Yeah, that seems about right. Let the hungry kids be the reporters. I’m old and lazy now. And I was part of the majority, as Kelly pointed out, of people in attendance at a discussion called “Twittering to the Ballot Box” that does not have a Twitter account, and I’ve long been on the habit of obscuring my real name on this site and my other Internet habits. Sigh. Yeah, I’ll work on that.
Plus, the food on the bar was high on quality but low on quantity. It was 7:30 in the morning, I wanted biscuits and gravy. I ate a lot of honeydew and mini-muffins. I feel fat.
I used to be a huge Molly Ivins fan. Her columns were a big reason why I came to Texas as a young(er) newspaper-man, because this place just sounded so interesting. Well, more than Kansas did. Plus there are more newspapers here, but as I found out, far fewer places than I’d actually want to live than in my home state.
I’ve been re-reading her first book, “Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?” It might be because she would be having so much fun right now skewering the McCain-Palin campaign, or because she’d be raving about the Democratic ticket being so much better organized, on message, planned and ballsy in a way so few predecessors since the Kennedy era have been. I’m sure she’d be plagiarizing her own reporting on how the 1990 race for Texas Governor related so keenly to the gesture made at last night’s debate — Ann Richards put out her hand to Clayton Williams and got rebuffed, and it turned out to be the tipping point that led to her getting elected.
But I might have also known that I’d find something hidden between the pages. Like the following, from a 1988 column in Ms. magazine, assessing what she referred to as a “third strain of Republican women,” the ones who weren’t engaging in class war and just tried to make good sense:
The only problem with this sort of bright, sell-educated, suburban-mom-driving-a-wood-stationwagon school of Republican woman is her smugness. Were this quality something fleetingly felt or observed, one could mark it down to subjective impression, but it comes out in Republican politics as well. Political self-righteousness is not the exclusive property of any one party: what is funny is how indignant Republicans get when they realize that Democrats consider themselves morally superior.
This is an autographed copy, incidentally. Molly wrote, or scrawled:
For John —
Raise more hell! And stick w. j—ism
I maintain that the abbreviation was meant as “with journalism” and that she intended the mark as an em-dash. And now she is dead and I have put aside professional journalism for the game industry.
No regrets, Molly. God rest you.