I had gotten myself all geared up for an all-nighter of watching the results from various electoral races roll in. I had even made sure that my little fireplace had plenty of logs ready to stoke the fire. It was going to be momentous. It was going to be game-changing. But then, after listening to NPR’s sober coverage till early evening, I turned to the television to catch how CNN was covering the races. That’s when I got that funny feeling in my stomach. The studio looked like a classful of kindergarteners had been told to get busy with colour (see image, courtesy of CNN). Added to that was a plethora of technology bombarding my senses. There was Ali Velshi bashing my eyeballs with his iPad generated statistics, and trying to make the big wall screen seem like the tablet screen, but not always with success. It was a real kaleidoscope. Maybe it was HD that made the colours richer but they were garish.
I then stayed to watch the various panels discuss the incoming results. I have to admit that it all started to seem more like an NFL game as pundits squared off against each other and gave their analyses of the incoming results. In fact, there were two adjacent studios working, each with about enough political punditry to field two good basketball teams. Their ‘coaches’ wanted to get the best out of them. I was thinking that this was more like sport. Was one set offence, the other defence, or were they both special teams? Punt it. Catch it. Run with it. Block. Charge. First termers were out: pity if you had not made your mark yet. Old timers were out: veterans with experience will be looking to open new businesses. Rookies, with their new faces, would be looking for help to find their way around Capitol Hill and DC. It reminded me of the Monday Night Football game that I had followed the evening before, and there was a moment that was almost parallel. During the NFL game, John Gruden (one time NFL coach, who looks too boy-like to have been such a figure) asked why his fellow commentators were doing so much talk about teams who were losing (1-6 and 2-5 teams). During the election coverage, James Carvell started laughing and had to say “I’m a politics guy, not a government guy…” as he asked why there was so much talk about what the new elected officials would do as part of government, when all there was to go on was mainly exit polls. His ‘coach’, Anderson Cooper, did not realise that his white hair was blanching.
As the coverage went on, I felt I needed to see the on-screen graphics that showed the advance of each team. There was almost everything else on the screen: election results; pundits’ details; news feed. Too much. My mind wandered. Democrats are making a goal line stand. Republicans throw for the end zone. Touch down! Boehner wins. Whitman loses: $140 million price tag and now on waivers. Maybe I was just tired and that’s how your brain deals with overload of information. I gave up. I doused the fire and went to bed. I would get the results in good old black and white and gently written in the morning.