Cards on the table: I had never heard of Joel Stein until five minutes ago. Nonetheless, having just read his oh-so-condescending op-ed for the NY Times on why, in his estimation, adults shouldn’t read YA, I feel qualified to make the above assertion.
No, this isn’t going to be a word-for-word description of my dream last night, because I didn’t have one, and those things are horrifically boring to all listeners. This is only going to be a short update/recommendation.
I’ve been reading a lot of radio plays from the 1930s in my Theater After Film class, they’re pretty fascinating, but the one I can’t stop thinking about is Dreams by Gunter Eich. I would highly recommend seeking it out, the text may be available online somewhere, or floating around in a library. It’s lyrical, comic, scary, weird, uplifting, angry, and political all at once. It seemed like some kind of precursor to The Twilight Zone that wasn’t necessarily overwrought (or overacted…don’t worry I still love Rod Serling). It struck a chord with me, and I was smiling constantly while reading it, or going over the work, it hit me like a punch in the gut. Eich intercuts the five dreams with bits of strange poetry, to make this odd but beautiful compilation. I’ll post the last stanza here, because it’s great:
"No, do not sleep while the arrangers of the world are busy!
Mistrust the power they say they need to acquire for your sake!
Make sure your hearts are not empty
when they are counting on the emptiness of your hearts!
Do what is not necessary,
sing the songs they do not expect to hear from your lips!
Be troublesome, be sand, not oil in the gears of the world!”
So yeah. I haven’t had the urge to post any inspirational quotes in a while (because also, who likes that?), but that one just gets right in there. It feels like something I’ll want to reread constantly, not just that quote, but the whole work.
I wrote this up for my comedy class, it’s supposed to be a Maureen Dowd-like semi-comedic political essay. I was originally going to write a polemic about the term feminist, but I couldn’t really get solid or interesting thoughts that were original or necessarily important. So I wrote about Mitt Romney and Super Tuesday. Hope you like it, and as always, thanks for reading.
Super Tuesday and the Romney Question
After the super saturation of not only the twenty-four hour news cycle but also the flood of candidates and campaigns, the question on every sane person’s lips seems to be: is it over yet? Sadly I must report that the answer is no. The American people are still in the midst of the whirlwind adventure of the thank-god-it’s-only-every-four-years primary and caucus season. But on March 6, 2012, we have finally reached the day, Super Tuesday, the possible answer to our cries for help. This year we contend with the results of seven state primaries, and three state caucuses that will hopefully push popular support behind a single candidate.
This is the big night, the supposed breaking point for Republican Presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich. This is the night that should finally give definitive support to a candidate, revealing some proof of a frontrunner. The results from these ten states, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Vermont, Virginia, Tennessee, North Dakota, and Alaska, could shake up the campaign trail, and hopefully shake out the losers. Reports from the Gingrich campaign revealed that a loss in Georgia, his home state, would have been a major blow to his campaign, possibly forcing him to finally withdraw. Gingrich did indeed hold strong in his home state, but little elsewhere. Will these definitive losses finally convince himself of his failure, or will he continue to blunder through the campaign trail dragging Botox-Barbie Callista along with him?
This race though, unlucky and muddled as it has been, has continued to splinter through Super Tuesday. The final state results, include a push of begrudging support for professional “normal” person Mitt Romney, but also a continued surge for the Satan-hating, I’m-too-Catholic-for-you Rick Santorum. Romney walked away with five definitive victories, a recount-level battle in Ohio, resulting in a one-percentage point win over Santorum, and solid showings in second place in all of his losses. Santorum took three states, and strong percentages despite other losses.
The Romney group can finally heave a sigh of relief that the results weren’t split any further, and they can claim a clear majority. Romney’s desperation for a two-man race has been clear for months, but his G.O.P. opponents simply won’t fade into memory. The Republican race has been a consistent shamble towards the end goal of simply outlasting the other remaining candidates. The problem of this race seems to be a clear lack of passion, for both voters and candidates. There is a level of passion within Santorum that reveals itself in alienating extremisms that can be appealing to voters, but that amount of crazy hopefully will never reach an actual nomination. The Robotic-Romney is unemotional, and unrelatable, and in wins and losses can’t seem to muster the emotional connection Obama can command with a smile and a wink.
Further, Romney has to muster this passive tightly withheld anger in order to remain inoffensive, shackling himself to the medium of normal within the remaining candidates. But this passivity feels false and empty, even dishonest to a certain extent. Voters and viewers aren’t convinced by Romney’s show, he seems too much like he’s acting the part, rather than revealing his personality and individualism that would reveal him as human. This is clear in Romney’s response to the Sandra Fluke kerfuffle, which he avoided for as long as possible, until finally relenting with barely a rebuke towards the offender Rush Limbaugh, stating “[that was] not the language I would have used.” Romney cannot offend Limbaugh, a man with an influential platform, but neither can he defend the graduate student Limbaugh slandered. Romney’s attempted inoffensiveness has somehow crossed the threshold to become offensive.
Ultimately though, Romney’s reaction seems to be one of relief rather than celebration, declaring, “”It’s been a long road getting to Super Tuesday, let me be honest…There will be good days and bad days, always long hours and never enough time, but, on November 6th, we will stand united, not only having won an election, but having saved a future.” There’s an amount of sheer resignation to his celebration that adds to his poor likability factor. Despite the temporary wave of support by voters, there is no clear upswing in his likability. The barrage of primaries and caucuses has not created the definitive single candidate for the G.O.P. and without that, no candidate can truly and emphatically claim success.
While G.O.P candidates bite and claw their way to state majorities and minorities, President Obama speeches, laughs, and sings his way back into the hearts of American voters. Obama’s tour of smiles has included a stop discussing sports and entertainment with Grantland Editor-in-Chief and ESPN sportswriter Bill Simmons. And just this past week, Obama has revealed his devotion to fan-favorite television character Omar Little from the critically acclaimed HBO drama “The Wire,” as well as noted his daughter’s affection for small-politics NBC comedy, “Parks and Recreation.” Romney only wishes he could be that cool.