Yesterday I went to a "calling party" run by Moveon.org. We were calling people in Virginia about the Jim Webb/George Allen senate race. Earlier this weekend, the George Allen campaign (Allen is the incumbent Republican, Webb is the Democrat [who used to be a Republican and is a Vietnam vet and bestselling author]) pulled some seriously pathetic shit. They dug through all of Webb's novels, picked out sexual passages, and tried to make it seem like he's a pervert. Who the fuck are these people?
In any case, the calling party was held in a volunteer's Manhattan duplex penthouse on 14th Street. This was one of the most stunning apartments I've seen in New York. Staggering view. He also had an entire wall full of old LPs and a huge turntable set-up for DJing. Forty people, roughly, showed up, and were sitting everywhere just calling on their cell phones. I'm pretty sure I was the youngest person there. Most of them were friendly, charming women in their fifties and sixties, and there was slightly lower but still significant attendance from the disheveled fifty-ish intellectual male contingent. Just about everyone was really nice and they ate a lot of grapes and drank soda. So we called Virginia voters nonstop for a couple hours and encouraged people to go vote for Webb in November. Now and then people would hang up on me, but a fair number of people were like, "I just hate George Allen," to which I would be like, "That's cool, just make sure you actually vote for the other guy."
I'm going to another such event today at the Moveon.org headquarters in midtown, if I can make it.
UPDATE: MoveOn.org asks bloggers to post the link or whatever to their Call for Change program. For the record, it's a good experience, it's really easy and user-friendly, and it isn't stressful.
On Friday, I saw Cocaine Cowboys, a mesmerizing documentary about the cocaine trade in Miami in the seventies and eighties. These random people just started making unimaginable amounts of money by importing tons upon tons of cocaine into south Miami when lots of people still didn't even know what the drug was. A hit man for the Columbian cartel is interviewed (as described in the link above). He's in jail for thirty murders and is suspected of many more. He talks about how his people got into a dispute with some New Yorkers, so they sent him up to New York for a day, and he killed eleven people in twenty-four hours. The thing about this guy, Rivi, is he doesn't seem scary--he has what you might call kind eyes. He really does. When a cop describes another killer as "Rivi without the class," you understand how he could say that. This Rivi person was responsible for extreme cruelty, but if you met him without knowing what he was, your instincts wouldn't tell you to be afraid.
Halloween. I told somebody not thirty-six hours ago that I never go out for Halloween or New Years parties, which was true until last night. Went to three or four, one in a beautiful, ramshackle apartment on Chrystie Street, where I met a Russian girl and was humbled by her ability to match and outdo me in a conversation about books. A guy I know from school has just returned from teaching in Korea for a year (something I might like to do) and he came with us. Teaching in Korea you get paid over $30,000, tax-free, and your housing is free. That's better than I do now. And you don't even have to speak Korean.