Friday, September 24, 2004

Ten Silly Ways to Enliven The Debates

The first Presidential Debates will be held next week, September 30th, in Miami, and will be moderated by Jim Lehrer. They will be aired on ABC at 9pm Eastern. The parameters have just been revealed, and to anybody who's tracking the decline of democracy, they hold no surprises. There will be no extemporaneous questions from the audience. Everything will have been submitted beforehand. Candidates are not allowed to ask each other questions, but can pose rhetorical ones. And then some silly business with the size of the podiums (podia?)...

But none of that matters, because Americans will not watch. Because, inevitably, there will be something more "exciting" on another channel. Maybe Baseball. Maybe Survivor. Maybe reruns of Frasier. Whatever it might be, John Q. American is more likely to seek escape than to wallow in this inevitable swamp of circumlocution, however historical it may be this year. And I understand him. I really do. I, myself, can only stand a certain amount of politicking before my central nervous system begins to hum unpleasantly and my attention span begins to carpet-wiggle like a petulant puppy. So I get you, John Q. I am you.

So what can the candidates do to snare my interest?
Well, here are some (very silly) suggestions:

1) FX: If it is logistically impossible for the candidates to arrive at the Debates having crawled out of the wreckage of a spectacularly crashed airplane, to realize they are the only survivors, and for John Kerry to deliver a distressed George W. Bush's baby, then at least occasionally one of them should look over his shoulder and whisper in a frightened voice: "If you hear anything...run..."

2) Melodrama: George Bush should confront Kerry with the confession that he has been sleeping with his wife, and the two of them have taken out a huge life insurance claim on the New Englander, only to have it lapse when Theresa fell down a well and emerged an amnesiac who only speaks in riddles. Kerry should weep violently and throw the podium at a wall.

3) Game Show: The candidates should be forced to eat horse anus while trying to balance on a Corvette that is suspended ninety feet in the air and covered in French fry grease. The first candidate to get in the car, punch a button which releases the car from suspension, and land in the back of a moving flatbed is the new President.

4) Mature: Kerry should seduce Bush in French, threaten to spank him roughly on the bottom, and make him sit aimlessly for seven minutes while he braids his eyebrows. Bush mutters shyly that he's "always wanted a Boston Browjob." Theresa and Laura engage in Sapphic domination on a king-sized bed suspended from the ceiling. Elephant-on-Donkey action only for those with Closed-Caption.

5) Superhero/Action: Bush and Kerry must join forces to defeat a steroid-inflated Jim Lehrer and his army of robot clones. Kerry bores Lehrer into stupefaction while Bush manages to convince him, in simplified and ardent language, that breathing is "for terrorists."

6) Comedy: Kerry and Bush argue over whose mother-in-law is the most annoying. Kerry makes a shocking and hilarious admission that he is routinely forced to take "ketchup baths". Kerry wins.

7) Indie: Bush's cocaine problem is driving he and Kerry apart. They decide to drive to New Mexico so Bush can dry out. Kerry finally comes to grip with Bipolar Disorder and begins a 12-Step program to wean himself off Afrin Nasal Spray. Special appearance by Dick Cheney's daughter as the token lesbian.

8) Religious: Seven hours of Bush being slowly and mercilessly tortured by Kerry and specially-assigned interrogators from the Anti-Defamation League who wear black leather executioner masks with the Star of David emblazoned on them. (This will only be aired on Fox.)

9) Fantasy: The Balrog, freshly freed from the Mines of Moria by the black magic of Saru-Cheney, chases Kerry around the stage while Bush mourns in melancholic delirium for his dead son who is not really dead, and, in fact, never existed. George Stephanopoulos must take the One Ring to Mount Doom, and in the process of wrestling with Anne Coulter, loses a finger.

10) Cinema Verite: Cameras follow Bush and Kerry without pause the day leading up to the Debate. Kerry spends most of it playing Battlefield: Vietnam on his X-Box. Bush visits the Elders of Zion and sacrifices thirteen minority children. Just before the convention, the two Bonesmen thumb-wrestle for the Presidency, as is dictated by the tenets of that Secret Society. The debates are a sham, as usual, each candidate's real goal to push his favorite alcoholic beverage. Kerry: Miller. Bush: Budweiser. Lehrer: Absinthe with laudanum.


In the sad event that nothing this exciting happens, then I will watch anyway, because it is important, is quite possibly the most important election of our lifetimes, and will very likely decide the fate of Democracy in the Middle East.

Unless Junkin' is on. I love that show.


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