So I just got through watching my first ever debate among candidates for Prime Minister. After years of American debates, I noticed quite a few differences.
1. The candidates had books in front of them. They looked stuff up. They read. I’m sure it was mostly stuff for staying on message, but this was actually the most striking feature for me. One of the important implications is that they all know how to read. Better than the U.S. already.
2. The questions were pretty good and sometimes a bit confrontational.
3. None of the candidates is particularly charismatic or telegenic, despite John Doyle’s declaration that Steven Harper best understands TV. Despite the NDP’s left policies, Jack Layton is a-n-n-o-y-i-n-g.
4. I found myself agreeing with different parties at different times.
5. The liberal and conservative leaders started out the debate ignoring the NDP and the Bloc, but by the end, they were forced to engage.
When I’m more awake, I’d like to blog about how people discuss the 3rd and 4th parties here, which is interestingly different from the discourse around Nader (or Perot, for that matter) in the U.S.
In other news:
–a reprint of my Sounds Like the Mall of America essay just appeared in Jennifer Post, ed., Ethnomusicology: A Contemporary Reader (New York: routledge 2005).
–I’ve complained in this space about finding time to keep up on my reading of “finished” prose — ie published books and articles. Since school has started again, I’m getting in bed a little earlier and reading academic books. It sounds odd, but it’s really nice. My head is clear, I know I don’t have to do anything else, and I’m able to plow through lots of prose. Granted, I don’t plan to tackle the new translation of Being and Time while under the covers and enjoying some music, but for most books, it seems to work and I’m working through stuff at a faster clip. I’m dogearing pages and sections I like so I can go back to them, and I’m going to keep a small pad of paper by the bed. Plus, I’m tiring of my magazines. At least at bedtime.
Book of the moment: Mark Katz, Capturing Sound. It’s telescopic, but in a good way. I particularly like the chapter on violin vibrato, which is what I imagine everyone says. Recently digested: Aden Evans Sound Ideas and Cary Nelson and Stephen Watt Office Hours. Next up: Kamberelis and Dimitriadis On Qualitative Inquiry. I’m going to make a dent in that shelf.
Belated Props: I love the last two paragraphs of Darin Barney’s review of The Dance of Molecules