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Longing for an end to the liberal lovefest

July 4th, 2004 Dylan Tanner - June 30, 2004 Standing amid the throng of political hangers-on hovering outside the Fox Tower after a Saturday showing of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" reminded me there's a reason I go to movies alone. The bleary-eyed moments after a film ends are some of my favorites and I hate to share them. I cannot stand sullying the emotional effect film has on me by reducing it to the realm of small talk. I can think of nothing worse than giving myself over entirely for two hours to someone else's vision and then being immediately struck with the obnoxious question, "What'd you think?" So as I stepped out of the Fox Tower theatre alone this weekend, my eyes still adjusting to the late afternoon sun, I considered myself fortunate. That is, until the activists descended. And if I previously thought, "What'd you think?" was obnoxious, I was in no way prepared for "What are your opinions about feminist socialism in the new global economy?" "Fahrenheit 9/11" opened this weekend to nearly as much fanfare and speculation as the war it is lampooning. The inopportune fate that placed me at the theatre it premiered at in Portland gave way to some sort of karmic retribution that forced me to run the patchouli-soaked gauntlet of activists and political solicitors that were hovering around outside. If fundraising within the conservative right is the embodiment of corporate back room deals, then fundraising amongst liberals is like staring down an entire sidewalk of used car dealers with dreadlocks. I was able to avoid the majority of the left peddlers, but received an especially forward reception from a young fellow in threadbare corduroy jeans fervently pushing John Kerry bumper stickers. "Hey, you should put a Kerry bumper sticker on your Volvo." "How do you know I drive a Volvo?" "Don't we all drive Volvos, man?" What is it with the renewed sense of we among the left? It's as if all of these disparate tribes of liberals have come to an accord that until the election in November we will put aside all differences and agree to rabidly misrepresent a candidate none of us would've given half a chance less than a year ago. Putting a John Kerry bumper sticker on my car is not a political act-it's a social one. No one is going to see me driving around and decide to vote democratic because I look like a smart guy. They are simply going to align me with a socio-political demographic. Which isn't tough to do anyhow, as you may have noticed I drive a fucking Volvo. It's one thing to agree that George Bush needs to be removed from office. And I was OK with the unspoken agreement that those among the left would all vote to see that happen, no matter the candidate. But to celebrate John Kerry as a candidate is like delivering food baskets to the West Hills - entirely misdirected. It's as if the left's new sense of oneness has opened the floodgates of "liberal" marketing and we're all lapping it up. We finally have a mass culture identity and are at last, as politically minded individuals, a viable demographic. John Kerry is not a voice of the new left. He is a congressional puppet of big business, who just happens to be in the fortunate position of not being George Bush. And by that same token, Michael Moore is not some great prophet of the everyman, but a talented propagandist working within one of the largest corporate systems in the world. There is nothing grassroots about a $23.9 million opening weekend. It's just great marketing, and unfortunately we've all fallen prey to it. I can't wait until November when all this is over and we can stop the charade. We'll go back to covering our cars with Fugazi stickers. I can go back to hating you for eating meat, you can go back to hating me for not riding a bike and we can all go back to hating mass media for not giving the left a voice. All this togetherness is giving me the heebie-jeebies.

Source: PSU Vanguard