Charles Longley: Republican for Congress 2002
You can’t say the BEAST doesn’t take politics seriously. Truth be told, one of our own is running for Congress. We’ve known Charles Longley for years–he used to date one of the editor’s mothers, before she dumped him for a Belgian poet–and know him to be one of America’s great patriots. He’s a Republican, but we let that slide because he’s so sincere. In fact, we even plan to support him in the next election cycle, because we think America need more men like Chuck: honest, forthright, patriotic, and a little eccentric.
Last week, we let Chuck use our office late one night to do some campaign planning work. As usual, we left the tapes running on all the phones, a precaution we leave in place to keep our employees in line. When we came in the next morning, we found a surprise–Chuck had done some serious work the night before. Immediately we knew we had material for our next issue… But first, we knew we needed a little Q&A with the candidate:
Q: Charles, you’re known in the Beast family as a kind of tragic hero, a Lone Ranger of Republicanism. You don’t have any backers for your campaign. What makes you think you can win?
A: My media savvy.
Q: What’s your strategy, exactly?
A: In modern American politics, to have a legitimate chance at winning a seat in Congress, a candidate must make a positive impression through the mass media–be it television or print. Some people view this as our process’s greatest flaw, an aspect which necessarily causes each election to be a battle between two hedonistically wealthy talking heads who act as mere shills for their corporate backers.
A: But optimists, on the other hand, view the requisite pandering to media conglomerates as a potential positive: a way to communicate one’s vision of the Good Society to the public and, given the effort that must have gone into pre-television campaigns, a relatively easy means of scoring points with unsuspecting voters.
Q: So which are you?
A: I am an optimist. I have a vision and a plan for communicating it to the folks out there who don’t have the time to ask questions.
Q: Anything concrete to that vision yet?
A: (unnerved) No, not yet.
Yeah, sure you don’t, Chuck. In any case, here’s what our hero was up to in our office after hours. Is this man fit for office, or what? Somebody call James Carville!
8:43 pm, June 16
Receptionist: Sheer Elegance Massage Parlor.
Charles: (nervously) Hi, I’m interested in becoming a, uh, a “client.”
C: Yes, what are your, uh, what are you rates?
R: It’s thirty for half and sixty for the hour. We’re open from eleven to nine. Our last booking for an appointment is eight-thirty. Ummm…
C: Thirty dollars… for a half an hour. And that’s the smallest, uh, billing period I get a reservation for. That’s the shortest amount of time I could arrange.
R: Well, the hour is sixty.
C: That would be longer.
R: Right. A half-hour.
C: So the shortest is thirty.
R: (straining to think of clearer explanation) Right. The half-hour is thirty, the hour is sixty.
C: Right, I ask because I’m really only going to need, um, the service of your women for about, uhh… a few… only a couple minutes. Two or three minutes.
R: Well, we don’t do that. You have to take the half-hour or the hour.
C: Right, the interesting thing of it is-I don’t know if you’ve heard… of who I am before… (crazily fumbling) I’m, uh… I’m uh… I’m running for, uh, for Congress. (forgetting name) My name’s Charles Langley, um, and the reason I was interested in becoming a client of yours, the reason I would need one of your women, is for, uh, well, uh, a promotional, uh, event I’m trying to arrange.
R: You mean for an outcall?
C: Yes, it’s an outcall of sorts.
R: Well we don’t do outcalls, so… you would have to call probably an escort service or somethin’.
C: Well… uhh… th- the woman wouldn’t have to appear in any house. It would be on the public streets.
R: (aghast) Pardon me?
C: It… well, if I could present to you what I, what I had in mind. With the degradation of the current, uh, state of mind in America and the current “morale situation,” I was thinking that a hero is what people would want to vote for in Congress. America needs a certain heroism. I was hoping to stage an event in which I could, heroically, uh, save the life of one of your women.
R: (laughing) Well, I don’t think…
R: …we’d be interested in that.
C: We’ve arranged for a bus, a Metro NFTA bus, to be coming down Delaware Boulevard, right in front of Niagara square, in front of the city hall. The bus would look like it’s careening out of control. Possibly the bus driver would appear to be inebriated or, uh, drugged–he’s afflicted with one of the problems that affects so many inner-city dwellers these days. Your, uh, your woman would be walking out in front, I would step in front of the bus–the bus driver I’ve already contacted, he’s already in with this plan–I would step out in front and save the life of your woman. And then, um, hopefully a photographer or a media representative will be, uh, around to capture the moment. Really, it will capture what, uh, America needs right now: a sort of symbolic heroism, especially with the on-going War Against Terrorism that President Bush is, is trying to wage. There’s no woman in your, in your program that would be, uh, suitable for this purpose?
R: Not, not that right now I could tell you, no.
C: Well, is there any woman in your program that is familiar with the school vouchers, uh, idea? Any woman that could speak with any sort of articularity about welfare reform?
R: Mmmm… no. Hm-mmm.
C: (sighing) How much taxable income are your women making in a year? Are they concerned about the astounding rate of high income taxes, uh, in New York?
R: Oh, everybody is.
C: Everybody is? Oh, okay! I agree. This is one of my, uh, this is at the fore of my campaign platform. If we could establish a flat-rate tax system and–get a woman, a commoner, to speak about it, uh, to a media representative, after having just been heroically saved by Charles Longley–Chuck Longley, GOP Candidate for Congress from Erie County–if we could get one of these situations to occur, I think it would, I think it would really alter the paradigm of the New York tax system. There’s no woman in your house who could help me out in this situation?
R: Mmmm… not right now, no.
C: (hopeful) Tomorrow?
C: Would there be a woman tomorrow?
R: Maybe you could call back tomorrow.
C: Would there be, would there be, uh, a woman?
R: There might be.
C: There might be. Do you know who that might be?
R: No, not at… no, not right now.
C: You don’t have a…
R: I’d have to talk to people first.
C: Is there any of your women who attended a private school?
R: (cluelessly) Uh, for election purposes?
C: (baffled) For their… for high school. Did any of your women graduate from high school?
R: (confidently) Yes.
C: A private high school? A Catholic School? Maybe using a school voucher system?
R: (actually trying to think of the correct answer) Mmmm… that one, I’d have to ask.
C: Okay, because, again, the dilapidation of the public schools is something I’m trying to hit at this year. Uh… any of your women unionized? Does a union have a tight, firm hold, uh (realizing the blatant sexual overtone), a grip on, uh, on your industry?
R: Well those are things that I need… to… talk with everybody here and see who’s… got what, (chuckling at her own ignorance), flexible…
C: Are there any collective bargaining agreements? A sort of paralysis on the industry led by corrupt union forces?
R: Mmmm… no.
C: (condescendingly) None that… none that you would know about. (Deep, prolonged sigh.)
R: (trying to be helpful) Maybe if you call tomorrow, I’ll have a little bit more to talk to you about.
C: Okay, if you could just keep in mind, it’s Charles Longley.
C: Republican Party Candidate for 2002. I have the primaries coming up, so if you could please help me out, uh with any woman who, uh, might be able to act as a sort of “damsel in distress.”
C: Thank you.
R: You’re welcome.