Monday, February 04, 2008

Hillary's On The Phone. Does Anyone Want To Say Hello?

My mom used to do this great thing when talking to electronic voices on the phone. All we ever heard was her side of the conversation that went something like, "Oh, Hi Stacy. Well, your calls are important to me too. Oh no, I never mind. How are your kids by the way? Oh boy, I know what that's like."

Eventually one of us would ask, "Who's on the phone?" and my mother would answer in a whisper, "It's Stacy. She's very busy," before pressing the speakerphone button and letting us in on the joke. As The Girl from Ipanema played over the phone Deb continued the fake conversation. "Stacy, I noticed before that you were speaking in Spanish. I take it you decided to visit Madrid after all."

Stuff like that always got a laugh out of me.

So today the phone rang and the caller ID said, "Friends of Hillary Clinton."
Hey, nice of them to call.

-Please hold for an important message from our friend.
-What's the deal, yo? Haven't heard from you fools in forever. Thought we were meeting up for Super Bowl.
-Hi, I'm Hillary Clinton.
-Hillary! Hills Bills! Hillaryous! What up, girl? I was just saying something to your buddy about Super Bowl. But Super Tuesday's more your slice of pie, right?
-Elections...I'll vote vote...
-Hey, is Bill there? He was sort of ruining your campaign there for a hot minute, huh? Tell him I say holler. vote vote...
-Aiight, I actually have to run. I'll call you soon though. No, really. Let's do brunch or something. Ok. You too, bye.

Hmm. I should probably get a job soon.

But how great would it be to come home to a bunch of voicemail if Hillary left pre-recorded messages that were like, "Hi, this is Hillary Clinton. I'm at the mall and my car won't start. Can you pick me up? Hello?... Are you there?... Hello?" And then called back and left another pre-recorded message that said, "Hi, it's me again. Still at the mall. If you're there pick up."

It'd be hard not to vote for that.


Macnabbs said...

Here in the UK the coverage of the primaries (does that make the November elections secondaries?) has been, if not at saturation point, then at least very damp. I guess the cynical among us think that UK interest in US elections is justified because it’s important to know who’ll be setting foreign policy for the next four years while the even more cynical think that it’s low season over here for politics and so all the media have migrated to the US in order to grow fat on expenses claims and saturated-fat laced coffee.

The media are doing a valiant job trying to explain the US voting system to Brits, who kind of gave up after that whole ‘hanging chad’ business. If we want to know about what’s going on, we’ll rent ‘Primary Colours’. What’s most impressive is the sheer amount of razzamatazz that is injected into the whole affair. In fact, I’m not aware of any other context that the word razzamatazz can be used in. It’s like one of those tiny sea creatures that live near – but not too near – volcanic vents on the sea bed. They can only live in the very few inches between the extreme heat and extreme cold – the area scientists call ‘toasty’. Like them, ‘razzamatazz’ can only exist in the presence of streamers, whooping, hollering and televised debates that look like they could spill over into cage-fighting at any moment.

Don’t know what sort of media attention it’s getting there in the US, but over here we have impending local council elections. Oh yea. The build up to it may not stretch to automated ‘phone banks (or as I like to call them ‘nuisance calls’) or razzamatazz, but it does involve some fairly heavy leafleting and, the other night, a rather large and sinister man in a hat and anorak combination that hinted at body parts stored in his freezer expounding the virtues of the Conservative Party on my doorstep.

Brits are funny about getting ‘phone calls from computers. We’ve never trusted computers since seeing ‘2001’, Skynet scares the hell out of us and there’s always that sneaking suspicion that the gas board billing computer has a malice subroutine. I think if we received a call from one asking us to vote for a particular person, the combination of technophobia and intrusion of privacy would be overwhelming; leading to tutting in the very stongest possible terms and, who knows, a spoiled ballot paper. Maybe that explains the hanging chads?

Jess said...

America is a teenaged girl. Clearly.

1) The fact that UK and world news cover our elections while probably 1 out of 6,000 Americans know who Gordon Brown is ("You mean the fisherman? That's Gorton's! duh!") is like a 15-year-old with a cell phone glued to the side of her face squealing, "Yeah, right! I'm not going all the way over there for some lame party. They can come here."

2) Sadly, I've not heard of your upcoming local council elections. In order for our news outlets to squeeze in world political coverage we'd have to trim the 26 minutes per hour of celebrity news and national weather. Oh, changes in the UK? That's nice. But it's raining in Tacoma, so, you know, don't want to bury the lede. America as a teenaged girl says, "Local council? More like Local Naptime. But let's show those guys booing each other in the House of Commons. That's always funny. Oh, there's a dog that can make eggs? OK, let's show that then."

3) The constant calls, invasion of privacy through annoyance and complete disregard for what other people want is, I think, how adolescence is defined. Dick Cheney with his phone taps in the US was just America as a teenager making a 3-way call to a friend and sitting quietly on the line. London is just as bad though with CCTV. is that different than skynet? When i lived there i was so paranoid by the cameras i checked to see if my fly was down like 60 times a day.

4) Very impressed that you have comments to make about our political system. If asked to explain British politics i think most Americans would be hard-pressed to do so without a deck of playing cards.

Oh, right -- well done with the razzmatazz observation. very funny. i think you're right. Razzmatazz is held in storage until it's needed for elections or occasionally, for a big dance recital.