Christine O’Donnell: “I’m you.”

11 October 2010

I’m grading papers, so naturally all I want to do is anything other than grade papers.  But Christine O’Donnell’s new ad seems so analogous to the awful prose and twisted argumentation I’m reading from my undergrads that I couldn’t resist a study break.  “I’m not a witch,” she tells us.  “I’m you. … I’ll go to Washington and do what you’d do.”  Is it just me, or it this both absurd and brilliant?

“Saturday Night Live” did its best to mock the “witch” part of the ad — and rightly so, as this is easily the most mockable.  As truly weird as that is — indeed, I thought at first that by witch she meant the Barbara Bush-style euphemism for bitch, but I couldn’t imagine that anyone had called O’Donnell a bitch — what I’m really stuck on is the  “I’m you” comments.  I truly don’t know what to think.  Of course, I’m not from Delaware, but I’m fairly certain from everything I know about her that O’Donnell will most certainly not do what I would do if I could go to Washington.  The ad doesn’t tell us anything specific about what she’d do in Washington.  On the surface one might simply say that this is the most shamefaced, transparent political evasion ad in history.

But then there’s the ironed hair, the dark suit, the pearls, the adorably dimpled cheeks.  O’Donnell isn’t us — rather, she’s a Shirley Temple who’s grown up to do a very good job of appearing to possess gravitas.  She’s got just enough grade-school teacher in her to speak slowly and clearly, as if we’re eight years old.  But that’s not the worst political move in the current election cycle by a long shot.  She expresses a kind of gentle feminine affect custom-designed to seem less Mama Grizzly than like your earnest, well-intentioned best friend, or sister, or girlfriend.  She has no positions, only camera presence — and we can’t deny the presence.

Dumbest or smartest ad ever?  Let’s all remember the election that takes place in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and cry for our utter loss of reason in an overly media-savvy world.  We now have on our ballots the politicians we deserve.

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5 Responses to “Christine O’Donnell: “I’m you.””

  1. wittywife Says:

    I’m a bit undecided on her as well, but I’ve read that she’s now slipping rapidly in the polls.

    I can’t wait to vote in November… oh wait, I live in DC, pay high taxes, and have no representation. That’s right..

  2. Hattie Says:

    Did she say “back room” or “bathroom?” (joke)
    She makes me want to throw up. That is my mature and considered opinion. How vapid can you get?

    • didion Says:

      At least we can reassure ourselves that her message isn’t working in Delaware. Not only do I agree with you about O’Donnell, but I said the same things about Sarah Palin, and now she seems to have become a king-maker. Thus I am prone to worry.

  3. aroomofheroine Says:

    This is what happens to girls who miss out on being school captain. They fight to be library monitor, to stamp everyone’s books. They keep the nasty books about witches off the shelves.

    In order to engage with as many voters as possible, O’Donnell has engaged the rhetoric of subtext: the desire to be every woman to every woman of legal age to vote. But is she every woman?

    This speech is the last resort of one who knows that deep down she does not relate to every woman in America, much less her issues. More than her patronising message and delivery, those pearls in particular, shit me.

    The naive accessory of a girl desperate to impress middle class women of a certain vintage, O’Donnell’s pearls are a noose about her neck: marking her disconnection from young working class and unemployed women.

    In her bid for votes, O’Donnell alienates men, patronises women of all demographics, and disengages voters of both genders who ascribe to ancient and some might argue counter-cultural beliefs and practices.

    Hmmm, perhaps O’Donnell ought to have taken a holiday down under this year. It has been nothing short of an exciting, boring, tense, and disgustingly Machiavellian year in Australian Federal politics.

    • didion Says:

      Not that I needed to get more cynical about politics, Heroine, but the latest word on O’Donnell’s campaign is that she’s making an absolute fortune from it.

      The Australian and American elections always seem to mirror each other in depressing ways, don’t they? Such that even a win by Labor/Democrats feels like a defeat, considering the kinds of people who get into office. But honestly, you’re welcome to Christine O’Donnell if we can get her to leave. (For that matter, we’ve got a lot of even worse political refuse to export. Is there any way such exports can bolster our economy?)


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