Monday, April 19, 2004

"Yes, Virginia, there really is a vast, right-wing media conspiracy"

So spake Paul Krugman in 111 Carroll Hall at UNC this evening. I got there at 7:15 for a 7:30 talk and the 350-seat auditorium was already filled beyond capacity. They sent pretty much everyone that came in after me over to Gardner where they supposedly had audio and video piped in. After a 10 minute introduction, Krugman spoke for about 35 minutes and answered questions for another 45. I was surprised at the lack of organized heckling by the campus Young Nazis Republicans - the crowd was pretty uniformly anti-Bush. If you've read Krugman's columns, you wouldn't have heard anything that surprised you - in some ways it was just good to realize that there a bunch of other people out there (hopefully enough) that understand that the present administration is a bunch of lying asshats. The funniest thing for me was probably afterwards when driving home - I remembered that "The Majority Report" was premiering on WCHL and tuned in to hear Janeane Garofalo, during a piece on the dangers of black box voting, refer to the US as a "banana republic" due to the feeling that we needed voting monitors (let's call in Jimmy Carter!). That was the SECOND time tonight that I'd heard that, as Krugman, in describing the current administration's budget, made the same "banana republic" comment. The fact that neither of them used the term in reference to the RNC campaign slogans now found at the bottom of every Treasury department memo or the fact that the Preznit was never really freaking elected, just adds credence to the charge. Krugman remarked on the real difference in public attitude toward the current administration from what it was a year ago, when he finished the introduction to his book, to now - let's hope that it's enough to effect change.

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