Friday, October 24, 2008

The Unbearable Anxiety of Waiting

So we were at a fabulous art party the other night, free food and drink, important collectors everywhere, awesome art all around, and yet all I remember from the evening (did I mention the free drink?) was a conversation with an artist who was nearly beside herself with anticipation. She asked me, noting the blog, what my opinion was, and I rattled on a few moments about the economy before realizing that she had assumed I knew she meant: What was my opinion about whether Barack would win or not?

I tried to be as reassuring about that outcome as I had tried to be about the economy initially, but I read the polls...I know it's close...and I've witnessed an absolutely unfathomable outcome in the previous two presidential elections, so to tell you the truth (sorry Jane), I'm not entirely sure. Yes, some polls show him way ahead, but we've learned that those are essentially fortune cookies aphorisms (occasionally they coincide with reality, but you'd have to be daft to believe they're truly prescient).

And to be entirely honest, it's difficult for me to focus on much else other than the outcome either. It's become such an obsession that I'm dreaming about the election and find myself checking the political blogs more than I do the stock market during the day. While on the Huffington Post recently, I saw Larry David is suffering from the very same obsession:

I can't take much more of this. Two weeks to go, and I'm at the end of my rope. I can't work. I can eat, but mostly standing up. I'm anxious all the time and taking it out on my ex-wife, which, ironically, I'm finding enjoyable. This is like waiting for the results of a biopsy. Actually, it's worse. Biopsies only take a few days, maybe a week at the most, and if the biopsy comes back positive, there's still a potential cure. With this, there's no cure. The result is final. Like death.

Five times a day I'll still say to someone, "I don't know what I'm going to do if McCain wins." Of course, the reality is I'm probably not going to do anything. What can I do? I'm not going to kill myself. If I didn't kill myself when I became impotent for two months in 1979, I'm certainly not going to do it if McCain and Palin are elected, even if it's by nefarious means. If Obama loses, it would be easier to live with it if it's due to racism rather than if it's stolen. If it's racism, I can say, "Okay, we lost, but at least it's a democracy. Sure, it's a democracy inhabited by a majority of disgusting, reprehensible turds, but at least it's a democracy." If he loses because it's stolen, that will be much worse. Call me crazy, but I'd rather live in a democratic racist country than a non-democratic non-racist one.
I think Larry is right that regardless of who wins our lives will go on, so long as you consider sleeping in a cardboard box under a bridge some sort of life (sorry, I broke my fearmongering rule again). But in all seriousness (seriously) I'm not so sure my faith in this country stands much of a chance if McCain wins. I've never seen an American political party that needed to spend some quiet time rethinking its values as much as today's GOP. In their endorsement for Obama for President, the New York Times succinctly spelled out why:
The United States is battered and drifting after eight years of President Bush’s failed leadership. He is saddling his successor with two wars, a scarred global image and a government systematically stripped of its ability to protect and help its citizens — whether they are fleeing a hurricane’s floodwaters, searching for affordable health care or struggling to hold on to their homes, jobs, savings and pensions in the midst of a financial crisis that was foretold and preventable.
With that as your party's legacy, if you truly were pro-American, you would withdraw from the race voluntarily. At the very least, you would purposely sabotage your own campaign. You would pick a running mate so entirely unqualified that you could blame her for what you yourself hoped would be your party's loss...hmm...wait a minute...maybe McCain is truly pro-American.

Is it Nov 4th yet?

Labels: politics


Blogger George said...

Ed said, At the very least, you would purposely sabotage your own campaign. You would pick a running mate so entirely unqualified that you could blame her for what you yourself hoped would be your party's loss...hmm...wait a minute...maybe McCain is truly pro-American.

I said, McCain on the mat.


10/24/2008 09:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Charles Browning said...

You want Obama, get out there and make it happen. Oriane is working for Obama in Ohio. I live in Pennsylvania and I'm doing the same here. I'll put up anyone who wants to come do door-to-door work with me here to get out the vote. Come stay with artists and work for Barack!

The bus to my area is about $40 r/t I'll meet your bus to pick you up.

We're doing door-to-door on the weekends, phone work Mon/Wed/Fri evenings. We've got two weekends left.

Contact me at, removing the Obama from the address.

Charles Browning

10/24/2008 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

This is just an internet poll, and I have no idea who's running it, but take a look at how Obama is perceived elsewhere in the world, and then unclench your jaw and loosen your shoulders just a bit:

Now share it with all the undecideds (though, frankly, they must be morons, because if they haven't figured it out by now, they may not be smart enough to find their way to the voting booth).

10/24/2008 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Brandon Juhasz said...

I had to go on a News/polls detox last week because it was consuming me. To the point that my day job was split about 50% looking at the news, 50% trying to work but thinking "what's happening now".

What I tell myself is Obama's winning in polls but you know what, 5-7 points is a healthy lead, HOWEVER, that means a little under 40% of the population is still supporting McCain...WHAT!?

I have many colleagues and friends here in Ohio who are out constantly, its unreal to see how people are working for this. In fact my neighbor was out on Saturday and we stopped and talked for a bit and she told me how they were now focusing on the undecided's (sic?) and how they have a system of outreach that narrows through out the campaign, it is really impressive.

10/24/2008 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joanne, it is indeed quite a challenge talking to the still undecideds. I don't want to be negative (I've got a few more days of relentless positivism ahead) so I won't say any more about that now. I will say that the number of Obamacans (Republicans voting for O) I've met is heartwarming.

So many great endorsements lately - Colin Powell, Scott McClelland (!), Alan Dershowitz ... Things are looking good, but don't unclench that jaw just yet. Don't get too comfortable; if we snooze we lose.

Shout out to Charles and Lynda - keep on swinging that state!

Oriane Stender

10/24/2008 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger joy said...

Also in the interest of allowing more oxygen to the brain is this amazing video of interviews with Republicans voting for Obama.

10/24/2008 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

+++Biopsies only take a few days, +++maybe a week at the most.

This was a very stupid comment.

As a survivor of cancer, I can tell you that awaiting tests results are not the worst part. The worst part is knowing you have some tests to pass at each 6 months interval, and you have no idea if cancer cells will be back or not. This is a living hell, yet it's true that it's a bliss when the outcome is positive, then it becomes like walking on clouds all the time, and if I remain alive frankly maybe these problems were the best thing that ever happened to me. But you know... Don't compare elections with cancer-anxiety.

By the way, when you are being operated it is planned a couple months in advance and this is also a case of no sleep for many many weeks. My last operation I arrived there like a zombie, I think they could have done it without anesthesia.

Now don't feel sorry, I'm like Eurydice who came back from hell by herself, and she's upset and very ugly.


Cedric Caspesyan

10/24/2008 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

There's a guy I see just outside my studio every so often who actually is sleeping under a bridge (in this case, the el) in a cardboard box (in this case, just his head in the box, which is too small for the rest of him).

I find this staggeringly depressing.

10/24/2008 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger some girl who lives in brooklyn said...

Obama will win. If he does not there will be riots. mark my words.

10/24/2008 11:58:00 AM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

Oriane, I've been enjoying your e-missives from the field, and will be in PA Sunday to canvass for Obama.

Edward, I hear you about not being able to get anything else done! At my dayjob I have a backlog because I can't stop with the political blogs. My studio discipline is out the window. I am distractedly sputtering along on existing projects--I can't seem to start anything new or engage too deeply.

What I've been doing is trying to catch myself when I am getting too deep into the blogs, and make phonecalls for Obama instead. It's easy and it's helpful, you can get started here.

It feels a lot better to make phonecalls for an hour than it does to reload Andrew Sullivan compulsively.

(no disrespect to Sullivan intended)

10/24/2008 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reloading Andrew Sullivan compulsively
reloading Andrew Sullivan compulsively
reloading Andrew Sullivan compulsively
reloading Andrew Sullivan compulsively

10/24/2008 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

Chris, what depresses me are the amount of street cats who die each year of cold in winter. Humans are so lucky in that most of the times, they have all the means to help themselves. They just refuse to realize it.



10/24/2008 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Ann's Fans said...

Cedric, Some will agree

10/24/2008 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

I am encouraging people who cannot bring themselves to vote for Obama because of genuine, deeply-held conservative principles to vote for a third-party candidate, like Barr, or write in Ron Paul. Neither the Bush administration nor the McCain-Palin ticket is conservative in any sense of the word. A strong showing for Paul may encourage the Republican party to consider re-embracing some of its former core principles.

10/24/2008 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you all think its just you americans? i am a foreigner for god's sake and i can't take any more of it! i have never watched so much tv in my entire life, me who never had tv and now all i do is pile on more matthews, more interviews and rachel and the comedic keith guy, more public radio and tv programs call 'meeting of overpaid presses'... waiting as one waiting for bad news. and the worst is so edged am i, i am no longer sure i can stand either of the candidates. the paling one i know i can't bear: the texture of her voice grinds at my nerves. the maverick is a desperate man decidedly not very bright. the messian? well, will he really help save the earth?

i am not even american and i am falling apart, unwashed and staying home when i can help it, rushing home to see if there's been some bad news because some how i can't believe americans will make a good choice, i no longer know the good choice myself. but i see them voters, in the privacy of that booth, going for the the real bush doctrine, which is the 'bush sentimental guts' of ethnic tribalism...

i am not even in america!

10/24/2008 01:18:00 PM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

Sorry Anonymous,

We (America) really did screw the global pooch, didn't we?

10/24/2008 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

My best to all of you who are out there working for Obama. If the voters turnout in large numbers, Obama wins, hands down.

Some observations:

In times of financial pain, financial crisis or recession the incumbent party is voted out of office, Obama wins.

The Bradley effect is a nonevent in this election. Those who would alter their voting decision because of racism will vote for McCain. There is no stigma to this, he's a "real American" and Sarah dresses nice. This leads me to believe the polls won't be skewed by the racist vote and Obama wins.

The Republican party is fractured and in disarray, result? Obama wins.

A fundamental shift in American politics is occurring and shifting towards the progressive ("liberal" to you Republicans) side. I believe this is being driven by the development of an information based society. For the first time in my life, the news is out there and it is becoming clear that "conservatism" was an idea used to keep the "haves" in power to the detriment of the rest of society.

There is a reason for the politic to act in a way which is best for all society, not just the "haves". The "haves" had their chance and the current result is the world financial markets are imploding because of their greed. It is all out on the table now, Wall Street made a bet and lost, Main Street is being punished for something they didn't do and will rebel. Obama wins.

BUT, we still have to vote or he will lose.

10/24/2008 02:44:00 PM  
Anonymous ANONYMOUS said...

In broad terms, McCain identifies closely with the unilateralist instincts and Manichean worldview of the coalition of Israel-centered neo-conservatives and aggressive nationalists who dominated the first term of President George W Bush's administration and place a premium on military power, as opposed to diplomacy or other forms of "soft power

Obama, on the other hand, is generally seen as grounded in the "liberal internationalist" school, whose founding is credited to president Woodrow Wilson and which became the basis for the US - and Western-led multilateral order - presided over by the United Nations, the two Bretton Woods institutions, and an embryonic World Trade Organization - elaborated in large part by president Franklin Roosevelt in the waning days of World War II.

Most of Obama's main foreign policy advisers hail from that tradition. Indeed, some, like his vice presidential running-mate Senator Joseph Biden, whose long-time leadership of Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is likely to give him special influence on international affairs in an Obama White House, are considered "liberal interventionists". This group believes the US should actively and aggressively export the spread of liberal values and prevent - by military force if necessary - massive abuses of human rights, such as genocide.

10/24/2008 02:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An Obama administration is also likely to suffer splits over humanitarian intervention, a concept that has been eagerly embraced by liberal internationalists, especially those, like Biden, of the interventionist persuasion. However, it has drawn great skepticism from realists who believe it is a recipe for wearing out already-overstretched US military forces in countries that are not vital to US national interests.

10/24/2008 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger joy said...

humanitarian is the new black.

10/24/2008 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger David Cauchi said...

I've been watching Fox News. It's incredible.

What do people think the chances of it being stolen are?

Is that why they put up these joke candidates?

10/24/2008 05:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ed: (Jane here) So I took a break from nervously checking the polls to nervously reading the blogs and whaddya know, this one is about me (sort of). Funny how every opening I've been to this month includes easily twice as much (four times as much?) political talk than art talk. Anyhow, thanks to all the other great comments on this blog, which pushed me to take a break from all my anxious neurotic habits and go sign up for Election Day in Pennsylvania. Hope to be drinking champagne when we arrive in Brooklyn Nov. 4th.

10/24/2008 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Joy: humanitarian is the new black.

well put, so let it be.

10/24/2008 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Cederic Casp said...

Ok, to ease the pain, here's what my Tarot deck says about your question: Will Barack Hussein Obama win the presidential elections on Nov 4:

1) The Empress

This is us, internet communication.
People wanting to communicate.

2) Temperance (upside down, all others were on the right side)

This suggests that there is a lack of suppleness in the opinions shared. Or maybe in the whole USA. People are too much Black or White
and should put a little more water in their wine (note that this is the Tarot, not my personal opinion).

3) Force

Triumph of the will. This means (following Temperance) that something that you have long awaited for finally breaks free.
Just like a bird coming out its egg. This situation usually crackle with impact.

4) The Sun

You might think this is the most positive result. A beautiful aspect that says "yes, Obama wins". And in fact the Tarot does say "Obama WILL win". However, this is not the Pope card, which would have been ideal in this situation. Following the Force, the Sun means that the requester is a little blinded by his fascination for someone, that has a very strong mask but is much more vulnerable and weak beneath.
Some would go as far as saying that this is about burying one's head into the sand, rather than facing the true problems and questions they should be facing.
The Force killed a lion, and small babies came out where you'd expect something stronger. But the babies are very lovable. This person will be loved and loved and loved.

The Tarot resolution (suggestion to the requester):

5) The Force

This means to not consider a battle won and still hold on tight.
Even if Obama eins, still hold on tight. It will not be an easy sail.


Cedric Caspesyan and his army
of million ghosts.

10/24/2008 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

check out the new harpers magazine - great article on astroturfing whisper campaigns to smear Obama - also some great psychoanalysis of what the candidates mean - very META. I got chills, you know, what with the whole inoculation I got earlier from the elephant dust - still suffering from a fever.

palin as "death and the maiden" is genius (from Mark greif at n+1).

10/24/2008 11:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So are you concerned at all that Obama praises an artist who does not acknowledge the copyright of other artists? Would you be concerned if an artist yanked images from the people you represent in order to make a few changes to them and profit in the end?

10/24/2008 11:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Obama will win. If he does not there will be riots. mark my words."

Maybe that should be reported to the FBI. Are you a revolutionary?

10/24/2008 11:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's the wild card. The stolen election. And it could happen.

10/25/2008 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger joy said...

I was wildly disappointed by that issue of Harper's (and may have to blog about it, though most of it's not online...): Roger Hodge not getting that the Obama campaign is, in fact, "creative"? Are we watching the same movie, friend? And that Simon Critchley with his pretentious theories of horror vaccui, repeating that vapid meme that he "still doesn't know who Obama is" -- right; that's what we call *projection*...


10/25/2008 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

"Obama will win. If he does not there will be riots. mark my words."

anon 11:37 "Maybe that should be reported to the FBI. Are you a revolutionary?"

More fascist scare mongering. It was an observation not a threat. If you want to deal with threats in a police state way, what about the remarks made by the McCain supporters against Obama? Well.

The fear that there might be riots if it appears the election is stolen is very real and shared by a number of people.

The population of this country is VERY PISSED OFF at the present administration, this includes members of both parties. Main street is going to suffer severely because of the greed and hubris of Wall Street and the present administration.

The "pissed off" factor is very, very high, above 75%, so if either side does anything which seems to truly compromise this election, there will be riots. The government already knows this and has prepared.

10/25/2008 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Marilyn Picasso said...

This obsession here lies somewhere between the common place cliche's of 'you've got too much time on your hands' and 'get a life.' Fall in love, have a relative dying of cancer, lose your job, your favorite pet dies or some other windfall/tragedy and then I think you can get this anxiety into relative perspective. Do u ever think the media is loving this since ratings are as good as superbowl levels? The implication is MSNBC and Fox News want to fan this emotional largesse? In other words u r being played? Maybe if u stay away from the media for a week yall will feel better. Try painting for a change, the play w/ brush, paint and canvas is relaxing and can reveal the true u, although judging from the above that might not be so 'pretty'.

The Republicans are willing to break laws to win, rigging elections especially. The question is when will the weak-kneed Dems get violent again to make real change? And lastly, horrors of horrors, maybe 'the people' aren't capable of leading themselves anyway or sometimes get it wrong, either way you're stuck w/ it. So, maybe join the Army and go fight the fascist Taliban, be useful, you'll do the right thing for women and religious tolerance instead of wringing your hands and waiting for the sky to fall.

10/25/2008 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: wringing your hands

can be a very practical device

10/25/2008 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

The Republican way.

If you can't win fair and square, resort to lies, preferably lies that foster fear.

McCain has seized a line of attack that Obama is poised to deepen the financial problem by raising taxes. In Denver on Friday McCain said that Obama won't target the rich but rather the middle class by putting it "through the wringer."

To anyone who has paid attention to Obama's position on taxes, it is clear that McCain's remark is a blatant LIE. Why is this? To incite fear among the underclass because he is pandering to the upperclass, "the haves".

Then there is the question about "experience", more scare mongering without any basis in fact.

Let's see, George Bush had "experience", he was a governor, served in the Air Force Reserve, and was on the board of Harken Energy. At least his time with Harken gave him some experience with bankruptcy.

How about McCain? Well, obviously (by his own admission) he has no understanding of finance, but like others he will have a slew of advisors, giving him advice. Who might they be?

How about Phil Gramm? Eeek, more of the same! this guy is a proponent of no-regulation, dog eat dog capitalism, not a good sign.

How about Carly Fiorina? She managed to spectacularly mismanage Hewlett-Packard and was summarily fired, nope!

Um, how about Arthur Laffer? Yeh, good old Arthur, Reagan's boy, inventor of the Laughter Curve. You laugh louder when it trickles down your leg, uh, nope not him, next?

Boy the pickings get pretty slim here in McCain Land, Buffet won't take the job and everyone else on his list are failures or political ideologues.

So, this means we will get some version of the Republican economic storm troopers as picked by the likes of Dick Chaney. It is not an encouraging sign if you put the wolf back in in the henhouse to keep an "eye on things" Nope, not a good sign at all.

And how about, age. John McCain just turned 72, he's a real old fart. He would be the oldest president ever elected, even older than fuzzy, the last Republican hero.

Hmm, well that's what a vice-president is for, a backup just in case anything happens to the boss, right? John, in a blinding flash of self serving political insight has selected 44 year old Sarah Palin as backup quarterback.

She's a good dresser, winks, and has command of the vernacular, an expert at flirting for favors. You betcha, good choice there. She can learn on the job if John croaks or is incapacitated. More dog eat dog capitalism, oh boy! I can hardly wait.

So, I think... John McCain is unfit to deal with the economic crisis facing this country. he is too old and set in his ways to recognize creative solutions even when they are set right in front of him. His choice for the vice presidency and his apparent choices for his advisors are flawed to the point of being incomprehensible.

A bit of scare mongering that McCain should try to understand. The world financial markets are looking to the US for leadership. They have NO FAITH in McCain, this is not a time for political or economic ideologues. If McCain is elected we can expect additional 5000 point decline in The Dow Jones Industrial Average (to 3500 or so). The current economic situation is dire, Bush is totally ineffective and McCain is only adding to the confusion. Obama has the best advisors working with him and seems to be the only person who can potentially bring all the parties together to work towards a solution.

A vote for McCain is a mistake.

10/25/2008 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

well marylyn picasso,

You Ain't Seen Nothin Yet.

I may not have a life but i do have perspecive, which is what you are saying people lack, right?

I'm not delusional. I don.t have toys in the attic. I resent your condescension. But I forgive you.

And Joy, though I agree the Harper's is a bit overwrought, and we still don't know/will never know who McCaine is, despite the character asassination in Rolliing Stone (who among us has not partied their ass off? Had a blow up?) and his long record of voting against the little guy (I was just talking to John Rambo and he said he's still not home) surely as a whole you can see an interesting editorial bent in the magazine?

Maybe I'm delusional, projecting bogeymen and personal demons - i felt a certain conecton.

Let us pray for McCaine.

On the Harper blog there is a link to the Poetry of Ezra Pound, who's cantos I haven't read but I'll get to it just as soon a I manage to fix my right livelihood problem.

You may not see a horror vacui, but I do. Its intense bro.

See you on the flippitty flop,


10/25/2008 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

I was looking for this earlier but couldn't find the source before...

McCain's running an ad saying "Listen to Joe Biden," the ad's narrator states before playing a recording of Biden saying: "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama. ... We're going to have an international crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

Followed by "It doesn't have to happen; vote McCain," the narrator says.
(text is a direct quote from CNN)

There's a real truth here which I am very glad to see made public. Every president gets tested sometime in the first term, usually in the first eighteen months. This is something I have noted over the last 30 years but I have never seen it acknowledged in the press. I probably just missed it.

None the less it is something I am inclined to expect REGARDLESS of who gets elected. In this case a McCain or Obama presidency will make no difference, something will happen.

So what we have is another case of McCain LYING.

His nose should be a foot long by now. Hmm. maybe it's hidden in his cheek pouches.

10/25/2008 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

For those of you who are absolutely hooked on tracking this election on a daily basis...

The Iowa Electronic Markets are operated by faculty at the University of Iowa Henry B. Tippie College of Business as part of our research and teaching mission. These markets are small-scale, real-money futures markets where contract payoffs depend on economic and political events such as elections.IEM bla bla - link

2008 Presidential election, explaination of how it works.

Tracking graph, updated every 15 minutes This is winner take all, 100 is a win

The University of Iowa has been running these "political futures" markets for a number of elections now. Typically, the eventual winning candidate "future" will rise in price as we approach the election. The closer we get to the election the more accurate the prediction is.

P.S. Amy Poehler had her baby, it's a boy!

10/25/2008 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

In defense of White Americans. by Frank Rich in his NY Times Op-Ed column. It is one of the best articles I have read to date on the issues of racism in this election. He covers all the points relevant to the final outcome.

I found this remark particularly poignant, "White Americans whose distrust of black people in general crumbles when they actually get to know specific black people, including a presidential candidate who extends a genuine helping hand in a time of national crisis."

10/26/2008 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger Katharine said...

for the other obsessives, check out the website that posts the polls every day and explains them. I live in Colorado and lots of us are out canvassing and working hard but there are a lot of people who are not as energized. So if you care, I advise that you travel to a swing state near you; Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada etc and spend next weekend canvassing. The Obama website will help you out and find a place to stay if you need it. We need your help!

10/26/2008 10:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Mickey said...

Have you seen this feature that shows the 2 candidates' views on the arts?

10/27/2008 01:30:00 PM  

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