Visit my new Technology News website, TECHPopuli.

January 23, 2004

The Dean Scream

I'm still not convinced that Dean's now infamous rebel yell wasn't poor judgement on his part. But I'm more and more convinced that it wasn't the result of uncontrollable anger. Dave Winer told this story at last night's meeting, and he's now put it on his blog.

On the night of the scream, Dave was consulting with the web-guys at Dean's VT HQ. At one point in the evening, before the televised scream, he heard an astounding sound from the closed staff meeting.

Several times during the meeting a loud crazy-sounding scream came from the room, everyone was doing it, and it was really frightening. The stuff of nightmares. This was before Howard Dean's rant. I asked Jim Moore what that was about, he said it's an Indian war yell or something like that, they used to do it in United Farm Workers rallies, and they adopted it at Dean For America. A few minutes later Dean let out the famous scream, it was the same scream I heard in the conference room.

I was going to ask Dave's permission to retell this story, so I'm glad Dave did it first.

Posted by jghiii at January 23, 2004 12:59 PM
Posted by: MGA on January 23, 2004 01:08 PM

Anybody who has ever attended a pep rallye knows what the "Dean
scream" was all about. I did not see the newsclips but the audio
clips of the state "countdown" indicate to me that all he was doing
was rallying his troops to fight to the finish.
I'm not a Doctor Dean fan but the continuing play and replay (and mixes)
are more absurd noise than the original "YeeaaAARRrgh" (did I spell that

Posted by: beth on January 23, 2004 01:16 PM

Yeah but check your spelling of rally.

Posted by: RickF on January 23, 2004 08:19 PM

Jo Ann and I watched Dean's famous performance live the night of the Iowa Caucuses. I never took Dean's yell as a scream of uncontrolled anger. However, he was clearly trying to whip the crowd there into a frenzy and, in the process, whipped himself into a frenzy too. I think what people reacted to wasn't anger but a prospective president who seemed to be hyped up, flushed, and out of control. "Out of control" is not a good thing for someone who wants to be President.

At an entirely different level, it was also someone who was so in the moment that he was just focused on the audience physically in front of him (his Iowa volunteers), and not thinking about the millions of people watching him on TV. They tuned in expecting someone to soberly acknowledge the disappointing result (for Dean) of the caucuses. Rather, they saw someone who seemed to be totally out of touch with reality, celebrating a win instead of acknowleding a loss. Again, being "out of touch with reality" is another quality people might not see as presidential.

Posted by: adamg on January 23, 2004 10:29 PM

While watching Chronicle tonight, I remembered again just why I wish Mike Barnicle would go away - forever. He started some rant about The Scream with an anecdote about how he was in Manchester in '72 when Muskie's campaign basically ended and said he didn't see any tears on Muskie's face and then somehow segues from that into some drivel about how angry Dean was. Jeezus, did any of these alleged reporters actually SEE Dean? He may have been out of control, but angry? No, he looked and sounded like some guy trying to rally the troops; if anything, he looked disconcertingly happy (disconcertingly given that he came in third ...)

Posted by: Jo Ann on January 24, 2004 05:12 AM

I agree with these comments. And Jack, your sister cracks me up! :-)

It was a very strange speech, but I agree that to say Dean was "angry" isn't accurate, and I think misses the point about what was odd about the speech. The yell was the least odd thing happening! Most candidates take the opportunity to use that time to state why we should vote for them. Clearly, he was just speaking to his volunteers in the room when much of America was watching from their living rooms ready to evaluate him. And evaluate, they did!

I'm not yet sure who I will be voting for (but one of them, for sure), so I am paying close attention to all of the candidates anytime there's an opportunity. Before that speech, Dean seemed odd to me; that speech pretty much confirmed it! It was disturbing that Dean didn't have the wit to realize how he would be perceived. Also, considering he unexpectedly came in third, his excitement seemed insincere, or at the very least, awkward.

The situation reminded me of "Survivor Australia" the moment Tina won the million and Colby jumped up acting sooo excited for Tina... it's like overcompensating for the embarrassment of the loss. For the audience, those situations are painful to watch.

Well, at least we know Dean can name all of the states! That's better than Bush when he was campaigning! Okay, Bush may have known the states, but when quized, he didn't know most world leaders, that's for sure! :-)

Post a comment