King Kong Will Carry Cuyahoga!
If you think projecting "estimated" election results is fishy ...
Prolific but low-selling singer-songwriter Ryan Adams is really carrying his modest, aw-shucks routine too far. Here he responds to the suggestion that he should spend more time on each album:
"No, because this story's about me, and it's not about you. It's not about the listener; it's about me. It's like a book. If a book's moving too ... fast for you and it's too many words, put down the book and go pick up a book of the week from the Oprah club.
"You want to read a real book and, like, want to be involved in a real process, this is my process. I'm not going to change my story. People can come to my story when they want. But I'll ... make as many records as I want ... 'cause that's what I'm into.... I'm the best. No one else is going to work at this pace again for a long time with these results. ... " [Emph. added]
Hey, cool. All right then. ... 11:50 P.M.
Easiest prediction of the year: They won't be able to make enough of this thing. 8:19 P.M.
So that's what he's been doing: One reason the warrantless eavesdropping controversy may help, rather than hurt, Bush in the polls has more to do with the character of his administration than popular support for eavesdropping. In particular, Bush's tendency to hide behind a carapace of formal, not-completely-apposite justifications (e.g. "we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror") leads voters to ask what is really going on behind the facade. The Katrina botch suggested not much--maybe Bush, as the left-wing caricatures always suggested, really was out to lunch, playing computer golf in the Oval Office while various Michael Brownian cronies held meetings to plan their wardrobes. That's why, if the Bushies have really had the energy to secretly do all sorts of illegal spying against terrorists, it's almost reassuring. At least they've been on the case, doing their job as they see it. The more thorough and secret the eavesdropping, the more reassuring on this score. ... 1:05 P.M. link
King Kong Will Carry Cuyahoga! Movie box office sales are now so eagerly watched and rapidly disseminated that they are reported before they actually occur. BoxOfficeMojo says (as highlighted on Drudge) that King Kong has regained first place by doing more than $10M of business on Monday, 12/26 which--unless I'm misreading the calendar--hasn't happened yet. ... I know the number is identified as an "estimate." But if you're going to "estimate," why stop at tonight? Give us tomorrow too, and the next six months! I thought the idea was that nobody could really predict which movie will catch and retain the fancy of people looking for something to do on any given evening. Isn't the appeal of sites like BoxOfficeMojo that they purport to give us the actual answers, the equivalent of election returns--not projections? The sites or (more likely) the studios are now blurring the line between what's happened and what's expected to happen, when the point is to see whether what's expected to happen actually happens! ... P.S.: And do you really trust the studio that made King Kong to accurately report that its movie will beat Narnia tonight? Isn't that like trusting John Kerry's prediction that he'll win Ohio? What if previously unknown pockets of semi-religious, exurban children suddenly demand to see a Christian allegory! ... 12:28 P.M. link
Books have long lead times (Exhibit A):
"[W]hich of your safe white men are going to excite the base the way Hillary does, so they can spend all their time in the middle? I'll answer: None."--Susan Estrich, "The Case for Hillary Clinton," as quoted in the N.Y. T. Book Review.
Photograph of Judith Miller on the Slate home page by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.