Seeing It Live

George Packer's view of the convention:

Conventions are about disorientation, estrangement, and fragmentation. I’d always heard that they’re better to watch on TV. Well, it’s trueunless you come for the parties, which most people seem to do. Otherwise, the actual proceedings are a distant rumor. The press corps is seated at rows of “writing stations” up in the loge seatsreporters with heads bent over their Blackberrys, endlessly scrolling through messages, or staring at laptop screens and surfing the Web to take in the convention coverage of other news sites, some of it probably written by reporters three rows down, who are also scrolling and staring and surfing. No one is looking up at the convention floor, miles away, or listening to the drone of speeches. The speakers are nearly invisible specks at the podium, and their faces fill huge screens mounted all around the arena, so that if you watch at all, you watch on TV.

That's why I'm still (a little guiltily) on the Cape, where it's been near-perfect weather this week, as it often is at this time of year. Psst: September is the best time to come here.