Their vote counts too
July 22, 2009 12:48 AM   Subscribe

It's important to remember that everybody in our great republic has an equally important voice. [via Reddit]
posted by Netzapper (21 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Absolute genius.
posted by dammitjim at 1:00 AM on July 22, 2009


The guy in #5 who just lavishes praise on the city and the council members is just so out of place. The guy who basically begs to be arrested because they're not letting him talk about water desalination, while complaining that they gave five minutes to "a ranter". And the guy who just reads dollar figures while holding a camera. I don't even know what to say other then to point them out (so I guess that means they are all "noteworthy" but that seems a little, uh, understated). They're like, somehow mildly funny but also awesome.
posted by delmoi at 1:18 AM on July 22, 2009


So, democracy's bad, amirite? I mean, heck, lookit these cranks! They should sit down and shut the fuck up, right? Inarticulate people shouldn't be let near a mic, that's what I'm saying.

Democracy is inherently messy and full of cranks and weirdos. I think it was Churchhill that said 'the best argument against democracy is five minutes with the average voter'.

But man, it's super-snide to just actively take the mick out of people getting involved in local politics. At least they're getting involved, even if a minority (or perhaps even majority) are solely there to grind their particular axe. At least they care.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:19 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Coming from what claims to be a democracy but is effectively a one-party totalitarian state, I would suggest that democracy in action looks messy, but at least these people have a chance to get their voices heard and maybe even acted upon. That is a good and valuable thing.
posted by WalterMitty at 1:23 AM on July 22, 2009


"I used to have long hair and a beard, and I got harrased by the cops all the time. They think I'm a homeless guy! I'm a business guy I shave. And I cut my hair. And now I get accosted by the panhandlers!"

[laughter]

"Ya'know no, it's not funny!!"
posted by delmoi at 1:24 AM on July 22, 2009


I'm so glad I don't live in that meeting. Nice place to visit but golly, Con-Ten-Tious!
posted by From Bklyn at 1:34 AM on July 22, 2009


Coming from what claims to be a democracy but is effectively a one-party totalitarian state,

You're from Texas too?
posted by Avenger at 1:43 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Y'know, this strikes me as the slack-but-supercilious YouTube-equivalent of those political comedy sketches, where a comedian/reporter goes to <not-your-town/state/country> and does man-on-the-street interviews about, say, violence in Niger, and the man-on-the-street is all "Whut?! There's violent niggers runnin' amok sumwhere?!"

Which is to say: not funny at all.

Yeah, we get it. You think they're dumb, and you're afraid of them.

Well, guess what? They think you're dumb, and they're afraid of you.
posted by Pinback at 1:56 AM on July 22, 2009


So, democracy's bad, amirite? I mean, heck, lookit these cranks! They should sit down and shut the fuck up, right? Inarticulate people shouldn't be let near a mic, that's what I'm saying.

Oh, no. I'm not attempting to imply there's anything wrong with what these people are doing. Nor that they should be silent. They have every right to petition their local government. Furthermore, there's something to be admired about their involvement.

But, really, c'mon, how can you not find the guy who was sent by UFOs amusing? Or the dude who has three minutes to get through 50 items and has brought a friend to tell him when the ten seconds alloted to each item is past? Or the homeless guy who asks the city council to tell the police to give him a job?

I'm perfectly capable of respecting their participation in local government while simultaneously finding their positions, presentations, or personal mannerisms hilarious.
posted by Netzapper at 2:04 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, we get it. You think they're dumb, and you're afraid of them.

What?

Well, guess what? They think you're dumb, and they're afraid of you.

Who is the They in your analogy? The Nigeriens? The racist man on the street? The interviewer? Wouldn't the racist guy be more afraid of Nigeriens? It's a somewhat confusing metaphor.
posted by delmoi at 2:10 AM on July 22, 2009


To be fair, food is good.
posted by pompomtom at 2:18 AM on July 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


~crosses Santa Cruz off list of potential post-college cities~

I was planning to say that, regardless of the points these folks want to make during their comments, they needed to think harder about presentation. That is, if you want your message to stick, the delivery needs to be polished. Get dressed like a grown-up, maybe prepare your comments in advance and rehearse them multiple times. Packaging matters and there's no way a rambling neckbeard in a t-shirt is going to be taken seriously at any sort of government function, no matter what he's on about.

I was confident in this notion until watching video five and getting to the crank who insisted that "Barack Obama" was not Barack Obama's name. You know, the guy in the suit who brought a laptop to show the council pictures on? Some crazy just ain't hideable. And if there was something to whatever ZOMGCONSPIRACEEZ he was positing, what exactly did he expect the Santa Cruz city council to do about it? An Illuminati plant has assumed the United States presidency under an assumed name? TO THE BANANASLUG-MOBILE!

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad we live in a society where this sort of time-wasting is permitted. And while these videos made me a little uncomfortable in places, I'll admit I got a kick out of the recurring characters - such as the aforementioned Rambling Neckbeard or the Revolutionary Quotes Lady who dropped her transcribed copy of the Declaration of Independence. I enjoyed imagining the little cringe the council members must try and suppress when they see such a habitual podium abuser make their way to the microphone. But you know what? I think I'm gonna try to reign in my snark a little. Not one of us knew Thomas Paine while he lived. For all we know, he was just as confounding to his contemporaries as any of these Santa Cruz commentators. For all we know, when citizens of late-1700s Boston or New York saw him and his pamphlets coming, there was a quiet, collective groan - "Fuck me, here comes Paine again. What's with that guy?"

Democracy requires cranks, plain & simple. Their delivery ain't always pretty, but they're necessary. In a way, it's kinda beautiful that any nutbag with a notion he wants to bring to the table can do so. After watching these videos, I thought I'd better check Youtube for any city council craziness from my dear Olympia, WA. The best video I found wasn't near as nutty as these Santa Cruz clips, but I dug this footage of an awkward gamer battling his shyness to go off on our useless mayor, Doug Mah, and his confounding magikal moneez plans for revitalizing downtown - Metafilter, I give you SimOlympia
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:27 AM on July 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


I can feel the pain of the council members. I recently realized that, due to my job working the night shift for a compliance hotline with governmental contracts, I now recognize several certifiable schizophrenics from across the USA by voice alone. I can't tell you how disheartened I was when I answered the phone, heard the voice, said to myself, "Oh, it's [Caller] again," and started typing up his/her name and everything before realizing what I'd done.

I've documented urgent concerns about Barack Obama force-feeding crystal meth to someone and causing their DNA to rearrange itself and give them the extrasensory ability to sense meth labs at distances of up to 100 feet.
posted by Scattercat at 4:19 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love you Cynthia Mathews, ..., Mr. Bazoon, who loves--

Mike?

-- POLENTA.

Hilarious at the end of "Voice" link
posted by quanta and qualia at 4:20 AM on July 22, 2009


TO THE BANANASLUG MOBILE!

Note to self: Don't read EatTheWeak's comments while drinking hot beverages.
posted by zarq at 4:56 AM on July 22, 2009


Why don't the politicians ask them to cut to the chase? It seems kinda rude to just let them ramble then eject them, at least let them know that you (the politician) actually care what they have to say and you're only ejecting them because they take too long.

Not to mention it highlights the problem for everybody in the room, so it becomes clear what the most effective method for getting stuff done is. Americans are weird on this one tiny point.
posted by Submiqent at 6:15 AM on July 22, 2009


Packaging matters and there's no way a rambling neckbeard in a t-shirt is going to be taken seriously at any sort of government function, no matter what he's on about.

As a denizen of a town with many leftover hippies and righteous college students, I can assure you this is not at all true.
While I didn't see neckbeard guy, I know the type and they wield surprising amounts of influence if they have a non-profit or other organization behind them.

Why don't the politicians ask them to cut to the chase?

Mainly because you'd have to deal with cries of censorship.
It's easier (in the sense that it leaves you less open to accusations of any sort) just to let people ramble on and then cut them off exactly when their time is up.
posted by madajb at 7:06 AM on July 22, 2009


One thought for audience members:
If you are going to attend a public hearing with cameras, and you know you are absolutely horrible at hiding your boredom, don't sit right behind the damn podium.
Seriously, picking your nose, flossing your teeth, checking for split ends, whatever, go sit in the corner. While not a whole lot of people watch Government TV, one day it might end up on the Internet.
posted by madajb at 7:10 AM on July 22, 2009


...even if a minority (or perhaps even majority) are solely there to grind their particular axe.

So just like "real" politicians.
posted by Evilspork at 7:19 AM on July 22, 2009


I have no vote so I must scream.

Also, I'm not American.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:45 AM on July 22, 2009


Hi open thread!

Some of the earlier Updates from that website have undiscovered gold in them as well. Especially This Un.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:46 PM on August 5, 2009


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