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Theatre on the Air

70 years ago today, America's greatest 20th century media-genius, Orson Welles, boy prankster, terrified parts of New Jersey, and beyond, with The Mercury Theatre on the Air's infamous radio broadcast of War of the Worlds. Last night, a very different genius of American reinvention, and media expression, Barack Obama, presented the glossiest, and most expensive, political broadcast in American history.

Much has changed in 70 years, in terms of credulity among the masses - and much remains the same. One thing does seem strikingly similar: America's dependence on the media, for information, and entertainment.

The dangers in the time of Orson are the same as in the time of Obama - when the twain meet too closely (as in some slurs that repeat and multiply over the blogosphere). For the world now, Eyewear hopes Mr. Obama can win next week; but fears, as much as any Martian invasion, the menace of Alaska's own monster, so close to the lip of power.

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