I have been checking out some of the news analysis of why Mitt Romney lost, and a lot of it has to do with the Republican party. Basically the idea that pandering to a marginal minority in order to attract it runs the risk of letting that minority take over. The party has behaved as if these marginal minority views it welcomes belonged to the mainstream. Which in turn marginalizes the party.
That reminds me of a grindcore metal friend I had in college. I actually started hanging out with him a) because he’s awesome and really smart but also b) because I thought it was funny that he smelled bad, was really anti-social and listened to bands with names like Pig Destroyer. After a while of hanging out with him, I started trying to figure out why he liked grindcore. I concluded that he didn’t actually start out liking it seriously; he had started listening to it as a joke. But that the more he had entertained the joke and listened to grindcore, the more he had gotten into the music and started adopting its customs. In a self-aware ironical way at first, but in practice it became who he was.
I made a similar unintentional lifestyle choice myself, also in college. I was up in New York for the 2002 CMJ music festival, and my friend and I stopped at Mug’s Ale House in Greenpoint for a beer before heading to her apartment. Well I met this English dude and started talking to him, and it turned out he was a tabloid photographer. My logic: “Shit, that’s hilarious. I have to hang out with you so that I have a great story to tell all my friends.” To top it off he was 15 years older than me and had nine fingers. So one thing turned into another, I get back to school and the stories from the weekend are hilarious. A month or two later, around Christmas, I am invited back to New York to see him. Which, why would I turn that down? We go out and hunt Britney Speares together; he takes me to some really nice restaurants in Manhattan. Now I have more awesome stories to tell my friends back at school. And then I get invited back to New York in February. I start picking up on tidbits of the trade, like how a photo of Nicole Kidman treading waste-deep in snow will earn more than one of her at the park on a nice day. We talk about whether I can maybe help out with his business. And then I am basically dating him. And then I am really dating him. A nine-fingered, middle-aged, English tabloid photographer exiled in New York, who smoked a disgusting amount of cigarettes and also I think was a functioning alcoholic. Was my boyfriend. Because I thought it was such a great story to tell all my friends.
Bad political strategy.