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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008
Dreams of Invesco

I got to watch Obama's speech tonight at the gym, which besides seeing 3 different telecasts of the event on 3 different, meant no sound. That meant I couldn't hear the great man, but I could gather some visual impressions:

1) What ever you want to say about the set design with the columns and all, at least it didn't come off as looking like Stonehenge on Spinal Tap. Take a look at a wide-angle shot from a few days ago and you see the stage being lost in the vastness of this stadium. However show that same stage on TV with the stadium with filled with 85,000 people and it looks just fine.

2) I wasn't creeped out by the columns but rather by the video screens on either side of the stage. For some reason my attention was always drawn to one of the telecasts when these screens would show Obama's head in profile, making him look disembodied and superhuman. The effect was probably worst to those in front of the stage.

3) It was quite a spectacle. I agreed with one commentator who said Obama was the only politican he knew who could have pulled it off, filling a stadium with 85,000 people. Think about it, witht he security and all it was an all-day commitment to get into the stadium to listen to a politician speak. On top of that, I heard they cut the beer sales off after Al Gore.

The big impression was this...

I just watched, in the first decade of the 21st Century, a nominee give his convention satdium in a large open-air stadium. I believe Obama was the first since Kennedy, which meant it was before the real impact of TV on presidential elections (think Kennedy-Nixon debates.) In this day and age, there is no reason to use such a venue since you reach far more people over TV.

Unless it's to beam the visuals generated by the mass crowd back to the TV viewing audience. Don't get me wrong, it was a political convention- part party, part jamboree, part campaign kick-off. Having a big ole pep rally for the party faithful never hurts and if you can fill satdium as oppsoed to an arena so much the better. However the real audience for this event was us, nobody in their right mind would compromise for an instant the TV audience for the sake of a mass rally. We were supposed to feel the excitement the man created, to see the people he drew, and get sucked into the magic and those 85,000 people were to help Obama make it all happen.

I find it all, to use that word again, creepy.