Saturday, September 20, 2008

I Have No Vote And I Must Scream

What the Hell?

Originally, I couldn't figure out exactly who or what exactly this billboard was advertising. A new perfume? A nightclub? A steamy erotic thriller directed by Quentin Tarantino? Duct tape? Maybe it was a secret cabal of crazed movie critics who kidnapped Jessica Alba to stop her from ever stepping in front of a camera ever again.

"It's probably a warning to all of the untalented non-actresses in Hollywood," I said to myself. I imagined Roger Ebert placing a note in Scarlett Johansson's mailbox that read, "IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE NEXT, PUT THE SCRIPT DOWN--NOW!"

No such luck.

Apparently this controversial advertising campaign is by the voter advocacy group Declare Yourself and their goal is to get the Facebook generation to step away from their XBoxes long enough to vote. "I think it's important for young people to be aware of the need we have in this country to get them more active politically," Alba explained. "People respond to things that are shocking. If you don't register and vote and make a difference and hopefully change the bad things that are happening in our country, you are essentially just binding and muzzling yourself."


Good idea, lousy execution.

O.K., I still think Jessica Alba is a bad actress, but I have to respect her for being an intelligent woman trying hard to do the right thing. Unfortunately, she's wrong because the ad is stupid, creepy, exploitative, and offensive. It's politically correct cheesecake. Whatever marginal value it's supposed to have is negated by the blatant sexism. It reminds me of those dumb and outdated ads by PETA where sensitive new-age guys can ogle semi-naked celebrities without feeling guilty about it.

And do you know what's worse? It won't work. That's a big problem. Too many damned kids are probably gonna stay home in November. At a recent celebrity-populated shindig sponsored by Rolling Stone magazine, comedian Bill Maher observed, "The polls always bear it out: It's nice when musicians get involved, but they don't sway elections. Puff Daddy said, 'Vote or Die'--and Puff Daddy might actually kill you--but people still didn't vote."

Cynicism? Laziness? Indifference? Who knows? Only Republicans believe in the seductive allure of easy answers. What I do know is that this upcoming election is going to be decided by the narrowest of margins, and we saw what happened eight years ago when people stupidly deluded themselves into thinking that there wasn't a difference between the two candidates. And the idiots who can't be bothered to vote this time are going to have to live with the consequences of their non-decision a lot longer than old farts like me.