Robocalls were the big story on cable news yesterday. Apparently the automated calls are growing nastier and more frequent, inundating and annoying the voters in key swing states. CNN reported that studies show "half of us hang up on our robo friends" while "other voters listen angrily and then hang up." Question. How were those studies conducted? Over the phone? And how scientific is a study that concludes that all telephone calls end with someone hanging up?
It's a sad commentary on our times that 12 days before the most important election of our generation, the issue news networks are covering concerns not wanting to go over our monthly minutes. Joe Biden recently insisted that McCain stop the robocalls sent out by his campaign, saying, "John, stop your ads! Bring down those robocalls!" Kind of has a "Tear down this wall!" vibe to it, only, it's about pre-recorded messages. Imagine the historic significance of a Reagan speech that demanded, "Mr. Gorbachev, stop calling my home during the dinner hour!"
Aside from spreading untruths and being ridiculously annoying, the robocall thing is upsetting in that it shows us how little politicians have learned about America. Namely, that if you absolutely must use robocalling techniques, you absolutely must hire Samuel L. Jackson to record the message. No one is going to stay on the line while Giuliani bashes Obama, but if Samuel L. Jackson had a few things to say about Snakes on the Straight Talk Express, I'd probably put the call on speakerphone.
Note: Given the nature of the name Robocall, it's nearly impossible not to think of RoboCop. I really wanted this post to be about RoboCop, but I'm not sure I've ever actually seen that movie, so I came up with very little. I did, however, stumble across the tagline for the 1987 film. "Part man. Part machine. All cop. The future of law enforcement." And I thought to myself, why is this not the tagline formula for every movie? And then (true story) I stumbled across the tagline for Beverly Hills Chihuahua-- "50% Warrior. 50% Lover. 100% Chihuahua"-- and realized that it already is.