Culture Rover

#192 - Running To Stand Still

The New York Times reports that the Iowa Democratic Party caucuses may prove to be a bust for the top three candidates. Clinton, Obama, and Edwards are running dead even. No clear winner will emerge despite the outrageous expenditure of resources and attention. With the rise of Huckabee, a similar story may be unfolding among the Republicans.

It's yet another hanging chad moment, an example of how politics and culture in the first decade of the twenty-first century seem defined by the frustrations of the dead heat, of the inclusive finale.

Beginning politically with the 2000 election (admittedly, a dead heat largely through deceit and fraud), and also manifesting itself in bizarre cultural moments such as the 2002 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which ended in a tie, and the conclusion the Sopranos, which was no conclusion at all, there has been a pattern of indecisive outcomes.

Instead, it is as if the 1990s politics and culture of the center has discovered a hole at the center of its Bill Clinton donut. There is a vortex of indecision haunting the land.

The main thing anyone has been able to figure out in the last seven years is that we are in a space of indeterminacy, where the margin of error overwhelms the plotline, where the participant feels an intense calling to participate to somehow make a difference and a continual suspicion that this participation might ultimately make no difference at all.

The feeling is: We tread, not lightly, not at liberty, bogged down in a freefall.

31 December 2007

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