Beast Banner Nov 16 - 30, 2006
ISSUE #110
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Features

ArrowThe 10 Most Ridiculous Things about the Midterm Elections
Allan Uthman

ArrowThe Worst Show on Television
An election night diary
Matt Taibbi

ArrowFEELINÊ HAGGARD
Forget the gay hooker; was Pastor Ted a tweaker?
Alexander Zaitchik

ArrowCrush, Kill, Destroy
Screw bipartisanship; it’s time for revenge.
Allan Uthman

Local BEAST

ArrowCult Classic
Pseudoscience and Psychedelics in the Church of Scientology
Ian Murphy

Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Terrorist Emboldener

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
Borat, Saw III, Flags of Our Fathers, The Santa Clause 3

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
Tool Box, Another Einstein Weighs In, Army Ad's Still Got It, A Real American Hero and more

Top Ten
Allan Ulthman

The “Blue Wave”
Remember how stupid Bush sounded when he called his 2004 election squeaker a mandate? Remember how dumb it was that the media supported the idea? Well now, it’s the Democrats who have supposedly been given a mandate in this “whupping.” In fact, the Democrats barely eked by on razor-thin margins, and their Senate majority is actually an equality—49 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and two guys who kind of, sort of, are likely to vote with the Democrats, probably. This is not a mandate; this is an incremental nudge. It’s the same confused, misled country it was in 2000, 2002 and 2004, only both parties have moved far enough to the right for the Democrats to get the overlap for once.

George Allen’s Near-Win
Exactly how racist does a guy have to be to lose an election in Virginia? If Senator George Allen had scheduled a photo op burning a cross on a black family’s lawn on the eve of the election, would it have helped or hurt him in the polls? And if he had won, would it have mattered that voters in a half dozen counties received phone calls giving them fraudulent “new voting locations?” Answers are hard to come by in a race that Allen lost by a handful of votes, despite the fact that his history of racism, including a particularly gruesome incident involving stuffing a severed deer’s head into a black family’s mail box, was brought to light after he idiotically used an obscure French slur to indicate a dark-skinned kid holding a video camera. Despite being exposed as a guy who collects and displays confederate flags, who kept a noose in his law office, and who, by all accounts, regularly said “nigger” in college, half of Virginia is comfortable being represented by Allen. Because, you know, Democrats just don’t understand the issues facing the average bigot today.

The Kerry “Gaffe”
I’m no big fan of John Kerry; the guy is a bullshit machine. But anyone with a mind of their own could see that Kerry was calling Bush stupid, making fun of his famously mediocre academic performance. It was a lame joke, unartfully told, but if that was a damnable offense then Colin Quinn would be on death row. Frankly, the idea that a seasoned politician like Kerry would say anything as honest as what his detractors accused him of saying is patently absurd. This was a completely manufactured controversy, and every single reporter, anchor, and pundit in America knowingly complied in its packaging and delivery. Soon enough, even people who should know better were saying Kerry should shut up. But John Kerry can’t order breakfast without a team of Republican operatives calling him an elitist, treasonous swine. The two or three days for which Kerry’s joke was the top story in the news was the stupidest moment of the entire campaign, maybe the dumbest smear since the Dean scream. The guy wasn’t even running, for Christ’s sake.

Major League Asshole
This is your president speaking, October 30th: “However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: the terrorists win and America loses. That's what's at stake in this election.” This pathetic cheap shot officially makes Bush the least presidential president of the modern era—less than Nixon, less than Bull Pullman in Independence Day or Jack Nicholson in Mars Attacks. This guy would eat a pig fetus on Fear Factor to score a 1% bump in the polls. What a great American.

The Ads
Attack ads were everywhere, and most of them were total bullshit. Locally, the main offender was Tom Reynolds. His TV spots, mailers, and radio ads smearing Jack Davis blanketed the region for weeks, reaching a supersaturating crescendo in the first week of November. Everywhere you looked, “eccentric millionaire” Jack Davis was there, in eerie bluish grey smoke fields, getting ready to take your money away, “destroy” your job, and possibly fondle your children. The effect was so poisonous that I’m sure there are kids in Amherst right now afraid to go to sleep because Jack Davis will get them. My favorite was the one with the nice-looking middle-aged regular guy, who starts off telling us that he’s “disgusted with this whole bunch in congress,” but then incongruously slams Davis, not Reynolds, as out of touch. The ad ends with an atrociously naked appeal to conformity: “Jack Davis? Not one of us,” the actor says, shaking his head and glaring disapprovingly at the camera as if he just caught Davis masturbating in public. If you want to know why base, deceptive ads like this are so common, there is only one relevant fact: Reynolds won. His strategy of treating his electorate like naïve simpletons worked like a charm.

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