May 18, 2012: I loathe presidential election years. Let me count the ways.
1. Everything is subject to partisan spin. If pollen triggers hay fever, flaks din that the other party did it. The media echoes the act. (The story of O is getting an extra loud yodel!) Worse yet, so do boots on the ground. Hitherto charming intelligent friends hit the social media streets loaded with dogma. Your email gets clogged with petitions urging you to tell the left/right fanatics in the White House/Congress/Temple of Dagon that you won’t tolerate their war on business/women/the cosmos.
2. Politics trump friendship. I know someone who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 (as I did) and was cut dead for a decade. His friends blamed him for Al Gore’s defeat. Go figure why they didn’t blame Gore.
3. Presidential elections turn thoroughly modern Millies & Mikes into medieval hysterics. The devil is supposed to have left the secularized building. Yet he surfaces every four years as the candidate of the other party. Quoting a friend in New Jersey: “Vote for whoever you like. But don’t tell me the other guy eats babies.”
4. There is no real humor in Mudville. Only partisan sallies. (Did ya hear the one about Sarah Pelosi?) A true sense of the absurd is an unwelcome guest at partisan parties. Could be worse tho. Totalitarians 86 it. Like, totally.
5. In election years the effort to shape reality by limiting language and subverting meaning ramps up. (See Newspeak for basic theory.) The publics’ flirtation with “outsider” candidates such as Donald Trump and Herman Cain reflects weariness with parsing and PC patter. Better a plainspoken zany than one who hides his strobe light under a bushel.
6. Brain dead hyperbole becomes the norm. This year’s zombie meme: “The War On”. Followed by whatever will rile The Base. But is limiting funding for morning-after birth control or raising taxes on the wealthy really the same as being bombed to smithereens or starving in the rubble of a ruined country?
7. The social issue boom-car pounds 24/7. This year’s divisive device doesn’t have much sub woof. Same sex marriage matters to its fervent supporters and opponents but frankly my dear, most people don’t give a damn. They don’t gasp with admiration or outrage when candidates strike a pose pro or con, they just wish they’d stop voguing for the media. The economy is a dry subject (dangerous to boot) but anything about sex– Hoohah!
8. None of the above tops the horror the horror of hearing candidates wax folksy on TV. When these ultimate entitled elitists drop letters from words, call people “folks”, and reference decisions made by “American families sitting round the kitchen table” my flesh creeps. I recently saw VP Joe Biden doing the populist doo. My hands were full of hot pots (I was in an actual kitchen) and I couldn’t reach the remote in time. Move over Chucky, Pinhead, and assorted killer clowns. The nightmare of Farmer Joe is seared in my brain.
According to pundits, coolness is a major factor in this year’s presidential race. If so, Ron Paul should have done better in the primaries. He doesn’t do dialect. On the leftover front, if Mitt promises to keep droning away in characterless cadences he just might get my vote. I hate candy corn that much.
Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff
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