I haven't adjusted to the 21st century yet, so I still approach blog posts like Ralph Ellison working on novel #2. Which is to say: it takes me forever to write them. I thought the Biden-Palin face-off tonight would be an opportunity to get in touch with my inner Joyce Carol Oates and start writing faster. But I couldn't bring myself to watch the bloody thing, much less to do so in the spirit needed to write about it. So instead I thought I'd live-blog about why I didn't watch the debate. Here goes.... 1. I couldn't bear the anxiety. Someone, I forget who, recently wrote that watching Palin lately has been like watching a drunk relative give a toast at a wedding reception - you're pretty sure it's going to go badly, but you don't know when, or just how embarrassing it will be. This is nerve-wracking, even if you don't care for the woman or her politics. 2. I couldn't bear the anxiety, part 2: Joe Biden's foot hasn't hung out with his mouth in a while, and they're due for a reunion. 3. I wouldn't be able to concentrate, as one question would trump all others in my mind: is it me, or has Biden's forehead undergone a Kerry-like transformation, and become as tight as the head of a snare drum? Or was I just not paying attention before? 4. I can't get over the fact that the polls are still close. I mean, it sometimes seems that the GOP isn't even trying this time (and with W's messes to clean up, why would they?). But public opinion is still pretty evenly split. Which makes me alternately irritated, annoyed, and depressed. None of these emotional states, it turns out, is particularly conducive to registering and reflecting on a live debate. Having appealed to the polls, though... 5. ...I resent being seduced into thinking about serious politics in horse race terms. Or into thinking about horse races instead of serious politics and policy. As I've said here before, polls have their place, and if they work for you then God bless. But the media conversations around the debates tend to focus obsessively on how the candidates