Falling Leaves: the Ardes blog

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Ray on BBC Radio Sheffield

Ray Drainville

Since we’re coming up to the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks in New York & Washington, and that I’m from the United States, BBC Radio Sheffield interviewed me about what I remember of the day. Specifically, I was called to the BBC studio that day & that’s where I saw World Trade Centre towers collapse; my father was in Manhattan when the attacks occurred & I couldn’t verify his safety for days; and my in-laws, who are physical anthropologists, worked with DMORT to recover bodies for months at the “Fresh Kills” landsite. This is all covered in the interview which you can download.

The thing that really hits me is that so many people saw the attacks live: not the first plane, of course, but there were many watching the aftermath of the first crash at the World Trade Centre when the second plane hit. I think that’s why our reactions are so strong: we saw it unfold, and we all slowly realised the significance of the acts we witnessed. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to talk about the legacy of 9/11, which includes the war in Afghanistan, the justification for the war in Iraq, the death of countless civilians, the erosion of civil liberties, the advocacy of torture, the draining of the US’s material wealth, the continuing inflammation of anti-American sentiment abroad and the decline of American power. It’s a bloody and unspeakably tragic legacy. In any event, if you want to hear someone saying “uh” & “ah” a lot, have a listen.

Ray on Radio Sheffield this Afternoon

Ray Drainville

In my ongoing quest to be the latest Media Whore, I was interviewed on Radio Sheffield at noon today.

I’m an American expatriate living in the UK & as I’m something of a local, Radio Sheffield has asked me to comment upon US Politics from time to time. The first time was during the 2000 election débacle—I hadn’t slept & had to explain the Electoral College in ten words or less. I really cannot remember this, as my short-term memory went into melt-down during this period: I barely slept for the entire period from early November 2000 until mid-December 2000, when the race was finally decided by the Supreme Court.

More memorably I was asked to come into the studio ASAP during the attacks on 11 September 2001. Since I was busy working, I hadn’t the faintest clue what had been happening until I turned on the TV after a friend called me. I then spent the next two hours at the studio, watching the World Trade Centre collapse. It was a surreal & tragic experience, to say the least.

Now I’ve been asked to comment upon the Democrats & Barack Obama. I don’t think I said much that was new or startling: the Democrats haven’t been this hungry for power for as long as I can remember. And yes, Barack Obama does differ from George Bush on a number of issues. Nothing particularly revelatory.

But I did get to shop out one of my pet theories. I think Obama’s poll numbers are artificially low. Obama’s registered millions of young people & pollsters in the US only poll likely voters. Historically, young voters don’t vote, so pollsters ignore them; this time, I think they’re sufficiently excited to do so. Add that motivation to the fact that, as in the UK, American youth use mobile phones—which pollsters don’t call—and you can perhaps then see why I think Obama is likely to bury McCain. Time will tell.

Ray on Radio Sheffield This Morning

Ray Drainville

ArDes creative director & partner Ray Drainville will be interviewed on Radio Sheffield this morning at about 11 am about relations between South Yorkshire & the United States.

A US ex-pat living in Sheffield, Ray has been interviewed many times on the radio commenting on US–UK relations. This started back in the 2000 US Presidential election debacle when, at the end of a completely sleepless night, Ray had to explain the electoral college to the interviewer. His commentary continued throughout the next six weeks as the election eventually found itself in the Supreme Court & its sorry conclusion. Ray was also interviewed many times before the 2004 US Presidential election, which saw George W. Bush placed back in power after beating the hapless John Kerry.

Memorably, Ray was also interviewed on 11 September 2001 during the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York & the Pentagon in Washington. Being on the radio & commenting on these horrible events leant an air of unreality to the whole day, which wasn’t helped by the fact that Ray had only seen the attacks first on the televisions in the Radio Sheffield building.

Today’s interview is sparked by the building of a replica of the Brooklyn Bridge in Sheffield, a commemoration of the UK’s long (& Ray would say troubled) relationship with the US.

Edit: Name changed from “Argument from Design” to “ArDes”