Monday, November 21, 2005

Okay, I Get It Joel

So this latest Joel Stein column in the LAT got slammed about out and about in the 'sphere. At first, I thought I might've lost my journo-crush on the baby curmudgeon who does nothing so well as fall up the pecking order after opening his mouth too freely, too often. But the piece that started out snarkily calling Special Election voters suckers and opining that "every percentage point of voter turnout is just another justification for continuing this voting fad", actually up and bitch slaps Arnold, Swift-ly:

If California is giving up entirely on representational democracy, we've got to sex things up for our regular monthly elections. As Karl Rove figured out by throwing gay marriage on every state's ballot in the last presidential election, if you want people to come out, you've got to scare the crap out of them. . . .

At least the 2003 California recall was like watching pop culture explode all over politics, leading to an argument over the role of celebrity in democracy, a topic we've been dancing around since Ronald Reagan. And once we were paying attention, we started talking about incumbency and the power of special interest money. The second recall of a governor in U.S. history may have seemed silly, but it was really a populist uprising the likes of which we hadn't experienced since Richard Nixon was hounded out of office.

All last Tuesday did was cause people to talk about how unnecessary elections waste money. Maybe that in itself was worth it. I just hope your stupid vote didn't hurt the message.
Stein walks a fine line, to be sure. Sometimes sarcasm becomes so impenetrable that it's no longer capable of serving its purpose. I think Stein runs to the edge, but not over here. I'm still mulling though, so second opinions are welcome.

No comments: