Did you know government could spend millions on research into rare diseases? Billions funding all college tuition? Trillions on who knows what? Well, it could, in theory.
In a way, the most revealing thing about this book may be that two — count them, two — Democratic members of Congress (one recently deceased) took the time to contribute glowing cover blurbs to it. Think about that. Madrick, to his credit, is explicit about arguing for making government more immense, and two senators take the time to praise him for it. How generous and literary of them to take time to point out the merit in an argument for giving them more power. (Do I need to stress again which party they came from, rotten though both major parties are?)
I have jury duty starting tomorrow, which is a reminder in itself that we are slaves at the beck and call of government, but there is one way in which I’ve found jury duty in New York City to be an affirmation of the wisdom of one’s fellow citizens: not by bringing people together to dispense justice and all that, but by revealing that even if people start out their stint in the potential-juror waiting room sounding like dutiful children of FDR and patiently listening to instructions, by about day three they all start sounding like cranky anarcho-capitalists, wondering when they can get the hell out of there and get back to work, muttering things like “This is ridiculous.” Right on.
Speaking of FDR, he at least understood how to make effective use of the power of the broadcast — which makes him a better entertainer, in some sense, than the band Broadcast, whose stage show turns out to be painfully noisy and unmelodic in a 1968 experimental synthesizer way, as I learned last night — much as I still love those studio recordings of theirs that sound like real songs, such as “Papercuts.”
But if you want more FDR-era broadcasting magic — without endorsing big government — you should know that the group Friends of Old Time Radio has announced a performance by the Gotham Radio Players, taking place at FoOTR’s convention this Saturday, October 24 — an episode of The Saint (which inspired the later secret agent TV series), live onstage at the Holiday Inn North, 160 Frontage Road in Newark, NJ, from 11:45am to 12:30pm. Gotham Radio Players director Steven M. Lewis (who may still need a job) will deploy special guest star Simon Jones of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy ($25 at the door and easily reached via shuttle from Newark Airport — the radio convention, I mean, not the galaxy).
For a more recent radio show with old-timey influences, note too the Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd.
Finally, do read the new blog SeanReadstheNews from Sean Dougherty, who says “it attempts to both review the best and worst of daily business journalism as well as provide tips on media relations strategy from a PR perspective.” And Sean’s not only a PR professional but a member of Friends of Old Time Radio — and a libertarian, so you just might catch him in person tonight at the monthly social/political bar gathering I host, Manhattan Project (6:30 at Merchants NY East bar/restaurant, 62nd and First, back of the second floor), or at one of our future gatherings (not to be confused with the separate Debates at Lolita Bar — for which, by contrast, I desperately need a socialist to defend Che, Castro, and Chavez on Nov. 4, so e-mail me if you have/are someone in the NYC area who’d do so).