Friday, May 30, 2008

New York Times discovers Minnesota has the internet; I tell Al Franken how to run his campaign

Maybe the fact that my mother constantly repeated this phrase while I was growing up explains some of what is wrong with me.

This story has been bouncing around for a bit (a week is a long time here on the interwebz), but apparently not only have The New York Times' intrepid reporters found out that we have the internet here in the MN, but there are these people called "bloggers" who write about "politics," and they sometimes have "readers" that they "influence." Ahem. Sorry, got kind of out of control with the quote marks there. That's right, kids: Senate Race in Minnesota Shows Power of Bloggers. That's a shitty headline, am I right or am I right? I guess blogs are still "news" to some people (some people who don't spend all day at their computers, ruining their hands and wrists, like us cool kids).

The long and the short of the story is about how douchebags serious political bloggers in Minnesota are striking out against Al Franken, the presumptive Democratic nominee for Senate. SHOCKING, I tell you. Did you have any idea that people express strong feelings on the internet, and sometimes it reflects negatively on their targets? I, for one, think that people should keep their opinions to themselves and off the toobz. As far as the Franken himself goes, my inappropriate crush on him has already been covered on this humble blog, but the actual meat of the NYT story involves conservative bloggers successfully exploiting his campaign's missteps. The gang over at Minnesota Democrats EXPOSED (all caps added for dramatic effect*) EXPOSED some back taxes Franken owed, and now are totally playing up the "Al Franken wrote stuff for Playboy" angle. I personally don't give a shit that Franken used to employ a shitty accountant, and I'm certainly aware of his notable past as a public figure and a comedian, but I think Jeff really hit the nail on the head as to where the campaign itself has gone wrong:
If Franken were upfront about this stuff, if he’d rushed to disclose it and apologized where necessary, maybe he could brazen it out, like Jesse Ventura did with some of his more colorful** past exploits. But that’s the other problem: he hasn’t been. Quite simply, [the Playboy] column should have come from the Franken campaign itself.

Anybody who has been gung-ho about Al Franken from the beginning already knows about Al Franken. I mean, he has an awesome feud with Bill O'Reilly and Fox News. He's a comedian who's been saying funny and outrageous things in the public sphere for a few decades. If you know him and like him already, the fact that he (at least) once joked around about porn isn't really your top concern as far as his candidacy goes.*** But for the people who are unconvinced, or don't find him funny, or have been living under a rock since the '70s, some of this stuff is going to be shocking and possibly fatal to his senatorial campaign. Regardless of the relatively objective lameness of these people, I agree with Jeff that all this stuff should have been right out on the table in the beginning.

Al Franken has been running for Senate for like two years, it's not like they just threw this campaign together last week and then realized that he once wrote for Playboy. For all the regular Minnesotans who aren't as pathetically steeped in pop culture as some of us big city internet-addicted types, I think it would have been beneficial to just say, "Hey, Al Franken has said some crazy shit, but it was funny, and he is awesome, and it's time to get over it." And then they could just spend the rest of their time reminding everybody what an undeniably huge douchebag Norm Coleman is. I mean, COME ON. Have you seen his MySpace? He's got like ten times fewer one-tenth as many friends as Al Franken, and his top friend is the Minnesota Young Republicans. And we all know that MySpace is pretty much just like real life.

Anyway, Franken's campaign should take back control of the story. Bloggers will blog, much like I am blogging right now, and there's nothing you can do about that. But the campaign has got to stop trying to brush Franken's comedic past under the table. Face it, love it, move on. I have. Now go win an election. (People like you!)

*I think I might get more traffic if I changed the name of this blog to Blonder and Thinner EXPOSED. Although anyone who is Googling that phrase will probably be sadly disappointed by my content.

**"Colorful" is officially one of my favorite euphemisms.

***Note: my personal feelings about actual porn are mixed at best, but I can't muster up the wherewithal to care about shit like this.

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