After two days of speechifying, I confess that my attention is starting to wander. As the last few speakers have come striding up to the podium — always waving or pointing at someone, incidentally — I’ve found myself thinking about the podium itself.
What’s with the podium, anyway? For one thing, it looks like the generic podium you might find at some bland ballroom at the conference facility on the outskirts of Anytown, U.S.A. You feel like Democratic National Convention organizers had to pry off a cheap plastic “Knightsbridge Conference Facility” sign that used to be bolted to the front of the podium. Who’s responsible for returning the podium so that the next motivational speaker coming to the local airport “convention facility” has a place to put his notecards?
And then there’s the design. I’m no architect or interior decorator, but the podium looks like an awkward combination of the prow of a clipper ship, an art deco facade, and one of the decorations in the Emerald City. You kind of expect to find one of the Wizard of Oz’s guards to be lounging behind there, checking IDs.
Finally, the podium is massive. What’s behind that ponderous edifice, anyway? One of the recent speakers apparently found a bottled water back there. The podium looks big enough to accommodate a Frigidaire — or maybe even a Sub-Zero.
Or perhaps the podium was designed to serve as a kind of ready-made shield, in case delegates rioted and started hurling placards or silly hats after hearing one speech too many. On second thought, that podium might make sense after all.