Damn. The debate was just fun. I’m fascinated to see how the pundits are calling it, and what I’ve learned is this: Most so-called newsbloggers do not have the cultural understanding to read this thing. The woman at the NY Times (Kit Seelye) was fab, but the girlies at CNN and USAToday.com are a fucking embarrassment; the blogger over at MSNBC appears to have been watching another channel entirely, and no one but serious bloggers such as Andrew Sullivan (on the right) and Joshua Mitchell (on the left) seem to pick up on what caught my attention, which was this:

John Edwards did something huge for that undecided soccer-mom vote everyone’s so hot for. He made Cheney step off. Cheney was in patented attack-dog mode until Edwards turned around that gay-marriage question. After that, the body langauge changed, the tone changed, everything was different, and Edwards controlled the tone. Most significantly, a Nebraska boy like Cheney got what had just happened. By the end, he was dealing with that subtext — admitting, for instance, that the country’s current polarization was a failing of the current regime, and comparing himself to Edwards (“I see now we have a surprising amount in common”). The girlies were into the mascara by then and I assume MSNBC’s guy was annotating the Yankees during that segment — just another day in the life of the narrowly educated, upper-middle-class, vaguely-squicked-by-synthesis American media — but regular Americans caught it, and it means something to them.

Miserable, budget-fussing, mission-statement-writing-only-my-only-mission-is-to-get-through-the-weeks-without-collapsing few days here lately, but I did find this wonderful sentence to cheer me, courtesy of Ruth Franklin and the 4 October New Yorker: “Becuase of an ambiguous comma in a document Greene signed on his deathbed, other scholars were forbidden to quote from unpublished material until Sherry’s project was complete.” And I’m worried about overlooking one conference or one mission-statement nuance? One comma will screw you. I can’t win. I’m going for coffee.