Things to Fix Before the DNC: Postscript

For a year, Jeremy Markovich has sought out things to fix before the DNC. This month:














Can you believe what we saw at the Democratic National Convention? Remember when _________________ happened? Didn’t see that coming. Obama’s speech at Bank of America Stadium was _____________. A protester dressed as a ___________ was arrested for destroying a ____________. And we still can’t believe how awkward Joe Biden made us feel when he said “__________________.”


But we digress. Hosting a political convention is hard. It takes a lot of money, people, and coordination. So naturally, it’s really easy to be a jackass and make fun of it all. For months, this magazine has been looking for things to fix before the DNC. We started last November, when we wondered if somebody was going to cut down a dead tree in the atrium of an empty building uptown. It happened. But then we started wondering if things like the Harris Hole, the North Carolina Democratic Party, truncated bike lanes, and Corridors of Crap could be fixed in time.

Well, no.

Once the DNC is over, though, the next things we need to fix may be how we define these terms:

Transparency: This convention promised to be the most open convention in history. Open, it seems, is a relative term. While the host committee kept sending out press releases, reporters asked over and over again how much money the host committee had raised to pay for it all. They wouldn’t say. The problem with being transparent is that people can see right through you.

Journalism: Have an iPhone and a Twitter account? Congratulations, you’re a journalist. The practice of the craft has changed so much that it’s hard to say exactly what news will come out of this convention. Is it really breaking news when Obama accepts the nomination? Is it news when a protester does something outrageous to bring attention to his or her cause? And how do you vet thousands of tweets, Facebook posts, emails, and phone calls that all say the same thing: This happened. This is important. You need to cover this. Everyone at the DNC will have an agenda. Flocks of reporters will crank out hours of video and thousands of words. What we won’t know until afterward is how much of it is journalism, and how much is simply amplification.

Charlotte: For the first time, we won’t be what we say we are, we’ll be what they say we are. Charlotte has been crafting its image for years as a sort of perfect Stepford city, blissful and harmonious. We hope everybody will look at us and see an oversize Lake Wobegon, where all the economic indicators are strong, all the buildings are good looking, and all the neighborhoods are above average. But at some point, somebody is going to see Charlotte without her makeup on. Do we proudly say, “This is who we are, blemishes and all,” or will we dive into the nearest bathroom to apply concealer?

Did this convention transform us? Are we somehow better today than we were yesterday? Was it worth it? It doesn’t matter what we think. It matters what you think. And of course, the answer is ______.



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