I Predict We're About One Month From the Hair-Pulling, Eye Gouging Stage of the American Election

Via the People’s Republic of Seabrook comes a story of one graphic designer who was fired from his job for heckling George W. Bush at a rally.

A man who heckled President Bush at a political rally was fired from his job at an advertising and design company for offending a client who provided tickets to the event.

The fired graphic designer said Saturday he won’t try to get his job back.

“I’m mad less about losing the job — I’m more mad about the reasons,” said Glen Hiller, 35, of Berkeley Springs. “All I did was show up and voice my opinion.”

Now, before I get all high and mighty about the state of the first amendment in the United States (and consider for a moment the irony of a Canadian commenting on this), let me point out a couple of things that Glen Hiller did wrong.

  1. He went to the Bush rally using tickets that had been supplied to his company by the complainant in question. So, he was on somebody else’s dime, thus increasing the likelihood that this somebody might take offence.
  2. He somehow allowed his name get applied to his heckle, which I suppose is not exactly a criticism given that I feel that one should stand by one’s opinions, but in this day and age, it still allowed the opening for return fire.

However, this is where Glenn Hiller’s contribution to this new example of the glorious paradox that is America ends. Because there is no doubt that the person whose complaint resulted in Mr. Hiller’s firing went overboard, and responded to a mild miscue causing small embarrassment with a flame thrower that could be seen for miles. And moreover, we now have a name to go with the complainant. From the People’s Republic of Seabrook:

The client who “disapproved” of Hiller’s comments and who is responsible for his termination is Sandy Sponaugle, of Platinum Public Relations. Her email address is sandy@platinumpublicrelations.com.

The worst thing a public relations firm can have is bad PR, and her company’s name is now being carried all over the country as a result of her foolish actions.

Though it remains to be seen whether Platinum Public Relations is in for a period of bad business. After all, most PR firms try to win friends and influence people. Platinum goes the extra step and tries to squash like bugs the people they can’t influence.


Wider than this, I think this whole sorry situation wouldn’t have happened if Bush himself wasn’t so chicken as to try and duck protest. It’s not unusual for a heckler to be removed from a political rally (more often than not, this is done for the heckler’s own protection), but it is unusual for these protesters to be attacked at their places of work. It is not unusual for political candidates to speak to a trucked-in full house of supporters while demonstrators chant outside, but it is unusual for those protesters to be moved to the next street, if not the next city.

But Bush is just a symptom of a wider problem taking root in North America. On Sunday at gym, I saw the closed captioning for (I believe) Jerry Falwell, who was using some pretty sexist language to describe Teresa Kerry and the “danger” “a woman like her” posed to America should she “get control” over the White House. To see such unChristian hatred on display turned my stomach. It is, unfortunately, matched by people who are too willing to throw the Bush/Hitler comparisons about.

People in general, especially those of strong political opinions, seem less willing now to view the other side with even a modicum of respect. So sure are they that they hold a monopoly of truth, they don’t want to hear even a single dissenting voice. For it is not possible for Democrats/Republicans/Liberals/Conservatives/NDP to have even a share of the truth. A person who opposes your policies opposes you, and must be shouted down.

It’s sad, really. What has to happen to shake each side up and make them realize that the other is just as human as they are?

I do see from the CBC ticker that Bush has attacked negative third-party ads which attack both him and Kerry. Good words, Mr. Bush, good words. This is a step forward. Where do we go from here?

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

Onto much lighter subjects: We had a good time with Cameron coming over for a visit this afternoon. Among the treats he brought us was a DVD of The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra.

This movie is a tribute/parody of the really cheap and bad B-movies of the fifties. The movie pokes fun at all of the cliches and plot devices typically found in the worst of these movies. There’s the heroic scientist, his dutiful wife, aliens, maniacal laughter, animated skeletons, and a sexy animal woman.

Trust me, it works.

Actually, it is risky viewing. Because rather than pull out cliché and cliché at breakneck pace, like the movie Amazon Women on the Moon, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra pays homage to the whole atmosphere of the B-movie. And where B-movies drag, so too does The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. Still, it’s easy to forgive with lines like “this meteor could lead to advancements in the field of science!”, “I’m a scientist; I don’t believe in anything!” and others delivered in perfect deadpan. The creators of this movie knew exactly what made bad movies good, and they packed as many good(bad) elements into the film.

Perfect for affectionados of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Probably something to avoid if you’re… not.

Slow Posting

The next issue of Alternatives Journal is due out any minute now (literally) and my week has been busy preparing for the mailout, and preparing to train the new promotions manager in the ins and out of circulation. I also put three more resumes into the ether and more are expected. The :Trenchcoat Farewell Project: continues to near its end, and there is some website work to be done before a meeting with my clients this coming Saturday.

For these reasons and more, if things get a little slow here, you’ll know why. My apologies.

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