According to Nielsen, none of you are watching the conventions.  An even lower none than in 2004, which was itself a dramatic decline from the lackluster ratings of 2000.  And why would you?  You could replace all the speeches with the following template:

Blather, blather, blather, American dream, blather, blather, hard working American families, blather, blather, future, blather, blather, anecdote about how the candidate comes from a hardworking American family, blather, blather, national service, blather, American dream, blather, blather, blather, community, blather, God, blather, education, blather blather blather blather environment, blather, God again, blather blather blather blather blather blather sea to shining sea, the end.  God Bless America!

I doubt anyone would notice, even if the candidates actually said the word "blather" ninety times.  Not for nothing did PJ O'Rourke dub these things "an oleo high-colonic".  The most interesting commentary I've heard so far has come via Twitter, and involves the relative quality of the hors d'oeuvres at the various media cocktail parties. 

Perhaps the most annoying feature is that you can't escape it--even if you don't watch the Potemkin Pep-Rallies themselves, you can't turn on the morning news without seeing some minor democratic functionary ponderously repeating whatever canned line they've developed for their 11:30 am 10 minute convention speech, which will be delivered to a rapt audience of television grips and their mother.   This morning it was someone I've never heard of rambling about Enron Energy Economics or some similarly sonorous nonsense syllables, which were repeated at least twenty times during a half-hour commentator spot.  Next week it will undoubtedly be the Assistant Comptroller of Phoenix complaining about Obama Peddling Ponzi Prosperity.

Sadly, I can't avoid watching them; it's my job.  But the rest of you--save yourselves!  Don't worry about me--I've got a .45 and a bottle of whiskey right here by my side for when it gets to be too much.  Meanwhile, my beloved Dr. Boli has a few suggestions for alternaprogramming:


Dumont Network: Takedown Notice (crime drama). A fast-paced new drama focusing on the heroic self-appointed enforcers of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Tonight: In the pilot episode, Dirk and Moira go after a gang of church mothers whose "entertainment" for their youth group consists of commercial DVDs not licensed for public exhibition.

Northern Broadcasting System: Stones of the City (crime drama). This latest entry in the vampire-building-inspector genre follows the adventures of Sam Ionescu, inspector for the city of Washington (Penna.). Tonight: New tenants complain that the walls of their 18th-century farmhouse are oozing blood. Has Sam found his dream house?

Metromedia: Al 'n' Me (comedy). The wacky adventures of best buddies Alexander and Hephaestion as they look for new worlds to conquer. Tonight: Stuck in the two-bit burgh of Gordium, Al and Hephaestion really need an ox-cart to impress the chicks - but the only one available is all tied up with an impossible knot.

Golf Network: The Golf Show (golf). Tonight: Badminton.


We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.