Friday, January 04, 2008

Obama and me but barely me

So in 2006 when my book came out, I did a little book tour all over the country. Went to book stores, nice crowds, pleasant. The last stop on the tour was the Texas Book Festival where I was scheduled to be on a two-person panel about first-person humor writing with the brilliant David Rakoff. Our event was happening in the Texas Senate chambers. At the same time over in the Texas House chambers, there was an appearance by another author, Senator Barack Obama.

His event was packed like the Beatles at Shea Stadium. Our event was more like a Mets game at Shea Stadium in September when they're not going to the playoffs. The room was actually full but many attendees were disgruntled folks denied admission to Obama and, yeah, humorists were no substitute. The panel went really well, folks laughed, all that.

Afterwards, David and I were escorted to a tent outside where people could line up and get books signed. David had a steady trickle, I had occasional visitors. And as we sat there chatting with readers and mostly each other, there was a roar outside that got louder and louder. We looked to see what it was. Obama walking across the lawn surrounded by hordes of devotees.

"This is the exact same thing that happens when I do an event with David Sedaris," said Rakoff, ruefully.

Mrs. Clinton, I don't know how to get in touch with David Sedaris but I do have David Rakoff's email if you need someone to talk to.


Glenn Fleishman said...

I am still amazed at how much attention Iowa gets for its results -- not for its process. The process is very interesting, and this year I found out much more about the candidates because of their requirement to just meet more bloody people there than anywhere else. New Hampshire has a similar effect.

But in terms of of outcome, there's no magic. Iowa doesn't predict the winner, and past experience may have less impact this year because of the packed primary schedule. Caucuses have to do with last man standing, not whether people will actually vote for someone. Which is not to say that primaries are better. But still.

john said...

Actually in recent caucuses, Iowa's been pretty good at picking eventual nominees. Kerry in '04, Bush and Gore in '00, Dole in '96. Harkin won in '92 but he was governor of Iowa at the time.
I think the attention can be chalked up to the increased interest in the election in general (more media in the world, Bush's low approval).
I wonder also if the much greater level of participation on the part of Iowans and candidates makes a better case for overall relevancy.
I never expected Huck to kick so much ass, though.

Scott Chicken said...

So if Barak is Sedaris and Hillary is Rakoff, does that make you John Edwards? 'cause if so you've seriously got to start paying more attention to the hair...

"Post-Google" by TAR ART RAT said...

Ok, honestly, choosing between you and Obama in 2006 - tough call, I would either leave it up to a coin toss or discreetly sneak back and forth between rooms if possible.