Monday, October 22, 2012

Political Signs and Too Many Coincidences

This weekend I was up in New Hampshire at the Daigle household for a good combination of relaxation and work. I think the change of scenery made me all the more productive, as I was able to pound out a bunch of books for a couple of upcoming research papers (the liturgical use of Psalm 130 and the evolving concept of Jewish Messianism in the different prayer books of Jewish movements over the last 30 years). I had so many library books in my car I could have registered as a bookmobile. I was thinking about cataloging them in order of their Library of Congress call number and creating a corollary card catalog in my glove compartment so I would be better able to locate the needed book over the weekend but thought it might end up being counter-productive.

In addition to the many great things we did this weekend, I also got to hear about Andrew's deep hatred for political yard signs.

We were brainstorming about going around and collecting them to do some type of installation art involving a large bonfire in a town square, but we thought there might be legal ramifications. The more I thought about political yard signs, the more I agree with Andrew. Here's some of my general complaints:
1. Do they really sway anyone? Are there people who think on election night, "Well, I saw 58 Smith signs and 49 Jones signs, so I've got no choice but to vote for Jones." Now, I know it gives a candidate name recognition, but isn't that offset by your opponent doing the same thing? Wouldn't it be better to sit down with your opponent and agree not to litter our beautiful cities with these eyesores?
2. Everyone breaks the law. You're not supposed to put signs on public property or right-of-ways, but anytime someone has an inch of grass in a median, you have 34 signs sprouting up like rabbits for every Tom, Dick, and Sally running for office. It's gross.
3. Do people think that multiple signs for the same candidate on one tract of land will change someone's mind? Do they think it playing out like this? (Driver and potential voter passes first sign for "Jack Numbermuncher for County Auditor" sign). Driver: There's no way I'm voting for that numbskull. (passes sign #2). Driver: I don't think I like that Jack, guy. (passes sign #3) Driver: I'm totally ambivalent about Jack. Maybe I'd vote for him, maybe I wouldn't. (passes sign #4) Driver: Yup, I'm definitely voting for Jack. (passes final sign, rolls down window) Driver (yelling): I'm voting for Jack Numbermuncher and nobody can stop me! (as he drives to Numbermuncher's campaign headquarters to sign-up for the phone bank for any minute he can spare between now and the election). The same goes for signs. Does anyone think, "You know, I don't know about this candidate, but since I saw a much larger sign in my neighbor's yard, it must mean that this candidate is that much more serious and qualified to run my city/state/country. He/she has my vote!"
4. They are an environmental disaster. I think when these sign printers die, they will have to spend 1000 years in an environmental purgatory planting saplings before being allowed through the pearly gates (not that I believe in purgatory or pearly gates).
5. (One of Amy's complaints): Yeah, we get it; you're patriotic. We still don't need every sign to be some variant of red, white, and blue.
5. And one of Andrew's complaints to finish it off: If you are going to support a candidate, at least have the decency to install the sign so it is level with the ground and will stay standing if anything over a 10 mile-per-hour gust of wind hits it. Sloppy signage = lackluster candidate.

So, while I'm really enjoying Ken Follett's Winter of the World, I am finding his plot technique of always getting a main character to the most memorable battles/events of World War II a little contrived. Uh oh, the Dewer family's departing on a poorly-timed trip to Hawaii in early December 1941! Wonder if anything will happen? Guess who just signed up to be a paratrooper in early 1944? Another main character just got assigned to something called the Manhattan Project and watched Enrico Fermi develop the first nuclear reactor. I mean, if anything monumental is happening, one of these ten main characters somehow gets a front row seat.

Today I'm in the process of moving. I am almost completely set up in Jamaica Plain but just am running a few more things over this afternoon. So, I should get going. Getting geared up for the debate tonight! Later.

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