BOOK REVIEW: “Activism, Inc.” and the sin of ideals procrastinated

There’s never a good time to tell people about how their sausages are made, but Dana R. Fisher’s “Activism, Inc.” came out at just about the worst time possible for its message to be heard.

Part research, part hunchy anecdote, this short work is largely a post-mortem on the failures of paid, third-party canvassing operations, especially as connected to the Democratic Party and progressive Left that used them during the 2004 Presidential Election between John Kerry and George W. Bush.

Democrats relied on paid—but still highly intrinsically motivated—mostly young canvassers working out of temporary offices around the country to mobilize voters quickly. Meanwhile, Republicans tapped more permanent civic institutions for mobilizations, such as white evangelical churches.

For Democrats, Fisher concludes, “very few enduring connections remain at the local level after campaigns are concluded that can be used in the next campaign cycle”. Unlike volunteers, people who rely on wages to do election work can’t be expected to show up when the money isn’t there.

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Pixar really is the best there is at what they do

On Friday, the latest 3D-animated Pixar film “Up” came out, and I was in the audience to see it. Of course I was.

Now, I love words. Well, I love lots of things, but I’m a writer and I love words in particular. As a copy editor, I’m virtually awash in them, although it’s less easy to love them around deadline. And even if I don’t read books or literature as much as I should, I appreciate them and their place in the world immensely.

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