Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hopefully Hillary Clinton reads this blog

A few weeks ago, I came up with the brilliant money-making scheme of trying to set myself up as a Welsh-language pundit for the upcoming U.S. election. At first I thought to pitch the idea to Barn, but I already write for them, so I know they haven't got any money.

Then I thought I might take back the mean things I've said about Y Byd's total and embarrassing incompetence, and try to work myself into their good graces in time for their March launch date. But then they "revised" their launch date again -- because they are totally and embarrassingly incompetent. (a)

The BBC might throw me on the radio in a pinch, I thought, but my strange fanatical devotion to the Beeb means I would want to actually prepare. I don't have the time or energy to be a legitimate pundit. Especially considering that my first reaction to Mike Huckabee's winning Iowa was: "Who the hell is Mike Huckabee?"

I'm not the only one who thinks that, though. John Bolton today on the BBC referred to Huckabee as "Mike Huckleberry." For our friends in the Home Nations, Huckleberry Hound is a cartoon character who personifies the Southern simpleton. Bolton's flub is apropos; Huckabee doesn't believe in evolution.

On the whole, I am not nearly interested enough in the election to do any punditing (at least, that's the case now. BBC Cymru, please check back with me in summer).

That said, the other night I found myself pondering the fate of poor Hillary Clinton. Some part of me likes Hillary (b) because she reminds me ever so slightly of my mom. Here's a picture of my mother planning an attack on a village in the Philippines. See the resemblance? But the difference between my mom and Hillary is that people like my mom.

Look at any internet forum that relates to Hillary and one word will show up over and over: Bitch.

Usually it will be written in all caps, followed by exclamation marks. For reasons that aren't wholly clear, a large number of Americans despise Hillary. Vehemently. With vitriol and venom. And even still I feel I am understating it. Think of that girlfriend you had who made you so angry that you were literally paralyzed with rage. This is how American conservatives feel about Hillary. Their eyes roll back, they go into spitting fits.

Knowing this doesn't make her particularly appealing to people like me, who feel abandoned by the American experience. While Hillary is almost certainly the best qualified of any candidate -- Democrat or Republican -- the fact that she is likely to perpetuate and possibly escalate the ridiculous polarization of America makes her unappealing.

Barack Obama, meanwhile, has Oprah's endorsement. Oprah is our queen. Except, whereas Britons doubt the head of their church is actually divine, Americans know that Oprah is holy. If the Blessed Virgin Mary were to return to Earth for just a day, she would spend half of it waiting in queue for tickets to Oprah's Christmas show.

So, our gal Hillary needs to sort out her image problem. At 4 a.m. Monday, amid an essay-fuelled panic, I suddenly came up with the answer: She should embrace it.

Although getting teary-eyed helps to show she's a real person, I think the best way for Hillary to combat her reputation as a bitch is to cheekily embrace being a bitch.

If I were her campaign manager, at her next debate I would have her wait for John Edwards to bait her on an issue. In her response she would say something like: "John, if you keep that up, I'll cut you with my devil claws." Then she would turn to the camera and quickly (and with a certain degree of apathy) make cat claws with her hand. In the likely confused silence that followed, she would say nonchalantly: "Well, that's what everyone thinks of me." And then she would go about answering the question in her usual way.

We would then work in similar little comments at stump speeches. Possibly even go so far as playing Elton John's "The Bitch is Back" as she takes to the stage.

Pundits always want to tell you something the candidate hasn't. With Hillary acknowledging her bitchiness, the punditry would likely then focus on the fact that she is actually a swell person (which, reportedly, she actually is). Bill, and Hillary's staff, would underline this by always speaking positively of her.

By summer, the perception of Hillary as a bitch would be watered down to the extent that it wouldn't hurt her as badly. By that time, everyone but Obama will likely have fallen away and she will be able to contend for the Democratic nomination without having it be so much a contest of Really Likeable Guy That Oprah Approves Of verses Soul-Stealing Bitch of an Ex-girlfriend.

Damn, I'm a genius. You're welcome Hillary.

Of course, all that said, if I were in Minnesota on 5 February (when primary elections are held in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and 23 other states), I'd be voting for Obama.

There's no way I'd disobey the word of Oprah.

(a) For those of you outside the Welsh-language world, Y Byd is a Welsh-language daily newspaper that has failed to launch for nigh eight years. Every so often they will claim they are close to launch. Then they "revise" those plans and push things back further. All the while, they keep selling subscriptions.
My claim that they are incompetent is giving them the benefit of the doubt. In truth, I sometimes suspect it is a scheme playing on the desperate hopes of Welsh speakers who want so much to see their language grow that they will hand over £156 ($300) for a subscription. Personally, I think Y Byd should be investigated. But when I broach the subject in Welsh, the general response from friends is akin to one's standing up in chapel and shouting: "Well, for fuck's sake! This Jesus fella's not going to show up this week either, is he?!"

(b) I once had a news manager who got really frustrated with journalism's a habit of using women's first names in second reference rather than their last names. So, whereas Tiger Woods would be referred to as "Woods" throughout a story, Michelle Wie would be referred to as "Michelle." The manager suggested this was a sign of our ingrained sexism. There may be something to that claim, but since said manager was a woman, I ignored her. For her sake, though, I'll point out that my use of "Hillary" on second reference is done for the sake of distinguishing her from the other famous Clinton.


Bugail Aberdyfi said...

Don't tell me that you've put money into the 'Y Byd'. That fat old bird is never going to fly!

Chris Cope said...

No, I haven't bought a subscription. Nor was I interested in doing so even several years ago when Y Byd didn't seem like a scam. I don't like to purchase things that don't exist. I would rather spend that money buying land on the moon or some such thing.

I know a few people who have bought subscriptions and I am angry on their part. If I had invested in this clusterfuck I would be livid.

Dafydd Tomos said...

As I mentioned in my blog in Welsh, Y Byd seems like a purely academic exercise. If it had been planned and run by real business people, they would have started small and grown. It could have taken advantage of the (very late) growth in internet use in Wales circa 2002. The longer it goes on, the more irrelevant the newspaper industry becomes (as newspapers morph into multimedia websites) and it gets vastly more expensive and inefficient to launch a real newspaper.

BBC Cymru used to have great coverage of US events through ex-pats with Americymro accents, doing amateur reporting. I can't remember his name now but there was one old guy who would give crackly reports on the phone with a picture of his grumpy bespectacled face on screen. In the 80s, before 24-hour news and the world seemed bigger, it was like he was reporting from the moon.

Chris Cope said...

Minneapolis-St. Paul news station WCCO does the same thing, talking to people from Minnesota if they happen to be near major world events. I am always secretly hoping for a violent Welsh nationalist uprising just so I'll get a chance to speak to anchorman Don Shelby.

Rob said...

i have to say i think your hillary idea is brilliant. i'm not sure how serious you are, but if i were on her campaign i'd seriously consider it.
her policies and experience make her the logical choice for my vote, but i find her terribly unlikeable. i have no problem with strong women; with hillary it just seems to be something visceral.
anyway, if she *could* loosen up and show some kind of human side -- especially with humor -- it might do a lot for her electability.
maybe you should work in politics...