The Sporadic Beaver

The Mindless Nattering of Pundits and Pollsters

November 6, 2012

Tags: Hurricane Sandy, election day

The electoral map at “Democracy Plaza,” New York City.
It's election day--or "erection day" as John Lennon preferred to call it--and as the island of Manhattan continues its incremental crawl back to total normalcy from Sandy and its aftermath (and other parts of the greater metropolitan area struggle with epochal devastation) I can now look back on the darkest days of the hurricane and be thankful for the many blessings that a lack of electricity had bestowed upon me. The street was quiet. The phone was not constantly ringing with computers trying to sell me things. But first and foremost, for the 104 hours that I was without power, I didn't have to listen to the mindless nattering of pundits and pollsters.

Picture the Maiscott-Rosen household on any night of the blackout: In a candle-lit living room, with the cat curled up between us, Mary Lyn sat next to me on the couch reading Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye by flashlight as I listened to hurricane reports on our one working portable radio, a Sony Walkman that we hadn’t used in years. Kind of a combination of 19th century, pre-TV 20th century, and pre-iPod 21st century.

I can’t say those candle-lit nights were exactly fun, but this morning, as I was eating breakfast and listening to MSNBC, I felt a twinge of nostalgia for the good old days of last week. Broadcasting from so called “Democracy Plaza”—a name that brings to mind a central square in a totalitarian country—the usual suspects were jabbering about the polls and the electoral map imprinted on the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink. If I heard correctly, a “journalist” is going to skate around, coloring each state red or blue as the results are announced, and a scoreboard-type contraption on the side of the GE building is going to count off the electoral votes until somebody gets the 270 needed to win.

A wave of revulsion practically ruined my breakfast as I realized that a major television network had turned an election with so much riding on it into a moronic game show. Which goes a long way towards explaining why I often find MSNBC only marginally less depressing than Fox News, and why 42 percent of eligible voters in the U.S. don’t vote.

I’ve heard reports that lines at New York City polling places are long and chaotic. But I refuse to be deterred.