There are certain rules I stick to on this very serious academic blog as opposed to my own weblog. Aside from the obvious "don't blog about cricket" rule, another really important one is "don't blog after drinking lots of margaritas"... but today I'm going to make an exception to that rule, as the party I have just been to was unexpectedly and very directly related to e-campaigning.
I was very lucky to be invited to a wonderful Thanks Giving party hosted by some friends this evening. The spread was nothing short of spectacular, as you can see from the picture - a soup starter, a main course with every conceivable trimming, and beautiful pies for dessert (and the aforementioned margaritas, which also made an appearance somewhere in the latter point of the meal - I'm a little hazy on the details). It was a really wonderful evening.
I can't claim any credit for the cooking. Indeed, the one task I was given was to whip up a sauce containing milk, garlic, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. However, due to a cooking mis-communication, it got blended instead of whipped - the end result being what can only be described as a garlic smoothie going in the bin (you can see the rather hideous mess I made in the photo above), and someone being sent out to buy some humus as a replacement. I can only claim incompetence as a defence...
However, what was particularly interesting about this party was where many of the recipes had come from... or more specifically, who they came from - John Edwards. I had vaguely noted the story that Edwards was giving family recipes away to those who donated to his campaign, but I never thought that I would actually be able to go to a party where these recipes made up a large proportion of the meal served (I also should add that the hideous garlic smoothie was not an Edwards recipe - that belonged to the BBC Good Food magazine).
It struck me, as I was tucking into this fantastic spread, that this kind of campaigning would simply not have been possible without the Internet. The gathering of donations is faster than ever before, as is the ability of campaigns to communicate with those who have given them donations (or, most crucially of all, might give them more donations in the future). That's why John Edwards's Thanks Giving recipes makes sense and has been so effective (and tasty, I hasten to add). It also globalises the campaign to a far greater degree.
I know this blog has many reader all over the world, so can I just take this belated opportunity to wish anyone reading in the US a very happy Thanks Giving.