Friday, September 19, 2008

Of South Park, Sorority Soccer, and Sandra Dee...That's Right ELECTION 08!

Note: I did not want to post this blog as a follow up to my intro. I personally feel that doing a political blog is not the tone I want to set. However, I have not posted anything in a couple days and of all the pieces I was working on, this was the most ready to here it goes.

The Political Blog

“Do you remember when life used to be simple and cool?”
Kyle-South Park, Osama Bin Laden has Farty Pants, 11/7/2001

I’m loathe to do a political blog. I don’t like politics. I was a Political Science major and since graduation I have become more and more turned off by politics. Part of it is that I don’t like the nature of the beast. I took a simulated Congress class during my Junior year of college and it successfully killed any interest I had in the subject: 55 grade-grubbing Poli-Sci Majors back-stabbing each other in a simulated environment is bad (so bad that I never went to class, even though I was “Dick Cheney” and held the tie-breaking vote in the "Senate", I was able to squeak by with an undeserved C- because I coached my TA’s team in our sorority soccer tournament, and was hooking up with her little sister); a situation where the stakes are real and the participants have more invested in their actions than a grade is much worse (I want to insert a “maybe Cheney is hooking up with his TA’s little sister” joke here...but that’s just too disturbing). Part of it is the role the media plays in the current political climate. Fox News is obviously the gold standard in Propaganda/Blustering/Opinion perpetrated as news; but the other channels aren’t much better. I was stuck in the Atlanta airport recently at 5:00 AM, nothing was open. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t buy anything, I coudn’t even get drunk, so obviously I was very irritated. I tried sleeping, but I couldn’t. Why not? Because CNN was blasting full volume in the terminal and the blither that was coming out of the TV was more than I could bear. The first time its on, its interesting to hear about Sarah Palin’s first interview...when its being replayed for the 502nd time and being analyzed to death by a pair of “Strategists” whose only strategy is to agree with party lines...I don’t care anymore.

But sadly the election is a big deal right now, so to stay relevant I am going to cover it.

The quote at the top of the page is a reference to the state of the world pre-9/11. As a 16 year old when it happened, this quote really summed up my thinking. During the Clinton years, everything did seem simple and cool. Hell, the Clinton years just were more fun. All in all, the events of 9/11 weren’t the Republican’s fault, but pretty much everything else since then is.

The Democrats are at fault too. They spend more time backbiting each other like a couple sorority girls who blew each others formal dates then they do seeing the long game of how to run a campaign. Barack Obama is the most electable Democrat of this century. If he doesn’t get elected its Hillary’s fault.

Or it would be....if we were a Nation who made our political decisions based on rhetoric, party lines and the media. Oh you say that IS how we make our political decisions?

That is an understandable guess. We definitely don’t make our political decisions based on rational thought, theoretical analysis, and general common sense.

No. There is a simple formula to how we elect our leaders.

We elect the “Bad Boy”.

We are a nation of sheltered, Sandra Dees who can’t wait to surrender our virginity to the first guy who comes along with long hair, a motorcycle and keeps us out past our curfew. Often, we choose these types instead of our innocuous, platonic, male “BFF”...candidates usually more qualified to govern.

I believe that every election since 1980 has been decided by this reasoning. See my analysis below. In case you don’t know how these elections turned out, the winner is in BOLD.

1980 Ronald Reagan vs. Jimmy Carter: How can Ronald Reagan, the oldest president ever elected be considered a bad boy? I admit it's a bit of a stretch. But think about it. Carter the aww shucks, intellectual Georgia peanut-farmer vs. Reagan, a former actor. Even though Reagan was 148 when he ran against Carter. His Hollywood background gives him some Bad Boy cred. The Vinnie Chase of the 1950’s. We can just imagine him sweet-talking some innocent extras back to his love trailer during his guest appearance on “Wagon Train”. Plus we all now Carter was a veritable altar boy.

1984: Ronald Reagan vs. Walter Mondale: Mondale was from Minnesota, pitting Reagan against a nice Mid-Western boy instead of a nice Southern boy only increases his Bad Boy appeal, especially when you consider that at this point Reagan had also successfully ended a hostage crisis. Reagan goes from Vinnie Chase to Colin Farrell back when he was having sex with a barely legal Lindsay Lohan in elevators while the paparazzi watched.

1988: George Bush (I) vs. Michael Dukakis: George Bush, a former fighter pilot vs. Michael Dukakis...a short Greek man. I was 3 years old during this election so all I know about Dukakis is that he was short and Greek (as mentioned previously) and that Jon Lovitz plays him on Saturday Night Live. A fighter pilot definitely is more bad ass than Jon Lovitz.

1992: George Bush (I) vs. Bill Clinton: This was the first election where I had any idea what was going on. I remember my mother saying “Bush is the president, Perot’s a Billionaire, and poor Bill Clinton has to play his saxophone to get attention!” Well Bill Clinton in shades on Arsenio playing that sax gave him bad boy cred that money or experience can’t buy. He also carried his bad boy cred into office...ask Jennifer Flowers, Paula Jones...that underage waitress at the BBQ place he impregnated according to Primary Colors...oh that was a movie with John Travolta? Anyway...

1996: Bill Clinton vs. Bob Dole: Bob Dole endorsed Viagra...Bill Clinton got freaky in the oval office while talking to Diplomats on the phone. I know both of these happened AFTER the 1996 election, but it illustrates my point nicely.

2000: George W. Bush vs. Al Gore: Drunken Frat Dude who owns a baseball team vs.well...Al Gore

2004: George W. Bush vs. John Kerry: Kerry = Gore 2.0...same boring Democrat...New exciting way to lose....

So given our predilection for Bad Boys what does the 2008 election hold?

Well...given his “Change we Can Believe in” campaign....its hard to paint Obama as a bad boy. His campaign would like to see him as a bad boy in the traditional Washington scene, but that’s not the kind of Bad Boy we are talking about. Any mother would love it if their daughter brought home Obama . As for McCain, well, mothers would be upset if their daughter brought home McCain but only as far as being upset that their daughter brought home a man in his 60’s.

This one may go down to the VP’s. I only pay lip service to politics, which means that I don’t pay enough attention to know anything about Joe Biden...which is probably indicative of his lack of a bad boy quotient. Then there is Sarah Palin...the under-qualified, cougarish, self-proclaimed hockey mom from Alaska, with a pregnant underage daughter...

Oh Fuck.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

If you are reading this, you have discovered my blog. Welcome. Given that this is my first blog I am willing to bet that we know each other. At this early stage in my blogging career, I doubt that this Blogspot address that I just made up will get much traffic. Therefore my readers can be lumped into one of two categories.

A. A friend of mine on Facebook who saw this when I posted the link in a shameless attempt to create readership.

B. My Mother, who will no doubt be chastising me for the many grammatical errors in this blog.

Note: My Mother actually has Facebook, but she will not see the link because we are not Facebook friends. I love my mother with all my heart, she did a great job raising my sister and I while juggling a healthy marriage and a career. She made me the person I am today. However I refuse on principle to be Facebook friends with her. Being Facebook friends with your mom is the 21st century equivalent of saying "But my mom says I'm Cool!"

So I decided to submit my entry to the already oversaturated blog market, frankly because I wanted to and as I used to say entirely too often when I was 17:

“I do what I want”.

So what is the point of this blog’s existence? What can people find at my blog that they can’t find anywhere else? Well, before I tell you what you will find, I will tell you what you won’t find.
  • MATH: To anyone who google searched “derivative” to find a website about calculus so that you and your little math buddies can talk about equations, and variables and theorems and all that other stuff that I don’t care about, try again. I don’t like math and I don’t like people who like math. I used to be good at math, until sixth grade when the problems stopped being “6x8=48” and they started being “Why does 6x8=48?”...I don’t know, I don’t care, leave me alone. Also, in sixth grade Mrs. Kiraly gave me a Check-Minus on my math homework instead of the Check I had obviously earned, because I forgot to write my name in the upper right-hand corner, after that I just kind of checked out when it came to long story short no math at my blog. Apologies to Good Will Hunting.
  • ANGST: This is not going to be a blog where I whine to you about issues in my life or tell you about some slight that one of my friends paid me. That is a waste of my keystrokes and your reading. If you want angst watch the new 90210 or read someone’s MySpace Blog, that should give you your fill.
  • ANALYSIS BASED ON EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE. This blog is going to be a hobby of mine. Everything I say will be my opinion. So I’m kind of like Cable news, except I admit it. Please don’t be that douchebag that reads something I write and says “Well actually according to the most recent Gallup Poll...”, as I said about math, I don’t care, leave me alone.

So....what will you find at

You will find my musings and ramblings on a variety of topics...Pop Culture, Sports, Politics...maybe even Sex. I feel like most writers can write intelligently about sex and I would like to someday...but I won’t do it until I have the emotional maturity to not have it sound like a recap of previous conquests.

I will usually write about whatever I feel like writing about when the urge to blog strikes, but this Blog will have several recurring features:

  • Lists: You will often see features where I quantify Movies, Songs, Politicians, etc...based on a concept or idea. Not groundbreaking work, I know, but a feature I feel like doing. Concepts will range from traditional lists like “Top 10 Guilty Pleasure Songs” to lists that are a little more outside the box such as “The Ridiculous List” a list of songs, events, fads or people that I just find plain ridiculous.
  • “My Friends are Idiots”: Most of my friends are young, college-educated, upwardly mobile professionals, and great people who I’m lucky to have in my life. That being said, they do or say some of the dumbest shit I have ever experienced in my life. This will be a recurring section following these escapades.
  • Wayyyyyy Too Many ‘Simpsons’ references: This won’t be a feature, but a trend you will notice in my writing. Ever since I was young, I have loved “The Simpsons”. I own all the episodes on DVD that have been released and have watched all of them with commentary. It’s a good thing that I played Varsity sports in high school and college and have been laid, because if I hadn’t, the fact that I have a blog where I quote the Simpsons too much is highly symptomatic of geekdom.

In closing, I would like to explain the name of this blog, Mr. Derivative. Those who know me would likely expect “Mosko” to appear somewhere in there...but alas no. I named it Mr. Derivative because....

It is what my sister would call me when I’d copy her. She has a terrific blog, Read it, its better than mine.

A lot of my writing style and content is just an inferior rip-off of my favorite columnist, Bill Simmons aka ESPN’s “The Sports Guy”, read it here:

I really don’t offer anything that hasn’t been offered up in a blog its derivative...but its my version so I gave it a that’s Mr. Derivative to you.

So if you are interested you can stay tuned for my next blog or turn to another channel....

(Checks earpiece, listens to producer)

Do not turn to another channel. (Simpsons Reference)