As possibly the only person who attended both the Sarah Vowell book reading at the Carter Center and the AMA Supercross at the GA Dome last weekend, I've been asked to compare the two events.
The parking lot: Sarah Vowell - plenty of Kerry/Edwards stickers. Supercross - "Osama, these (sticker) colors don't run".
The pre-event setting: I noticed a few thousand more "Fox Racing" jerseys at the Supercross than at the Sarah Vowell reading. Also, the Supercross sold huge beers. Advantage, Supercross.
The show intro: Sarah Vowell - a brief, understated introduction by the Carter Center's Public Affairs director. Supercross - the lights dip to black, the music (U2's "A Beautiful Day") builds, a series of firepot explosions ignite, lazers dance around the dome, some loud Emo song kicks in, racers (lit by multiple spotlights) ride out of a smoke filled stage, announced one at a time by that gravely voiced "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday" announcer as they rev their motorcycles and do long wheelies into the infield. If Sarah Vowell could do a wheelie she would have had a chance. Strong advantage, Supercross.
The event: Topics discussed by Sarah Vowell - presidential assasinations, the State of the Union Address, the actual threat of and reaction to terrorism versus its depiction in mass entertainment media, the writing process. Topics discussed at the Supercross event - sponsors. Heavy advantage - Sarah Vowell.
General comparison: The racing was much better at the Supercross. Sarah Vowell couldn't compete with Chad Reed's ability to land a set of jumps with one foot out and immediately throw his bike into a tight turn while boxing another rider out of the inside position, or his comeback from a bad qualifier race and his battle with Ricky Carmichael in the main event. Ricky Charmichael took the checkered flag.
In summary - More brains and wit at the Carter Center. More adrenaline and tinnitus at the Supercross. It was a draw.