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  • It's 3 a.m. and someone is texting the White House . . .

    Actually it was only 2:35 a.m. and Barack Obama was texting me, and I'm nowhere near the White House, to let me know that he had picked Joe Biden as his running mate.

    Pundits have been making much of Obama's use of hip technology to get his message across and to raise money. And even though Republicans have web sites, the same pundits have been clucking over John McCain's personal reluctance to go digital.

    But several hours before Barack texted me, the New York Times told me he'd picked Biden for his V.P., so the whole texting thing was neat but anticlimactic, plus it woke me up in the middle of the night.

    The Obama organization actually sent me two texts – perhaps because they didn't want me to go back to sleep just yet, and to make sure that I really did get the message, Barack also sent me an email himself in case my texting skills were like those of Sen. McCain (I know the email's really from Sen. Obama, and not his organization, since it's signed "Barack," and since I got several more emails from him during the daylight hours; it seems he's become my new best friend).

    Text message announcing selection of Biden 

    My message alert is quiet, but this text proved a wake-up call, and the one that followed it a few minutes later was the snooze alarm

    It remains to be seen whether Joe Biden can live down plagiarizing law school papers and campaign speeches or calling his new best friend Barack "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate." And if that wasn't blatant enough, Biden added that Obama was "bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."

    As far as Biden's technological prowess goes, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the new would-be Veep is in favor of science and technology, so perhaps that's what qualified him to be on the same ticket as the clean and articulate Obama, though there doesn't seem to be anything more specific online about Biden's own use of digital technology, or his reluctance to use it. Actually Joe Biden has begun sending me emails as well -- it's so cool to be on a first-name basis with important people -- but the pundits are saying it's Biden's foreign affairs experience, not his ability to code or use smiley faces, that did the trick.

    And while McCain has called himself "computer illiterate" and he admitted to the New York Times "that he depends on his wife and staff to show him Web sites," his writers seem to be well-enough versed in the ways of the Web to crib a speech on the Russian invasion of Georgia from Wikipedia. No one really expects politicians to come up with original ideas or to acknowledge their sources (after all, they're not in school any more), but in this case pundits aren't sure whether to celebrate the McCain campaign's new-found Internet prowess or to lament that Republican strategists are relying on Wikipedia for their facts.

    Although the Democrats have a knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory (a phrase I plagiarized from Jon Stewart's "Daily Show"), it's probably best that their candidate is Obama and not Hillary Clinton, since though she's also articulate, bright and clean, and she has her own issues with unattributed borrowing, not to mention making things up about landing in Bosnia under fire, something even Wikipedia editors would have caught and corrected, she campaigned on her ability to use a land line, not a cell phone.

    And as both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama seem to have realized, if the fate of the free world hinges on who's got the fastest thumbs on the red cell phone, then John McCain, who's still on the other side of the digital divide, would be in big trouble when it's 3 a.m. and someone's texting the White House. 

    Hillary Clinton using the  

    Barack Obama didn't pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate because she campaigned on her ability to use a wired phone, which is so last century

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