Given the cozy proportions of the Vermont political landscape, it isn’t surprising that posts from this site should show up in campaign mailings by the current crop of candidates. Campaigns are always hungry for good news, and so a kind word — from any source — is worth passing on to potential supporters.
The Welch campaign, the Dunne campaign, and the state Democrats have all — at one point or another — offered potential donors an appetizer tray of VDB.
Which makes sense, given that we have written some very nice things about all of those organizations and efforts.
But yesterday an alert reader forwarded something strange and untoward: the Tarrant campaign’s June 5 glossy email-roundup (“Greetings from the Campaign Trail!”), featuring among other coverage VDB’s May 29th post, “The Novelization of Rich Tarrant.”
We were eating a corn muffin at the time, and we nearly pollinated the monitor when the words finally registered.
At first, we assumed that the Tarrant camp must have snipped out the one spinnable sequence from the piece — in which we argued that Tarrant’s long, sequenced, fabulously expensive biographical commercials would inevitably move his numbers — and eliminated the post’s more cutting remarks.
But no: they passed on the whole piece intact, including the line where we compared Tarrant to the Abominable Snowman from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. (Granted, they dropped the link that allows you to compare Rich’s banner here, with the but even so.)
We’ve always wondered how Chrissie Hynde feels every time she snaps on her radio and hears “My City Was Gone” — her devastating environmental anthem — sampled as the lead-in to the Rush Limbaugh program.
Now we know.
And so we did some hard thinking last night. Could it be, we wondered, that the Tarrant camp did a quick cut-and-paste and never noticed the Rich/rampaging snowbeast comparison? Or that we’d called their candidate “breath-takingly clumsy”? No, no campaign could be that careless.
There was only one logical conclusion. The Tarrant camp read the piece, in its entirety — they just didn’t get it.
And that produced more late-night soul-searching, more self-flagellation: had we failed to make our irony user-friendly enough? The caricatures help signal the reader, but do they get the job done?
And sure, comparing a guy to a huge, snaggle-toothed, foul-breathed, dim-witted snowmonster seems like a huge irony flag to you and VDB.
But finally it became undeniable: we have been insensitive to the needs of the irony-challenged, over this past year, those who struggle every day within the cruel limits of comprehension.
And with that realization, we wept.
But not for long. Almost immediately, we bounded out of bed, and by first light, we had a product prototype that should put the problem to rest once and for all: VDB, enhanced with new Easy-Grip Irony®.
Let’s take the last two grafs of the post the Tarrant campaign purloined, in their original form. After writing that “Much work still remains to be done” in order to elect Bernie Sanders, we pointed out that Tarrant’s campaign people will no doubt bombard voters right up to the final hour:
“And the nail-biting won’t stop before Election Day: if I were writing the Tarrant novel, I’d have a special, climactic installment prepared for that last crucial week. Something to bring all the previous narrative elements into play, elements hundreds of thousands of Vermonters are now carrying around in their subconscious minds, each elegantly crafted, each painstakingly sequenced.
“And each rounded off with the bittersweet strains of a fiddle, playing somewhere away inside the red barn that always hovers just to one side of Tarrant’s tanned, smiling face.”
Now, in roundabout satirical fashion, we were pointing to all of the elements that combine to make the Tarrant campaign so off-putting: the massive self-funded expenditures by a guy with no hands-on experience in government or policy, and the way that bottomless pockets allow the wealthy to all but colonize the minds of the television-watching public.
The adjective “tanned” is a word of which we were particularly proud: a one-word haiku bringing to mind the whole Florida mansion/first residence/second residence debacle that hobbled Tarrant’s campaign from the get-go.
But clearly the satire didn’t find a purchase with Tarrant’s people. So here is the same sequence, with all of the irony Easy-Gripped®.
“And the nail-biting won’t stop before Election Day [Big Huge Basketball Man BAD]: if I were writing the Tarrant novel, I’d have a special, climactic installment prepared for that last crucial week. Something to bring all the previous narrative elements into play [US Senate = Basketball? Nutsy-Cuckoo], elements hundreds of thousands of Vermonters are now carrying around in their subconscious [Rich Man Use $ To Climb in Head] minds, each elegantly crafted, each painstakingly sequenced.
“And each rounded off with the bittersweet strains of a fiddle, playing somewhere away inside the red barn that always hovers just to one side of Tarrant’s tanned [When Snow Fall, Big Rich Basketball Man Tan Vast White Butt at Florida Mansion], smiling face.”
You can see the possibilities, we’re sure.
No more misunderstandings. No more elitist divisions between those who “comprehend” jokes and those who don’t. No more heart-breaking parties at which the Tarrant camp find themselves ostracized for “not getting” a particular strain of cocktail conversation.
No more accidental, duty-free importing of VDB into the fundraising campaigns of candidates we oppose with every fiber of our being.
In an Easy-Grip® world, everyone’s on an equal playing field. And VDB just wouldn’t have it any other way.