Monday, August 16, 2004

(10 staggeringly pedestrian sonnets) On the Occasion of AMERICAN CANDIDATE -- episode 3


RHETORICAL VERSE /
TEN (software-verifiable) SHAKESPEAREAN-FORM SONNETS
and ONE HAIKU


{ACS.074_01} WHICH ONE'S "MOST PRESIDENTIAL"

has been asked
{ACS.074_02} in polls that do not carry any weight
{ACS.074_03} in how the game plays out. Results are masked
{ACS.074_04} except the one who wins. Keith Boykin's rate ...

{ACS.074_05} ... of victory is 2 for 2. Keith's won
{ACS.074_06} near half the audience when they watch all
{ACS.074_07} the candidates and judge who's best to run.
{ACS.074_08} How do the others rate? They cast a pall ...

{ACS.074_09} ... on how the others rate along this scale.
{ACS.074_10} Remember that this number does not count
{ACS.074_11} in calculating who shall win or fail.
{ACS.074_12} A number that would seem the paramount ...

{ACS.074_13} ... determinant of who will win the game.
{ACS.074_14} Real measures will not alter Cutler's frame.

{ACS.075_01} WHAT DOES "MOST PRESIDENTIAL" MEAN?
Let's hold
{ACS.075_02} that thought for later.
NOW, CONSIDER VOTES.
{ACS.075_03} When counted, just what story
has been told?
{ACS.075_04} Most surely not about folks with remotes ...

{ACS.075_05} ... who watch and judge then signal
what they think
{ACS.075_06} about the people they see on the screen.
{ACS.075_07} VOTE TOTALS do not rise nor do they sink
{ACS.075_08} by what we're witnessing. But what's unseen.

{ACS.075_09} Like, how Bruce Friedrich ended up on top.
{ACS.075_10} (He was the joke-butt on the radio
{ACS.075_11} for right-wing talk folks. Nor did many stop
{ACS.075_12} to google-eye his manager's breast glow.)

{ACS.075_13} The votes that matter come from "outer space."
{ACS.075_14} Outside the framing of this simu-race.


{ACS.076_01} NO QUESTIONS WILL BE RAISED
about the choice
{ACS.076_02} of process or the meaning of results.
{ACS.076_03} No clear analysis of how that Joyce
{ACS.076_04} speaks without notes and clearly catapults ...

{ACS.076_05} ... her message and her heart into the crowd --
{ACS.076_06} and yet it's blank-eyed Keith's cold legal style
{ACS.076_07} (when he's not reading rhymes)
that has them wowed.
{ACS.076_08} Are all the others beaten by a mile ...

{ACS.076_09} ... on that "most presidential" scale?
And why?
{ACS.076_10} Why don't they tell us what the others score?
{ACS.076_11} Might telling those make "who wins" seem a lie?
{ACS.076_12} Reveal the votes as just constructed lore.

{ACS.076_13} A measure that tells nothing that we need
{ACS.076_14} to understand a presidential lead.


{ACS.077_01} WHO IS "MOST PRESIDENTIAL" ... of this bunch
{ACS.077_02} of castaways -- transported from the real
{ACS.077_03} into reality? When numbers crunch
{ACS.077_04} from stem to stern what will this cast reveal?

{ACS.077_05} Is Gilligan or Skipper, Maryanne
{ACS.077_06} or Ginger, more the one we think is right
{ACS.077_07} to lead the free world? From peas in this can
{ACS.077_08} which one would we elect to fly a kite ...

{ACS.077_09} ... to get us off the island where we're stuck?
{ACS.077_10} That's not what presidential is, you say?
{ACS.077_11} Fine, change the channel, F/X, "Nip" or "Tuck"?
{ACS.077_12} Which plastic surgeon
would you choose to play ...

{ACS.077_13} ... our president. The husband, or the cad
{ACS.077_14} (who turns out is the husband's son's real dad)?

{ACS.078_01} "MOST PRESIDENTIAL" ...
Kerry or George Bush?
{ACS.078_02} Among the Democrats, the press said John.
{ACS.078_03} One scream from Dean and they all gave a push
{ACS.078_04} to knock him off the boat. His pokemon ...

{ACS.078_05} ... deck missing all the magic that he'd need.
{ACS.078_06} Lost all his "presidential" with one yell.
{ACS.078_07} Or so the story goes, the one we heed.
{ACS.078_08} The story of the real that's gone to hell.

{ACS.078_09} AND in one unseen corner AmCan scrolls
{ACS.078_10} its way toward "presidential," Cutler's way.
{ACS.078_11} DID JOYCE'S "Chinese story" summon trolls
{ACS.078_12} to carry her beneath the bridge to pay ...

{ACS.078_13} ... for one misjudgement of the public mind?
{ACS.078_14} Is Bush immune to problems of that kind?


{ACS.079_01} HAS BOYKIN's Harvard Law degree constrained
{ACS.079_02} his mind within a box that keeps him safe
{ACS.079_03} from yelling something wrong?
And has it drained
{ACS.079_04} the possibility of words that chafe ...

{ACS.079_05} ... when he's not reading
from his pre-fab script?
{ACS.079_06} A rhyme or two does not mean something new.
{ACS.079_07} A White House passage may just mean
he's stripped
{ACS.079_08} his personality to "I'm like you."

{ACS.079_09} I'm like the white elite, just gay and black.
{ACS.079_10} I will not rock the boat, but I'll help you
{ACS.079_11} look open-minded. I will watch your back
{ACS.079_12} if we are on the same team. I'm good crew.

{ACS.079_13} My Harvard Law degree means there's no slips.
{ACS.079_14} No fresh ideas will ever pass my lips.


{ACS.080_01} MS. WITTER will be sure to not offend.
{ACS.080_02} Her expertise is parroting what flies
{ACS.080_03} and maybe just a little at the end
{ACS.080_04} inject progressive touches in disguise.

{ACS.080_05} Her research will make sure she mentions facts
{ACS.080_06} (like that Camaro), that will make a bond
{ACS.080_07} in record time, to help her "goals" relax.
{ACS.080_08} She acts as necessary, you'll be fond ...

{ACS.080_09} ... of her unless you somehow strike her wrong.
{ACS.080_10} Then she will gladly peck you in the eye.
{ACS.080_11} Bob Vanech's now that Woody in her song
{ACS.080_12} "that will not go away." Poor Bob, goodbye.

{ACS.080_13} Yes, that's from last week,
but the show replayed
{ACS.080_14} that scene again. Poor Bob was re-filleted.


{ACS.081_01} MALIA seems to think that Dr. King
{ACS.081_02} would praise her choice of clothes,
her choice to wear
{ACS.081_03} what suits her style, including, what's that thing,
{ACS.081_04} she's flaunting in her tongue, and her loose hair.

{ACS.081_05} Malia, don't you know the marchers wore
{ACS.081_06} their Sunday best as they took to the street?
{ACS.081_07} Not facing smiling boys, but dogs that tore
{ACS.081_08} their flesh, and water streams
that tried to beat ...

{ACS.081_09} ... their dignity and strength and dreams away.
{ACS.081_10} I like your joy and style, but president
{ACS.081_11} is "Sunday best" I think ... at least, today.
{ACS.081_12} And now is when you're running.
Be Clark Kent ...

{ACS.081_13} ... and cover up that hip-girl choice for this.
{ACS.081_14} You want to win their vote, not rate a kiss.

{ACS.082_01} WAS JIM STROCK "PRESIDENTIAL"?
Somewhat so.
{ACS.082_02} He's Kerry-esque. He's tall. And dull.
But smooth.
{ACS.082_03} A bit too self-effacing. You must know
{ACS.082_04} to not admit your ignorance, but soothe ...

{ACS.082_05} ... the voters into trusting you know all.
{ACS.082_06} Yes, everything. An answer, not too long.
{ACS.082_07} They need to feel that you are ten feet tall
{ACS.082_08} and know enough to fix all that goes wrong.

{ACS.082_09} Bob Vanech needs to learn some things
from you.

{ACS.082_10} And vice versa. You need force of will.
{ACS.082_11} But let me praise that you know what to do
{ACS.082_12} when called to speak. You have some of
that skill ...

{ACS.082_13} ... the "readers" on the cast so sadly lack.
{ACS.082_14} When speakers speak, they flow.
They don't unpack.


{ACS.083_01} I'm rambling 'bout "the characters" because
{ACS.083_02} that's mostly all there is to be discussed.
{ACS.083_03} Who wins the money won't get much applause.
{ACS.083_04} The game was mis-designed. A total bust ...

{ACS.083_05} ... in terms of what was promised.
(And still claimed.)
{ACS.083_06} BUT "WHAT IS PRESIDENTIAL" still remains
{ACS.083_07} a hard, hard problem. Anyone who framed
{ACS.083_08} that house in some commercial space --
took pains ...

{ACS.083_09} ... to do it right -- would still most likely fail.
{ACS.083_10} Democracy and media, old-school
{ACS.083_11} don't really mix. Though platitudes we wail
{ACS.083_12} especially when they want ev'ry fool ...

{ACS.083_13} ... to buy the same ol' soap suds
when they vote.
{ACS.083_14} My role is pop the bubbles. Build a boat.

# # #

HAIKU CODA

Sometimes you're surprised

when you watch something closely.

And sometimes you're not.