Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Oct 02nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Vote Bluto Tuesday For Change Today

Kim_Luke2or I Can’t Believe I Watched the Whole Thing
The June 8 election has come and gone, and now, with the exhale of relief as the primaries fade, comes the gasping inhale of sheer exhilaration as the California general election looms. From now until Nov. 2  it’s campaign free-for-all season. Some of you are pretty excited about this; some of you dread it like a root canal. Still others are making that confused golden retriever face right now, muttering “election?” Being a fan of overworked clichés, I’d like to say I’m as political as the next guy, but here in Santa Cruz that can be a dangerous statement. Some of the next guys are much more informed, embroiled and passionate than I; some of the next guys don’t believe in voting.

Some of the next guys will rant your ears off on issues that only exist in their beautiful spotless minds. I personally don’t tend to wax political, even in an election year. Let’s just say, to borrow a phrase from the art world, I don’t know politics, but I know what I like. This generally leads me to the candidate and issues I support. But one thing I know for sure—I don’t like campaigns.

As campaign season gets underway, so will the slews of similes. Campaigns are like locusts; they come every few years, make a lot of noise and leave a mess. Campaigns are like childbirth; nine months of discomfort, a night of screaming at one’s closest support staff, resulting in at least one crying baby. Campaigns are like baseball; aficionados assemble fantasy teams while the rest of the country tolerates highlight reels. Campaigns are like a cheap buffet; all you can eat, but nothing you can stomach. Campaigns are like Van Halen; someone’s got to sing, and it’s not always David Lee Roth.

I’d like to throw another simile into the ring for consideration: Campaigns are like Popeye cartoons. Not merely because they are poorly colorized and include veiled support for the tobacco industry, but for a host of intricate parallels, to wit:

Campaigns and Popeye cartoons have been around since we were kids, since our parents were kids, and so on. We take them for granted.  They are an American tradition.

Campaigns and Popeye cartoons display social behavior not widely tolerated in real life. Name-calling, scheming and deceit, sexism and class-ism and the bending of truths (all by adults), are de rigueur on the trail or in Sweethaven.

Campaigns and Popeye cartoons demand your attention, with dizzying aftereffects. Whether surfing channels or web headlines, it’s hard to resist the tomfoolery, the creative use of the English language and even the soundtrack to either a classic campaign (“Don’t stop thinkin’ about tomorrow …”) or a classic personal motto (“I’m strong to the finich …”).

Campaigns and Popeye cartoons are difficult to explain to your children. No, that’s not how we talk about people; Yes, they’re speaking English. Yes, that was disrespectful to women; no, she’s not making good decisions. Yes, he should use his words; no, his words are not making sense. No, not all men act like that; yes, all men act like that.

“Ah,” you are thinking, “but campaigns are necessary for our government and society to carry on in the prescribed manner set forth by our forefathers, whereas cartoons … aren’t.”

On the surface this appears to be true. However, take a brief moment to indulge in the historical and current successes of cartoons, through generations of Americans and pendulum swings of social vernacular and relevance, and you will see powerful evidence that cartoons may not be necessary for our society to carry on, but they are absolutely an established vehicle for carrying on. Popeye cartoons were marketed to the adult viewer, much like a host of animated guilty pleasures today. From Fritz the Cat, Bugs Bunny, and The Flintstones to Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, The Simpsons and South Park, cartoons (now dressed up as “animated television series”) are here to stay.

So how do we, The Voter, fit into this ungainly pas de deux?

In the 1930s and 1940s, the voting public, dependent on easily manipulated print and radio media, may have been likely to fall under the sway of an impressively outlandish or strong-armed politician’s zeal. These voters, fittingly represented by Olive Oyl, may have even blushed at the fuss made over them by incumbent Popeye and challenger Popeye (“You saved my life, you great big hunk of hero!”).

Today, a similar voting public, deadened to smoke-and-mirrors by instant and gluttonous media access, is more likely to be jaded and unimpressed. Today’s voters, aptly represented by Dr. Girlfriend (The Venture Brothers, Jackson Publick—if you don’t already, please watch it), all savvy and cynical swagger, may well banish the battling politicos, Monarch and his grudging Venture, into the backyard to wrestle it out like tussling siblings. (“He's a lawyer and a super villain. That's like a shark with a grenade launcher on his head.”)

What does this portend for the cynical voter? Do we pour another bowl of cereal, awaiting the moment when one candidate or other eats the predictable can of spinach? Do we align ourselves with the first pitifully super-powered candidate who proposes socio-economic marriage, and adopt his arch-enemies and henchmen? Will we ever again notice the real Pow! Blammo! or Kablooey!?

Personally, I’ll keep my television tuned away from campaign coverage, immediately recycle the shocking amount of printed politi-junk, and wait for a handy-dandy spreadsheet with columns and checkmarks, letting me compare side-by-side the factual stances and voting history of each candidate.  Until then, to paraphrase Popeye the Sailor, “Bring me some des(s)ert without any sand.”

 


Kim Luke votes early and often, a trick she learned in Chicago. Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Comments (3)Add Comment
Strong to the Fiinich Indeed
written by Scott Cherney, July 15, 2010
Good stuff. And honestly, is there really a better campaign slogan than "I Yam What I Yam"?
Esquire, Bon-Vivant...Good Time Charley
written by Martin G., July 09, 2010
Such passion, such insight! I am swayed...nay, I am convinced...that this writer is on to something. Maybe not the truth, maybe not even this reality, but something. She seems to understand that politics, much like entertainment, current or otherwise, must appeal to the masses. And to capture the hearts and minds of the great unwashed is truly challenging. You must be bold, you must stand out, you must conquer their fears and their distrust. And who better to do that than a politician...or a commitment shy uneducated itinerant sailor from the 1930's who seems to have a whole passel of "nephews" that look like they were cloned from him....
Kim Luke? I vote YES!
written by Adrian, July 08, 2010
OK this girl is fun to read... very original. More please!

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

On the Waterfront

As the wharf celebrates its centennial, a personal reflection on its essential place in Santa Cruz’s history

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Melinda’s

New Capitola bakery takes gluten-free goods to the next level

 

Do you think you are addicted to technology?

Santa Cruz  |  Unemployed

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”