Baratunde Thurston, Writer, Comedian, WNYC Special Correspondent
Baratunde Thurston is the author of the book How to Be Black, former digital director of The Onion, and founder of baratunde.com
Florida is not in the United States.
It's a tropical land that we somehow access through a kind of wormhole. It rains when the sun is shining. Buildings are kept at a temperature approaching that of a walk-in freezer. They have pelicans. Pelicans are not American birds. They are foreign birds. I do not accept a United States in which pelicans are considered local fowl.
AT&T Has Been Holding Out On Us
I had no problems with my AT&T iPhone at all. None. Fifty thousand people converged on a small area, and even in the middle of the RNC floor during Anne Romney's speech, I had full bars and could Instagram my heart away. If you can make it work in Tampa, you can make it work in Midtown Manhattan. No more excuses, AT&T. We can do better!
Shows Of military force work.
If you want to control a crowd, just keep all different kinds of armed law enforcement and military personnel on hand. Have some guys in khaki sheriff uniforms with thigh-mounted side arms. Have others be National Guardsmen. You're going to want some traditional "police" as well as Secret Service officers wearing flak jackets with "SECRET SERVICE" emblazoned on them. Every once in a while, send a column of troops marching through a shopping center. Add a few people with the curly ear pieces, and voila, you've limited dissent.
Reporters will chase anyone other reporters are chasing
I can't tell you how many times I witnessed the swarming behavior of journalists. At any sign of disproportionate camera, lighting, or microphone attention directed at an individual, reporters become a pack. It all might have been started by one camera operator accidentally pointing at a Convention Center volunteer walking briskly. Before you know it, the person is surrounded as other reporters smell what they think is a story that hasn't been tweeted yet.
Being A Delegate Can Be Quite The Boondoggle.
Breakfasts. Luncheons. Beach parties. All paid for by special interest groups and corporate sponsors. It's great training for those who want to join the ranks of Congress someday.
There are probably missing persons lost inside sports arenas across the United States. Every time I went into the Tampa Bay Times Forum, I walked a different path, and not by choice. I'm good with directions and mental mapping of a region, but there is something unnatural and Malkovichian about the design of sports arenas. Some floors are only accessible via elevator. Others only exist between floors. Architects should not be inspired by M.C. Escher. I should not have to say this.
Republican Men Love Khakis