Those Ridiculous Back-To-Back Debates

Last night, when we got back from dinner, we did some channel-surfing and saw there was a Republican presidential debate.  Today, there was another one.  That’s right — two separate debates, back-to-back.

I understand that the New Hampshire primary is Tuesday, but what possible rationale is there for having two debates less than 24 hours apart?  The issues didn’t change, and the candidates certainly haven’t.  The only difference was the questioners — and the fact that the candidates could get a kind of immediate do-over, after being coached by their staffs, while the prior debate was still fresh in the minds of the handful of pathetic political junkies and reporters who watched it.

And therein lies the point.  These Republican debates are so mind-numbingly frequent that I can’t believe most people actually watch them anymore.  In fact, my guess is that most people would rather gouge out their eyeballs with a salt-encrusted wiper blade than have to watch another one.  So, the filter provided by the media becomes especially important.  If the press says that Mitt Romney “won” the debate, or that Rick Santorum made a gaffe, is any voter actually going to go back and try to watch the debate to see if the characterization is accurate?  Only the most masochistic potential voter would want to endure the inept questioning or the windy discussions or the scripted applause lines.

Overexposure is a bad thing.  People get sick of seeing you and tune you out.  Celebrities like the Kardashians have learned that, and let’s hope the Republican candidates now have learned that, too.  Go ahead and campaign, and run your ads in New Hampshire and South Carolina — but for heaven’s sake avoid any more of these silly televised “debates.”  We just can’t take any more.


Ziggy’s 65th

Happy birthday today to David Bowie.  Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, and The Thin White Duke turns 65 today.

Bowie is an interesting character for a lot of reasons and has produced a lot of memorable music.  Bowie wrote All The Young Dudes — the epic song from the legendary band Mott the Hoople — and his playlist includes classics like The Jean Genie, Space Oddity, Diamond Dogs, and Changes, among many others.  Bowie is one of those artists who seems to leap easily from genre to genre, from hard rock to pop and back again.

To me, however, the greatest of Bowie’s many musical achievements is The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which I think is one of the very best rock albums ever made.  From Five Years to the initial chords of Moonage Daydream (“I’m an alligator . . . . “) to It Ain’t Easy to the power riffs of Ziggy Stardust (“Ziggy played guitar . . . .”) to the finale of Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide (“Time takes a cigarette and puts it in your mouth . . . .”), the album is filled with stunningly good songs that are as interesting and powerful today, 40 years after they were first released, as they were back in 1972.

So Happy Birthday to you, Mr. Bowie.  You have made your mark.  And here’s a 1972 performance of Starman, another great song from the Ziggy Stardust album, that the rest of us can use to celebrate your big day.