Bless This Mess

(See Adam Cayton-Holland's "DNC Orientation Video" at Demver, Westword's DNC blog.)

What is it about a completely and utterly media-saturated event that makes me want to turn my pen away from my reporter's notepad and violently stab it into my eyeball? It could be that since I am allegedly a member of the press, such press-driven occurrences ratchet up my self-loathing to dangerous levels. But it could also be that with one swift act of penance, I would completely change the course of the day. I don't know if you've ever been around an eye injury, but they bleed, Holmes, and I figure if I got my Bic even half an inch into my cornea, the sheer amount of blood geysering out of my skull would certainly derail whatever supposedly newsworthy proceedings were transpiring. And if the blood wasn't enough, then my hysterical shrieking would constitute a curveball since, when faced with a serious injury, I am anything but graceful. In fact, I'm borderline hysterical. Cowardly as a ballerina, and hysterical. Chickenshit ballerinas.

Besides the possibility of pain, I'm also made reluctant to spear my retina by the sight of the inevitable flock of fresh-faced twenty-somethings at whatever idiotic press event is taking place; they will be giggling with each other and thinking about margaritas at the Rio later as their reward for having done a week or so's worth of labor in between calling Daddy to complain about their boring internship and IM-ing each other in the office. Typically they are clad in lime green or pink, depending on the season.

Friday, July 25, officially marked one month out from the Democratic National Convention, and things are officially starting to get weird. How weird? Um, how about a bunch of Ute Indians blessing the Pepsi Center weird?

I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something very disconcerting about watching two Utes — one from the Ute Mountain Ute tribe, in a traditional headdress, the other from the Southern Ute Indian tribe — walking around the beige stucco of a goddamn sports arena, wafting incense with bald-eagle feathers so as to consecrate the place and bless it. Here one blesses Altitude Authentics, where you can pick up a jersey of your favorite woman-hitting basketball star. There one blesses Will Call, where you can leave tix for Bonnie, who's gonna be a little late from sucking down chablis at Tamayo. The whole thing seemed awkward and a little hollow, like when some over-medicated mother makes her child perform at a dinner party despite the child's numerous protestations, and when the kid finally does perform, everyone just kind of shrugs and tries not to make eye contact and goes back to scooping up hummus with carrot sticks. Sometimes celery.

It also didn't help that one of the speakers talked of people gathering here from the four different directions, while above his head, four different banners flapping in the breeze read Denver Post, Coors, Qwest and Conoco.

I have twice witnessed traditional Native American dances — once in southwestern Colorado, once in Taos — and after watching those dances, I couldn't help wonder what those Native Americans were saying to each other backstage. I doubt it was this: You know, those white people appreciated that dance so much, I think I'm going to forgive them for taking fucking everything that we had!

Still, one of Friday's speakers, a member of the Kiowa tribe, said that "this party has always stood with us, we must now stand with them," and I suppose that for a Native American steeped in tradition, there are far worse causes one could support than the Democratic Party — the Republican Party being the most immediate example that comes to mind, shaking babies being the second. But for me, the entire experience marked not so much the blessing of a corporate monolith in the middle of a sea of concrete as it did one of many surreal, "newsworthy" events that we will all be told are important as the clock ticks down to the Democratic National Convention.

And I promise to attend as many as possible to sift through all the bullshit for you. And to hit on those twenty-something interns.

 
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