This is uncharacteristic of me, but after watching some of the press coverage of the Democratic National Convention, I just have to get this off my chest. If you’re not into politics you may not want to read any further. I’ll be back to food and kitchen soon enough.
Don’t forget… I warned you. :)
A bit of background: I’m a big Monkees fan. Have been for years. I know, I know… but I can’t help it. I just love those guys. Anyway, back in the late 80s and early 90s, The reunited Monkees were actively touring (minus Mike, of course) and even released a couple of albums.
There were fans who’d travel all over the country to see them (I know this to be true because I was one of them…) and every summer there were Monkees conventions — big get-togethers where the organizers would rent a ballroom or convention center, arrange for discounted hotel rooms, invite celebrity guests and get hundreds of die-hard Monkee fans to show up for several days of memorabilia shopping, video watching and general mayhem.
And the thing was, the vast majority of the fans who attended these conventions were actually perfectly normal, well-adjusted people. They had jobs and families and behaved responsibly almost all the time. They just enjoyed the opportunity to act silly and relive a happy part of their childhood for a long weekend once or twice a year. For most of us, it was simply a bit like Halloween or Mardi Gras with extra 60s flavor — a few days to cut loose in the midst of a generally sedate grown-up life.
But there were a few, a tiny minority, a handful, who were seriously weird. I mean seriously weird. They had Monkees logos and cartoon likenesses of the guys tattooed on their bodies, they showed up dressed in homemade Monkee Man costumes, they legally changed their names to the names of characters from The Monkees TV show. Some of these people seemed to live, eat, and breathe The Monkees, 24/7.
Now guess which group was invariably selected by the local media to interview on-camera when they did their stories on the convention?
Ugh. These wackos gushed and simpered and bragged about how obsessed they were, while the rest of us cringed because we knew the “outside world” was probably getting the idea we were all like that. But there was nothing we could do, because “oh, those wacky obsessive Monkees fans” plays better on-camera than “look, a bunch of normal people having a bit of harmless fun.”
I understand this also happened to the Dark Shadows and Star Trek fans at their conventions, and they hated it as much as we did. And now I see the same thing happening at the Democratic National Convention.
Part of the problem is, the so-called “liberal bias” that right-wing talk radio hosts keep going on about is a lie. Most media in this country is owned by staunch conservatives (like Rupert Murdoch, who’s about as right wing as they get). These conservatives have decided the story is to be that the Democrats are in disarray, that the party is deeply split and on the verge of falling apart, that the Clintons are plotting behind the scenes to undermine Barack Obama.
This is because this is what they want to be happening. The fact that reality doesn’t match their desires is apparently irrelevant. If the story doesn’t happen the way they want in real life, they’ll just make up the story.
So they go out and find the handful of immature, whiny, spoiled brats among Hillary’s supporters and interview them as though their opinion is the majority. And it annoys me as much now with the DNC as it did back in 1988 and 1989 at the Los Angeles and Chicago Monkees conventions.
Are there some Hillary supporters who are now going to vote for McCain out of spite? Possibly. I would hope by the time the election rolls around all but the dimmest would have figured out what a spectacularly bad idea that would be — do they really think Hillary will appreciate them supporting a Republican for the White House? If so, they don’t know the Clintons very well. But, well, some people are just plain dim, and there’s not much the rest of us can do but try to limit the damage they cause.
Are there some who will sit out the elections? Yep, most likely, for the same reason. And they’re wrong and they’re not showing any honor or respect for Hillary by doing so, for the same reasons.
But from what I hear, and what I see, and based on my own personal experience, I strongly suspect these two groups are in the tiny minority, and only destined to grow tinier as Election Day nears.
I just hope the Dems get their public relations/marketing act together to get the real story out instead of letting the GOP and their media mogul allies control the playing field. It’s going to be tough given the anti-Dem bias in the mainstream media, but it’s got to be done.