The primary elections are finally over and none too soon for me. Excuse my malaise, but I’m slowly sinking into the “what difference does any of it make?” mindset. My late mother, a political maven, would be deeply disappointed. (If there’s a heaven, I just hope there’s no Internet.)
The ubiquitous ads on TV were a battle of which lie was more manipulative. Even more annoying were the incessant robo telephone calls. (Pre-recorded calls to your home.) For the past few weeks I awakened to a full voicemail box. Groggily, I thought, “Gee, I didn’t know I had that many friends.” I didn’t.
It was the curse of the robo call. (Sounds like a 1970s horror movie.) I found these calls offensive for a number of reasons. First, the moment I picked up the voice on the other end immediately started blasting their message. There’s no, “Hi, Jack, how are you?” Rapid fire, it’s vote for this or against that or essentially you will die.
Typical of the dozen calls I received that day, all but one was robo. And that was a wrong number. Feeling unusually unloved, I was tempted to call the wrong number back.
I have a possible solution. I suggest in the future that they use Kate Upton’s voice. (At least to heterosexual males.) For those unfamiliar, Ms. Upton is this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover girl. (Google her and be one of the 20-gazillion others.)
If Kate began the robo call with, “Hi, Jack this is Kate, please don’t hit delete,” trust me I wouldn’t. I know it’s rather shallow (OK, more than rather) but I’d listen to every word. And just imagine if Kate added, “If you vote for my particular cause I’ll give you a personal demonstration of the Dougie dance.”
At this point, I should probably explain the etymology of the Dougie. It derives from the ‘80s and early ‘90s hip-hopper Doug E. Fresh and means to have a cool style. (It evolved into a sexual connotation, but this is a family paper.)
The song “Teach Me How to Dougie” by Cali Swag District (whoever they are) was released in 2010 and went platinum. (All of which I fear is more than you ever wanted to know about the Dougie.)
The point is Kate Upton is an expert at the Dougie, though some in the religious right think she’s immoral. (Go to YouTube, type “Upton Dougie” and see for yourself.) Then again, Bush’s former Attorney General John Ashcroft thought certain statues in courtrooms were immoral and covered them up. (As opposed to worrying about terrorists.)
Kate’s also gifted at the “Cat Daddy” dance. (The young lady’s talents are endless.) I believe the two dances are related, but exactly how I’m not sure. Maybe “Nightline” will do a show on it?
In addition to the annoying robo calls, each day during primary season my e-mail inbox was flooded. (By the way, younger readers advise me that e-mail is only for old people, which, given the number I send and receive, makes me worry sciatica is just around the corner.)
Eternally optimistic (or naïve) I eagerly checked my “new mail” hoping one of my screenplays had finally been sold. Instead it was the e-mail version of robo calls. So I wound up holding my finger down on the delete key and watched them disappear.
I forgot to mention the “penis enhancement” e-mails. (Which I constantly struggle not to take personally.) And the Nigerian prince who’s temporarily without funds and promises that if I send $100 I will be entitled to half of his $400 million fortune. That is, once this minor snafu is resolved and he comes into his rightful inheritance. (I know it’s a bit judgmental, but after all these e-mails I tend to picture Nigeria as a country teeming with broke princes.)
As for Tuesday’s election results, frankly I’m of the opinion that the only hope for any real change in this country lies with public financing of elections. It’s the only way to take the lobbyists and special interests out of the equation, or at least reduce their influence. (I know what you’re saying, “I’d rather hear more about Kate Upton’s Cat Daddy dance.”)
The problem with public financing is that the only people who could vote for it are already in office and that’s the last thing they’d want. In reality, the day after a candidate gets elected his or her first thought is how to get re-elected. And to do that they must raise obscene amounts of money.
We have five more months until the November elections. (Groan.) But we can forget about meaningful legislation out of Sacramento or Washington. Politicians are too busy genuflecting in return for hefty contributions from corporations. (Who actually own this country.) And some say that Kate Upton’s Dougie dance is immoral.
(Editor’s note: This column originally appeared June. 8, 2012.)
Jack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org