Saturday, September 27, 2008

McCain fails to Rejoin his campaign; Obama awarded Presidency

In a stunning decision, the United States Electoral Commission has awarded the Presidency of the United States to Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Citing an obscure provision in the Electoral Count Act of 1877, the Commission disqualified Senator John McCain for “failing to rejoin his campaign” after suspending it on the 25th of September.

The McCain Campaign vehemently objected to the Commission awarding Senator Obama the Presidency. While admitting they were unaware of the provision, the McCain campaign declared Senator McCain’s failure to restart his campaign after suspending it was “a very big misunderstanding.”

“There was a mistake, an inadvertent mistake," McCain spokesperson said. “and it should not disqualify a patriot and war hero from the highest office in the land.”

The Obama Campaign stated that the rules stating a candidate must rejoin his campaign after suspending it were unequivocal. “The rules are clear, direct, obvious, unmistakable and were fully understood by our candidate.”

I am vigorously going to fight this," Senator McCain vowed. "I will not let down the people of America who want real change. I believe the people want to elect me [and] want me to do a good job and I am going to do a good job for them by finishing this race. This is an ugly and unpleasant situation that has been thrust upon me and my family. This situation is not fair, it is inaccurate and therefore [it] must not be allowed to stand."

Commission officials, while sympathetic, said the rejoin rule is at the heart of the honor system that underpins the United States electoral process.

"Bottom line, running for President of the United States is a gentleman’s contest and candidates for that office are held accountable for sustaining their campaigns,” a Commission spokesperson said.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pander Like It's 1984

My sixteen year-old daughter is reading 1984 in her AP Reading class. When I read 1984 in high school the premise and promise of George Orwell’s novel was still out there, somewhere, near but still unseen. Now the year 1984 has come and gone and is quickly receding in the rear view mirror. Yet, even as the title of the novel becomes more and more passé, a relic of the last millennium, the literary warning Orwell sounded is resounding loud and clear.

NEWSPEAK new•speak ('nü-"spEk, 'nyü-), noun, Usage: often capitalized. : propagandistic language marked by euphemism, circumlocution, and the inversion of customary meanings. Etymology: Newspeak, a language "designed to diminish the range of thought," in the novel 1984 (1949) by George Orwell.

Newspeak is the language of the McCain campaign. When Obama uses the metaphor “putting lipstick on a pig” to describe McCain’s justification of failed Republican policies, McCain calls Obama “sexist” because he has insulted McCain’s running mate, a self-proclaimed lipstick wearing pit bull.

Ergo, Barack Obama, the son of a single mother, raised on food stamps, is the “elitist” while John McCain, the ultimate legacy kid who got into Annapolis not on his merits but because his father and his grandfather went there and who owes his current career to the political clout of his rich father-in-law, is the “populist.”

DOUBLESPEAK double•speak language constructed to disguise or distort its actual meaning, often resulting in a communication bypass. Doublespeak may take the form of bald euphemisms (e.g., "downsizing" for layoffs) or deliberate ambiguity. Doublespeak is a disparaging label for any euphemistic term perceived to be uttered in bad faith.

McCain employs doublespeak at a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin where he gives his cheering supporters a simple choice: AMERICA FIRST or OBAMA FIRST. Hmmm. Either you are for America and against Obama (the black guy for those of you scoring at home) or if you are for Obama (the black guy) you are against America.

Yet, this very morning, in response to Obama questioning his economic IQ, the McCain campaign charges the Obama campaign is “trying to scare voters into voting for him (Obama).”
Really? The Obama campaign is trying to scare voters. Right.

Winston Smith, the nominal hero of 1984, is a bureaucrat in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth, revising historical records to match The Party's contemporaneous, official version of the past. The revisionism is required so that the past reflect the shifts of the day in the Party's orthodoxy.

So, caught in the headlights of Hurricane Gustav, the Republican convention reinvents George W. Bush as the Hero of Katrina.

Smith's job is perpetual; he re-writes the official record, re-touches official photographs, deleting people officially rendered as unpersons.

So McCain is running as if the last eight years of Republican administration did not happen. George Bush and Dick Cheney were officially deleted unpersons at the Republican Convention.

At the Ministry of Truth, the original or older document is dropped into a "memory hole" chute leading to an incinerator.

So McCain’s past as a carouser and womanizer has been removed from his biography, conveniently dropped down a memory hole with the ex-wife he dumped and the number of houses he owns.

Orwell’s Smith eventually learns that the motivation of the ruling Inner Party is not to achieve some future paradise but to retain power, which has become an end in itself. For those of you grazing at home, “the inner party” is the top 2% of the population – “my base” as current unperson George the Second once gloated at a Republican fundraiser.

From the low, dank trenches of his own “Ministry of Truth,” John McCain, the current standard bearer of the Inner Party, has proven willing and able to use all the Orwellian tools at his disposal to retain power.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Uncle Billy's Excellent Commercial

I think the "Circus Club" commercial starring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates has a certain charm. Microsoft is obviously getting drilled by the Apple "Mac & PC" commercials (and the inconvenient truth that Mac is a better product).

If you deconstruct the "Circus Club" commercial, though, you discover interesting things. For instance, the Conquistidor shoes fit tight. This is repeated in English and Spanish and is obviously a reference to the Vista operating system. It is subliminal mea culpa - "sure the Vista system has problems but it a quality product and it will get better if you keep using it!" ("It fits tight, but it will loosen up.")

Further subliminal theater - "Bill Gates is a 10."

The loopy lull of the commercials are obviously intentional (stuff like this does not happen by accident). And, as allegedly bad as the commercials are, they are effective. Are people not talking about them?

And, more importantly, don't we all know what Bill and Jerry are selling (even though it is not mentioned once in the commercial).

A lot of really funny and clever commercials are ineffective because when all is said and done the viewer doesn't recall - specifically - what was being sold. The Apple vs. Mac commercials are a welcome exception to this rule - which is why Uncle Billy is lauching this 300 million dollar campaign.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

True Blood

Anyone watching Alan Ball's new HBO series True Blood? It is a southern gothic romance liberally spiced with sex, violence and blood - but mostly the synthetic kind sold in six packs as Tru Blood. Ball evokes a world where vampires are not only real but where they walk amongst us: a vampire spokeswoman shows up on Bill Maher's show; a redneck vampire shops for Tru Blood at the convenience store; and a handsome, mysterious vampire shows up at the bar where our heroine works, hoping to wet his whistle with the above mentioned synthetic blood.

"I read in Hustler once that everybody should have sex with a vampire at least once before they die."
~Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten)

All the young principals in True Blood are lean, hard and muscular, including Anna Paquin who stars as Sookie Stackhouse. I like the spunky surliness of Sookie's best friend, Tara Thornton, (Rutina Wesley). She is a mahogany spitfire - as is Nelsan Ellis who plays the sassy fry cook, Lafayette Reynolds. Yeah, True Blood can be precious like that. The two black characters are stereotypes but so is the prim and proper southern belle played by Paquin and every redneck and reprobate who inhabits this improbable Lousiana parish. Frankly, I don't know what to make of the fact that in his series Six Feet Under and True Blood Ball has created exactly two black male principal characters and both of them are gay. But whereas Six Feet Under's Keith Charles was a hunky cop who could pass for straight, Lafayette Reynolds proudly wears his freak flag as a mammy-like bandana. Whatever. Ball has hooked me again. I will tune in next week.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

White Trash Theater

I like White Trash Theater as much as the next guy: Paris Hilton, Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, Lauren and Heidi from The Hills, et al. But the white trash drama of Sarah Palin's 17 year-old unmarried daughter being five months pregnant is not must see TV.

The Republican spin doctors want to couch this as a personal matter for the Palin family but it speaks directly to Palin's judgment - or her lack thereof. She rails against the teaching of sex education and contraception in schools (even though studies show children who receive sex education are sixty percent less likely to become teen parents) and reaps the bitter fruit of such wrong-headed policy based on antiquated religious beliefs.

It is just this sort of religious knuckleheadism that has us embroiled in the fiasco in Iraq. I am sure Bush prayed before he made one of the more disastrous decisions in American history. And, to channel Dr. Phil, how did that work out for us?

I am further alarmed by Palin’s sacrificing her seventeen year-old daughter to political expedience. The family's knee-jerk reaction to force the child into a shotgun wedding will just make a bad situation worse. Simply stated, how is Governor Palin fit to run the country when she can’t even run her own home?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Suffix, please!

Hey babies, this is your good buddy, rave. I am chiming in on the never ending discussion about the "N" word. Unlike many, I don't think the "N" word should be retired. Like the late, great George Carlin, I believe words are just words and they only have the power we give them. In the interest of racial harmony and because I believe the "N" word is more often implied than stated, I suggest we substitute the word "suffix" for the "N" word.

For instance:

"This will not be tolerated,

"We're trying to run a business here,

"I hate
suffixes and I hate flies. The more I meet suffixes, the more I like flies."

And, of course, there's that old caucasian spiritual, "Too busy thinking about my
suffixes, ain't got time for nothing else." (Sing along if you know the words).

But, again in the interest of racial harmony, we can agree to disagree. Ya'll still my suffixes.