Reading this NY Magazine article on the 2008 presidential race, I was struck by the insightfulness of the two possible reactions to the "YouTube Campaign"
offered by former Howard Dean strategist Zephyr Teachout (in italics)
The first future, the gloomy one, is one in which constant surveillance turns our politicians into plastic people, and turns creative, thoughtful people—people who are willing to think out loud—off from pursuing public office. The second future is the one in which the current plasticness becomes so unsustainable that it goes the other way—we become much more comfortable with awkward phrasing.
Unfortunately, she concludes, the gloomy future strikes her as the more likely one. It has something to do with the way the media—writ large, new and old—teaches us all to be strategists, not citizens, and to think poorly of someone as a strategist, not a person, for saying something stupid.
There is plenty to hope for, not least that the legions of Daily Show viewers who see politics as just one more charade (thanks in no small part of our friends in the Bush administration) can learn to cope with candidates as real people instead of plastic mockeries of humanity.