Top, L to R: Arianna Huffington, Trey Ellis, Erica Jong; Bottom, L to R: Nora Ephron, Craig Newmark, Paul Rieckhoff
“What do we do about the snarkiness of the press” asked novelist and Huffington Post blogger Erica Jong during last night’s panel discussion about the political year ahead at the 92nd Street Y, only to follow up that question with, “I did enjoy seeing Cheney in a wheelchair”.
Undoubtedly the least informed figure on a panel including Huffington post co-founder and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington and guest Huffers Nora Ephron, Craig Newmark, Trey Ellis, and Paul Rieckhoff, the writer was also brashly declared no images had great political influence on the election. “It was the economic crisis” she told me during the question period, without realizing I had not asked her to compare the effect of actual events to that of media assets. (In her defense however she did eventually cite Tina Fey.)
Perhaps not surprisingly, no one cited photographs, instead naming viral videos and footage of important speeches. I suppose in this electoral cycle those choices seem more or less appropriate, though I would have liked to have seen a little more reflection on the part of the panel about what constituted their success (even if the question was ignoring the forward focus of the discussion). For interest, I’ve posted speaker responses to my query below along with additional commentary worth noting during the event.
A More Perfect Union. Ariana Huffington described the relationship between its exceptional length and viewers as significant. She also noted a turn in Obama’s campaign from that point on.
Will.i.am. A viral video cited by Trey Ellis. Coincidentally, Ellis also cited the rise of the black nerd as an important product of Obama’s presidency (black kid’s won’t be teased for acting “white” in school), and described this moment as “a great time to be a skinny middle aged black man.” The writer greatly approves of Obama’s white banquet bow tie.
Sarah Palin CBS. Executive director and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Paul Rieckhoff offered up viral video in general, though his most valuable contribution to the discussion came in the form of a prediction. Describing a community he saw as more self regulating, the director cited his experience locked outside the Mall in Washington DC, whereby a crowd member began to climb the fence, and many in throng stopped him saying, “You’re going to ruin this [experience] for everyone.”
The final and most astute observation of the evening came from Ariana Huffington, who explained that while people may have less money, they’ll also have a lot more time, so how people use it will be very important. I immediately wondered how valuable time was if it was something everybody had,1, though I guess that and many other questions will be answered over the next year.
- the rules supply and demand applied to time [↩]