"Please Refrain From Tasting the Knob."

  • 9/27/2008 05:53:00 pm
  • By Mark Gibbings-Jones

The First Presidential Debate is currently on CNN. For people who don't want to bother listening to the words being said by the candidates, then use their own minds to decide who is 'winning' the debate, there's a helpful little real-time graph. A little graph saying how much the audience likes what is happening IN THAT EXACT SECOND. We are not making this up. It is precisely like that bit in the Poochy episode of The Simpsons.

What blistering insights do these three coloured lines reveal to us?

When John McCain is speaking, Democrats are unhappy, Republicans are happy.

When Barack Obama is talking, the Republicans are displeased, but the Democrats perk right up.

The independents aren't really that bothered unless they're talking about killing Osama Bin Laden.

Everyone gets a boner when they start talking about Iraq or praises the troops. Or maybe they've just realised they don't have to listen to John Kerry this time.

Somehow, it's quite mesmerising, and never mind the fact we can see pretty much the same thing by opening up Task Manager on our PC, then loading and closing programs at will. There's a little frisson of excitement when Republican supporters realise that for the first time this century they've got a candidate who can pronounce 'nuclear' properly. They keep the red bar flying high when Obama starts talking about the troops, possibly in the forlorn hope that his mask will slip and he'll accidentally call them infidels, only for their interest to wane as soon as he praises their hard work. Similarly, the blue bar heads south as the Dems realise McCain isn't going to be calling anyone a 'whippersnapper' tonight.

Mainly, we can't keep our gaze away from it, just in case a tirade of four-letter expletives spilling from the mouth of one of the candidates sends it wiggling all over the place like an Etch-a-sketch on a rollercoaster. Could the favour of the independent voters be bought by mentioning either breasts or willies? Maybe it's beer or guns they're waiting for? Mentioning the prospect of Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama having a catfight on the White House lawn?

Of course not. If you were to make such a hypothesis you'd be no better than a seriously out of its depth television blog trying to write about American politics for the first time, in a run up to their live coverage of the "US Election 2008 Election Night Special... Live", which would just be stupid.

But all that's for another day. For now, thank you CNN. Thank you for keeping graphs from being dull.

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