The US Presidential Elections: Convention Diary: Banners win the war of words

FOR THOSE - and that means most of us - never quite certain what is actually being debated on the convention floor, there are a few helpful pointers.

Theme words like 'hope' or 'responsibility' flash up occasionally on the video wall behind the (always inaudible) speaker. Or, if you can understand it, you can always watch the lady signing for the deaf. Perhaps the best trick is to scan the ebb and flow of hand-held placards.

Pink triangles began to sprout when Aids was the issue, mixed with a few demanding lesbian rights. Banners with 'Health Care Our Families Can Afford' signalled, surprise, the health debate.

Just as we thought we had a handle on proceedings, there was a baffling eruption of pink placards bearing the single word, 'NOT]'. 'Not what?', we wondered as the placards suffused the hall, bobbing in a thousand excited hands.

This, we came to realise, was a manifestation of the current American fad of tagging an expletive 'Not]' on the end of a sentence to negate what has just been said. For instance: 'Democrats love George Bush. Not]'.

The placards had been distributed by Jerry Brown supporters opposed to the adoption of the '92 Democratic policy platform.

A banner war has been raging all week between Mr Brown's 600-odd followers and the thousands of Clinton delegates. Until last night, when their man was finally allowed on to the podium, the Brown troops were sporting mouth gags and waving 'Let Jerry Speak' placards and other variations on the theme.

The Clinton camp struck back with, 'Let Jerry Sleep'. One Brownie, lost for a witty slogan, was seen gripping a piece of card that read simply: 'Generic Protest Sign'.

The Vice-President, Dan Quayle, is once again the butt of endless quips, not just on the podium, but also on the myriad of convention ephemera like buttons, T-shirts and car stickers. Especially overworked are gags to do with his recent misspelling of potato, which he had as potatoe. And then there is the T-shirt listing 'Top Ten Reasons for Voting Democrat' - reasons one to nine are 'Jobs'. Reason 10: 'Dan Quayle'.

Meanwhile, any hope of the TV networks nursing serious regrets over their decision to slash live coverage must have faded following the release of the first- night viewing figures. As at first suspected, the Democrats are a ratings bust. No channel attracted more than a measly five million households for convention coverage.

The ratings winner on Monday evening was Rupert Murdoch's Fox Network, which drew more than seven million with the film 'The Revenge of the Nerds, Part III'.

There have been moments, it must be said, when the delegates have been moved to stop their jostling and chattering. The longest, most moving, hush was awarded to Elizabeth Glaser, wife of actor Paul Michael Glaser, Starsky in the cop show 'Starsky and Hutch'. She contracted Aids from a blood transfusion while giving birth to her daughter Ariel.

Delegates stood frozen, some weeping, as she accused the Bush administration of inaction and recounted how she passed the virus first to Ariel, who died in 1988, and later, through breast-feeding, to her son, Jake.

Roy Hattersley and other Labour bods such as Gordon Brown and even Lord Clinton- Davis are still in town, but not for much longer. Mr Hattersley has confided that, such is his anxiety not to miss the vote for Labour Party leader on Saturday, he plans to leave the Big Apple before the climax of the convention tonight, when Mr Clinton delivers his acceptance speech.

As feared, one anti-abortion fanatic finally got close enough to Mr Clinton to present him with a human foetus in a clear plastic box. A tasteful use of the First Amendment right to free expression. Not]

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice