does anyone else think the “game” of politics has gone a little too far? i mean- come on. the democratic primary is more than a year away and already the nominees are going full speed ahead. and they aren’t even jockeying for positions on important issues or trying to gain voter support. no, it’s not time for that yet. what comes first is what will really determine who’s on the ballot in ’08- $$$.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the supposed “front-runners,” are in a mad dash to see who can get the financing from major contributors. Clinton is feeling pressure from her base givers, some see more star power in Obama.

And what about star-power? Is charisma the only thing voters look for in candidates? Obama- certainly a man with a huge future and massive potential, seems to be little more than an inexperienced senator with big dreams.

Everyone agrees that politics in Washington needs reform. Maybe this is a good place to start. Is it really necessary to spend years campaigning? (Especially when you’re a member of the Senate and you actually have a job to do…but that’s another issue.)

The whole “conversation,” which Hillary initiated and Edwards followed in the footsteps of, is a ploy to make voters think they have a real say in what issues the candidates take on. Maybe the candidates will listen- i’m no cynic. But i can’t see a correlation between raising millions to finance campaigns and caring enough to hold online “chats” with the people.

Man- oh man. If there’s anything I don’t want to hear (besides Carlotta Gall being detained, beaten and intellectually stolen from, see below) it’s that Rolling Stone magazine, already the homogenized rag that it is, is now working with MTV to produce a reality show where contestants compete for a contibuting editor position at the magazine. The 1/22 issue of The New Yorker has an interesting article by Tad Friend on the subject. He details the amatuerish subjects and questions why Rolling Stone would ever hire any of them, as if Rolling Stone ever hires anyone these days. He details the poor writing of each contestant, and shows why the best writer of them all, “Russell,” will probably not make the cut. “The process of prose composition is fairly boring to watch, and shows like this prize drama and charisma- the old high school values.”

Aha! So if I can bring “drama” and “charisma” to my daily dealings, I can make it? Yet again, an example of American popular culture telling the young that it’s not tough out there- if you’ve got the ‘tude. Work for something? Never….

As one girl, Krishtine, says, “I’m trying to, like, make myself known on the scene as Rolling Stone’s hip-hop celebrity.” What scene? Does this girl care about music criticism?  Friend concludes,  “She won’t get the job, but she couldn’t care less.”

Carlotta Gall has a detailed story about the Taliban resurgence on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan on page 1 of The Times today. The article continues on page 12 with the above title in a box. Gall explains in the first person how she and her photographer, Akhtar Soomro, were physically harmed, stolen from and detained by “plainclothesmen” who had been following them. As if that wasn’t horrifying enough, she said they learned that data had been copied from their seized computers, notebooks and phones. This is a dangerous field- journalism. I remember watching Calvin Skaggs documentary, “Democracy on Deadline: The Global Struggle for an Independent Press,” and being inspired and GRATEFUL that Gall had so much gumption. It’s clear to me how important it is that people like her exist, and can withstand 2 punches in the face, and then write about it. I can only hope that one day i’ll be able to say the same thing about myself and my fellow classmates.