Thursday, August 21, 2008

If the West was Won

About two and half years ago, I wrote an off the cuff rant titled "Is Boulder the Future of America?" The basic premise was that if the Democrats were to retake the White House, then they would have to win in Colorado which, I suggested, was ripe for the picking and more important than a "southern strategy."

I wrote:
There's much talk about a 50-state strategy, which totally makes sense to me, but anyone who pays attention to these things knows that states like Colorado and Montana have recently started electing more progressive state legislatures, and the Governorships out West are now dominated by Democrats.

Boulder is the "new-money" financial and intellectual capitol of this Rocky Mountain region, and when you throw techno-entrepreneurialism into the mix and think about where creative ideas for functional uses of emerging technologies will come to fruition, especially for the good of progressive causes, Boulder stands out.

Of course, there are many other outposts in the Rocky Mountain region, and the nation as whole, where advanced developments in political techno-entrepreneurialism will advance the cause of the progressive agenda. But my theory holds that in and around Boulder is where this "idea capital" mixes with real dollar capital like never before, and that the positive effects of this politico-techno-entrepreneurial capital are starting to show here in Colorado country.
Since that post, both houses of Congress have switched to Democratic control (including new Senators and representatives from Colorado) and Thomas Shaller has published the book "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South " that makes a more elaborate argument for a Western strategy.

Then there's the fact that the Democrats have a "change" candidate in Obama and the convention is in Denver. The fierce independence of Rocky Mountain voters and the shifting demographics suggest Colorado could be the tipping point this year:
But politics is not all wedge issues and brand-specific sloganeering. At some point, parties have to govern. And what nearly two-out-of-every-three Americans concluded in the last four years -– based on disapproval ratings -– was that Republicans could not govern at a national level.

They lost a city, in New Orleans, a budget surplus by pandering to lobbyist-greased congressional leaders, and world standing by waging a war that may end up as the most costly and longest in our history.

Their moral strutting proved as thin as the claim to fiscal responsibility. Down the road, in Colorado Springs, a minister who bragged that he had the White House on speed dial was brought down by a male prostitute and meth.

Western Democrats, so long in the desert, have reinvented themselves. What people will see on television early next week will be feisty, independent-minded governors from Montana, Arizona and Colorado, and a Latino senator, Ken Salazar, who can wear a cowboy hat without looking like John Kerry in camouflage.

In 2004, Republicans had a 175,000-person advantage in party identification among registered voters in Colorado. That’s been cut in half. And this year, among new voters, the tide is blue, with 69,000 registering as Democrats against only 42,000 as Republicans.
Even Rove concedes the tide is changing out West.

Things are heating up out here in Mile High Country.

The festivities of the DNC start with this performance art event in Denver on Sunday.

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Monday, August 18, 2008


Some would say that in our Web 2.0 World
the basic measure of a unit of thought
would be something like a tweet
sent by those all a-twitter over the precise
(under 140 characters)
Oulipian constraint of the trendy format
or that the basic unit of SMS poetic measure
no longer has anything to do with thought per se
but with how much information you can
selectively filter into your "reader"
at any given time

but already there are artists playing
with the potential of tweet poetics
and in the sphere of worldwide blogging
there is what some would call RSS Poetics:
In generative digital literature, it is said that the work has the last word because the author and the reader are suddenly in the same position. The work is realized only in the instant that it materializes. But in this culture of feeds and streams, it is not the author that has the last word as in the classical model nor the work that has the last word as in the postmodern model of generative production. It is the reader who has the last word, because the work – after it is released from the control of the author and dissolved into a model of generative distribution – lands with the reader and accumulates there in a completely individualized shape. Not only is the final outcome individualized by becoming attached to the reader as s/he experiences the work, but the work becomes individualized as it blends with and is absorbed into the stream of information that is already coming to the reader. This is why it gets beyond the “work” – the work itself dissolves into experience. It is not only about remixing the world or the work, but remixing the world into the work, and the work into the world. The work enters a form so highly standardised it can travel anywhere, into and out of any other model. It is not only XML, it is WOAML, work of art markup language, art markup language, art, language. It is the moment when art dissolves into experience, when art and life finally merge: the work meets the totality of the world and finds it can go anywhere.
Is this indicative of a reverse-writerly theory that turns Barthes on his head or is it more like a theory-play where remixology meets pleasure of the text?

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