I only read four magazines religiously: Wired, the New York Times Review of Books, Metropolitan Home Magazine (okay, i love design, alright!), and the New Yorker. Every week when I get my copy of the New Yorker I immediately turn to the table of contents in the hopes that there is a Shouts and Murmurs section. Shouts and Murmurs is their 1000 word satire section usually lambasting some recent event or highly publicized debacle. After reading these for years I had an idea one morning for my own. It took me forever to write and refine (mostly due to travel and business). Finally I had the nerve to submit it to the Shouts and Murmurs department. If you can picture it, it was one of those slow-motion-one-finger-dropping-on-the-ENTER-button moments - just like leaving your child at the curb for his first day of school.
Having not been a writer, I never realized that the hard part is not writing and editting, it is waiting for a completely indeterminate amount of time while the magazine needs to send you a response. Fortunately the New Yorker got back to me pretty quickly with their rejection letter. And, in true New Yorker Shouts and Murmurs style, even the rejection letter, though simple at first glance, was dripping with sarcasm. If I am gonna be rejected for the first time by anyone, I am glad it was them.
So, for your reading pleasure, i have included here the complete piece. Please note two things:
1) This is a satire. Before you all start sending me flame mail and comments, if you don't know the New Yorker, go and read it; you'll understand the context for which this was written. Read a few Shouts and Murmurs and you'll get the gist.
2) This is really more about Web 2.0 than it is about politics, although both aspects are scarily possible.
Regardless, I had fun writing this and I hope you have fun reading it.
Recently, President Bush has been plagued by some of the lowest approval ratings in US history. Unable to turn things around using traditional political tactics, the current administration has been experimenting with a number of innovative new ideas. However, not all of them have met with resounding success. The following recently leaked excerpts from George Bush’s personal diary detail one such failed attempt.
February 28, 2006
Man, I’m screwed! My approval ratings came in yesterday and they’re looking paler than Harry Whittington at a NRA rally. So Karl and I sat around all day in the Oval trying to figure out how to get more people to like me. I suggested that I could fly around in another fighter jet or something, but apparently Donny already checked on that. He said it would be unwise to give me an exact timeline when the USS Lincoln would be back. Too bad, that was so totally awesome!
Karl has another idea. Apparently, he’s been spending hours every night on this MySpace thing I keep hearing about. He thinks if we set up our own pages it might help us connect better with the American people. I always trust my Boy Genius, so it’s top priority for MySpace at tomorrow’s cabinet meeting!
March 1, 2006
Sweet cabinet meeting today! I introduced the MySpace idea and everyone loved it. Dick suggested we contract Halliburton to set up our pages.
March 13, 2006
We all got our MySpace accounts today. I spent some time browsing through all the people who live within 50 miles of Washington. I didn’t know Bill Gates lived near D.C.? I sent Condi, Dick, Colon, Karl, Tony B, and Jacques friend requests. Soooo excited!
March 14, 2006
Colon’s account has been suspended for some reason, no word from Jacques yet, but everyone else said yes! I now have six friends including some guy named Tom who appears on all of our pages. No one knows who he is, so I’m having DHS check out every possible connection he might have.
March 16, 2006
I filled out some more of my profile on MySpace today. As an example, here’s who I added to my “I’d Like to Meet” list: God, Osama Bin Laden, a Supreme Court Nominee that has a chance of getting confirmed.
March 18, 2006
Karl asked me today to add some guy named Andy to my top friends list. I told Karl I’ve never heard of him. Karl said that didn’t matter and that it would be a good idea if I did. Done and done.
March 20, 2006
I totally tricked out my MySpace page last weekend. I have American flags, eagles, rockets, and a hilarious picture of Mount Rushmore with my face PhotoShopped over the other George W. If you stick around long enough for the page to load, it plays “Hail to the Chief”. Dum, dum, da dum… Awesome!
March 25, 2006
Karl thinks if I expand my appeal to the Black and Gay vote, it may push my approval ratings back up. He recommended as a start that I add “Blade” and “Brokeback Mountain” to my favorite movies list. I added Blade 1 and 2 (3 totally sucked). Cowboy movies are cool, but I’m not sure how adding “Brokeback Mountain” is going to help. I should probably watch it. Maybe one of the cowboys is black?
March 28, 2006
I was psyched today when I got a MySpace message from WenJi. But I freaked when I saw his subject was, “We need to talk!” I was totally expecting him to say they had downed another one of our spy planes or something. No worries though, he was just pissed that he wasn’t in my “Top 8”. I was like, “Dude, come on, you know you’re not getting in until your McCallum-based emphasis on money supply growth reflects the inflationary trend between the estimated supply/demand gap.” Duh, I thought he’d know that by now.
March 31, 2006
Here in Cancun for the Immigration Summit. More importantly, I just figured out how to add my own pictures to MySpace. I uploaded some that I took of the crew last night. I love that one of Condi dancing on the bar. You can see her new tattoo! She swears she was only drunk on power, but I totally know it was the seven Super Soaker tequila shots! Mexico rocks!
April 1, 2006
Got a friend request from Michael Brown today. Yeah, dude, as if! DECLINED!
April 8, 2006
Tommy F. left me an awesome comment on MySpace, “Shock and awe in Iran, bitches!” It had one of those cool text pictures of a nuke. I copied it here because I thought it was so bad ass. Tommy really cracks me up.
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April 14, 2006
Still no word from Jacques. Maybe he accidentally deleted my friend request? I sent him another one to be safe.
April 22, 2006
I got one of those chain email letters on MySpace from Crown Prince Abdullah. It said something like “if you don’t forward this to 10 other people in your administration, all of your oil reserves will be depleted within 3 days.” That Abdullah is such a joker. But you’d better believe Dick and Donny already have it in their inbox.
April 28, 2006
I was checking out John Kerry’s MySpace page today. How did he get Colorado on his friends list? I barely got Ohio to accept and I had to send them like fifteen requests. I called Karl about this. He said not to worry, as long as Kerry doesn’t get to 270 friends, we’ll be just fine.
May 9, 2006
Man, my ratings still suck! Karl seems to think the whole MySpace thing might have been a bad idea after all. The good news is that it probably can’t get any worse. It’s okay because I have a couple of phone calls to make before this press conference that just came up. Karl reminded me to dial *67 before each call – I’ll have to ask him later what that is all about.