Greetings, Nexus readers. I’m flattered that you’re taking time out of your shitty anthro class to read my article. I’m your new political columnist, reporting from the Enlightened States of America. But I don’t like my job title; there’s no pomp or circumstance in the word “columnist.” I’d prefer to be called a political sultan or jester – something reeking of royalty and requiring a procession of elephants to do it justice. You’ll realize why in 3,000 words.
As this is an introductory article, I want to discuss the role of a political columnist in Isla Vista. In other words, why should you give a rat’s ass about my opinion? The answer is simple. You shouldn’t. I’m a writer and an entertainer, not a political expert. I’d rather lick a DP kitchen floor than work in Washington. I am neither fair nor balanced, neither Republican nor Democrat; you’ll be happily enraged to know that I’m a liberal independent. Although I lack qualifications, I do serve a useful purpose in the City of Alcohol and Abercrombie.
Why? Let’s think this through. Politics are much less fun than beer or sex. Monotony dominates the Senate floor and none of the senators have any fun. They’re too scared to lose their jobs, so, instead, they forsake their personality. Nobody watches C-SPAN voluntarily; they have to get chained down like that guy with toothpicks on his eyelids in “A Clockwork Orange.” I’d say we spice the place up with strippers, but that’s why I’m a budding pornographer rather than the president. I don’t have the time or the patience for real politics.
But that’s also a problem, as most of us are too impatient to make an effective change. And God knows we need a few changes. Our impatience brings ineptness to the top of the heap. Remember the student council president in eighth grade who picked his nose? Well, he’s working for the Democrats because he was willing to do the grunt work. Even though he’s a twit, he got his ass off the couch and registered voters. We can rationalize, and tell ourselves, “I heard that new Green Day song! I hate Bush, too! I’m making a difference just by voting!” Save it for a college newspaper, you dumb bitch. That ain’t enough of a difference.
There has to be an easier way to effect change. This is where the free press comes in – the last outpost of democracy in a democratically frigid America. I would even argue that journalists are more insightful than politicians, because they don’t have to compromise as much. Upton Sinclair up-started public health with The Jungle in 1905, a no-holds-barred account of the meat-packing industry’s flaws. Al Franken and Ann Coulter both make millions as muckrakers, and their sense of humor sucks. Bob Woodward and his gay lover broke Watergate, and they didn’t even have to come out of the closet.
I can already read the hate mail. “I hate you, Matt Cappiello! Al Franken’s not a real journalist! He’s too subjective!” Yes, I agree. And so is the rest of the political world. Nobody knows how to run a “perfect” government – it has been debated ever since Socrates said he knew nothing. Socrates was an arrogant bitch, but he had a point. Since we’ve never had a perfect system, nobody has a perfect answer. We have to debate it in dialectic until we get there.
So that’s why I’m a columnist. Like poets, political commentators are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. They have a social conscience, but as writers, they have full artistic license. They can be entertaining and insightful in the same sentence. Being a real politician, on the other hand, is like giving birth. If you want to create something important, you have to push yourself through a very narrow space. As a political jester, I object. My personality’s a little too big.
Daily Nexus political columnist Matthew Cappiello fell in love with Arnold Schwarzenegger immediately upon seeing his film “Twins.”