By Evan Perkins
There was a time when America was less forgiving and much
quicker to send people off to the loony bin than suffer their
This country is now a more politically correct and tolerant
empire. Because of this, crazy political figures have become the
norm and no longer the exception.
In order to get the issues out to the public, a certain amount
of eccentric behavior has become necessary.
Look at television programs like “The Daily Show with John
Stewart” or “The Colbert Report.” Craziness is key.
Steven Colbert, the host and creator of the “Colbert Report,”
has created an amazing program. Taking cues from such historical
personas as Jonathon Swift, Colbert has created an alter ego to
expose the fallacies in his opponents’ arguments.
Both hosts make outlandish claims for the sole purposes of
drawing attention to the issues they feel are crucial.
When the Tea Party movement urged the public to boycott
Campbell’s soup after the company had one of their soup lines
Halal-approved for Muslim consumers, Colbert addressed the issue in
his typical fashion.
“Are Muslims taking over our food supply?” asked Colbert. “Is
it any coincidence bananas are crescent shaped?”
Colbert fights crazy with crazy, and it works.
The fact of the matter is crazy gets attention. However, it
doesn’t necessarily bring credibility along with it.
Popular political fanatics such as Jimmy McMillan of “The
Rent is Too Damn High” party get plenty of media attention, but not
Anyone who has seen McMillan’s YouTube videos is forced to
seriously doubt his political credentials.
His World-Wrestling- Federatation-like attire, lack of
insightful comments and menial understanding of government policy
are not becoming of a politician. Nonetheless, he continues to
promote his campaign for governor of New York ” and musical career
” on his website.
There is a clear divide between the individuals who promote
their causes in wacky ways and those who are simply nuts.
So can one overly eccentric individual actually do damage to
their cause? Those who follow the out-dated mantra of “any
publicity is good publicity” would say no ” I say yes.
The Tea Party movement is the perfect example of an organization
with radical followers that hurt the group’s image.
The movement’s primary concerns are cutting back the size of
government, lowering taxes, reducing wasteful spending and reducing
the national debt ” causes most people wouldn’t be opposed to.
It is members who preach hate toward different cultures,
genders, sexual orientations and religions that defile mainstream
perception of the group.
Terry Jones, the Florida minister who came up with the idiotic
idea for “Burn a Quran day” is another example of an extremist who
hurt his cause.
Jones has a goal of spreading the Christian message.
What says “Jesus loves you” like burning books and hate speech?
Jones defames the image of Christianity and severely wounds his
cause through his intolerant actions.
Wackiness, creativity and eccentricity can greatly aid in
promoting a cause. However, there is a limit to craziness. Respect
Illustration by Aaron Castrejon
Crazy politicians get noticed
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