Saturday, October 25, 2008

The New Scarlet Letter

It is too bad that the folksy folks that Republicans court are so anti-science. If the GOP base embraced SCIENCE a bit more the race-baiting scam that John McCain enthusiast Ashley Todd perpetrated may have been successful beyond any campaign managers' wildest, Rove-like power fantasies. Instead, the ill-thought out and poorly executed plan by Ashley to gain support for her candidate by inciting fear, one of the few tactics Republicans understand, backfired and will surely result in some people voting for Obama.

A little bit of SCIENCE would have ensured the hoax would have worked or at least had survived more time under media inspection. SCIENCE is a good part of everyday life in spite of some people insisting everything is derived from a mystical origin. Here are some aspects of SCIENCE that if factored in to the scam, would have prevented it from blowing up in her face like some sort of experimental-thing gone wrong.

BIOLOGY: People were not zapped into existence with interior workings formed of a single uniform substance like wax or, say, clay. People are full of meaty, brothy stuff. One of those things people are full of is the brain. While many people eschew the brain, I assume Ms. Todd possessed one. Too bad she didn't use it that day.

OPTICS: Like brains, eyeballs have been around for millions of years. Todd missed the opportunity to use them effectively. A quick examination by Todd in any mirror would have revealed that something was wrong with her artwork and that the letter B was reversed. Then again, all the Republicans I know don't actually look at themselves in reflective surfaces since they would then have a hard time living with themselves. I wouldn't be surprised to find strips of newspaper strategically taped over much of the mirrors in Todd's home, leaving only enough shiny surface to reflect a bit of her cheek. It's easier to avoid meeting their own gaze that way.

Here's my Ashley Todd joke:

"Wow. The guys who own that company must be totally rich!"
"What company is that, Ashley?"
"Ecnalubma. They must have at least five cars at every hospital in America!"

HISTORY: Morton Downey Jr. tried a similar scam a number of years ago. He got busted for it because of stupidity. Those who forget history are dumb and will repeat it. One of the things I learned over the years about criminals and grifters is that usually more than one person is required to be successful in any shifty endeavor. This is because from the viewpoint of the perp everything makes perfect logical sense because what they plan and execute fits perfectly their preconceptions of how things are. Many crimes are solved simply by someone else observing that the claims or circumstances do not fit in with reality.

TECHNOLOGY: As fallible as the internet can be when performing research a couple of simple search terms like "McCain" and "President" would have returned thousands of pages of wacky results and their content would have revealed to Ashley what a bad idea she was entertaining. Also, ATM machines have cameras now.

Fortunately for America, this time evoking fear ensured failure.


  1. Science need not be dragged into it. All Ashley needed was a sense of HISTORY. 20 years ago Morton Downey Jr. pulled a very similar stunt and scrawled a swastika on his face. Alas, unlike Charles Manson, Mort didn't quite grasp the subtleties of mirrors so his little prank backfired. Hilarity ensues, then and now.

  2. This stunt of writing on your own face (or in this case, carving)and claiming criminal attack is apparently part of some psychosis. According to what I read at the time of the Downey incident, attackers don't write on a victim's face, but are instead beating the shit out of them.


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