Maybe you remember Chris Lydon from his days as the wise voice of the Connection on NPR. He’s an excellent interviewer and an entertaining prose stylist, but he’s also enough of a curmudgeon to get himself tossed out of his Connection job at WBUR. It’s too bad, because he’s still doing great stuff, but I don’t know how many people notice. As far as I can tell, one of the principal outlets for his journalism (in addition to his MP3 interviews) is his blog over at the Harvard Law School. I think he got the blog religion from Dave Winer some time back. He may well be regarded some day as one of the vanguard of the new wave of journalism, but I imagine it gets a little lonely on the frontier…
Anyway, I enjoyed his dissection of the Republican National Convention. His words about the building of a Roman-style American Empire both amused and disturbed. Is Bush, as Susan Sontag says, the Augustus to Clinton’s Julius Caesar? Here’s what Chris Lydon has to say about it.
There’s more than a whiff of Caesarism in mid-town this week, and a lot of the convention Republicans are high on it. You catch some of it on TV: the rigid scripting, the air of reverence around Bushes young and old, the endless strumming of war themes, the laugh-out-loud foolishness of the rhetorical over-reaching–First Lady Laura Bush’s remark, for example, that her husband had liberated 50-million people around the world… that the happy schoolgirls of Afghanistan are now safely back at their desks.
Being the world’s only superpower sounded like such a good gig at the time.