Sunday, June 11, 2017

Today in not the craziest thing in politics...

So last time I promised that the next post would be about Star Trek and not politics because holy shit am I sick of talking about the death spiral that is American politics. And today I'm going to keep that promise. Partially. John Hertzler, an actor of all things, is challenging Representative Tom Reed for New York's 23rd district.
Pictured: Noted actor Ronald Reagan seen here with his costar, a chimp, would go on to be
Governor of California and then President before being posthumously trotted out whenever
Republicans want to remind everyone of a time when they weren't universally reviled.
Ever get the feeling that our political
system is heading this way?
What's that got to do with Star Trek? I'm going to pretend you asked. Hertzler played a number of characters on a number of Star Trek spin-offs over the years. Those number being nine and three respectively, but since he was under a ton of make-up and forehead appliances, most people didn't notice. He's probably most familiar to fans as the one-eyed Klingon General Martok on Deep Space Nine, a character who himself gets into politics when (spoilers for a twenty year-old TV show) Worf murders his political rival and then crowns him leader of the Klingon Empire.

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, we have elections and not bat'leth duels but that doesn't mean that this tiny, seemingly insignificant election in Western New York isn't going to be bananas. Bananas foster even. How come? Because get this: Hertzler is going to be running in character. Specifically as Mark Twain.
I think you'll agree that this is an accurate level of bananas.
Someone once ran as a belligerent,
misogynistic gameshow host, but he's
right, no one's done Twain before.
Say what now? Yeah. Hertzler, who announced his decision to run Friday night, is going to run for office as American humorist Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain. Why? Got me. Apparently because it's a challenge and because this sort of thing hasn't been done before.

"To my knowledge, it's never been done before."

-John Hertzler, goddamn 
right about that

I think the take-away here is never
google 'Deep Throat Mark Twain.'
Ok, so on the surface this sounds pretty preposterous, but if you dig deeper, you'll find that it gets even more preposterous. According to the article from the local news site, Hertzler also said that the Twain thing is also a tribute to Hal Holbrook, who played Deep Throat in All the President's Men and is also famous for his Mark Twain one man show. But don't confuse him with Jerry Hardin, who also played a character called Deep Throat (on The X-Files) and also does a Clemens/Twain one man show and in fact played the 19th century writer on Star Trek. Right. So where was I? The election.

Don't look at me like that, you voted
for, and continue to support, a goon.
You've got no room. No room at all.
So while I, as recently as one paragraph ago, referred to Hertzler's plan as preposterous, I'm actually going to go ahead and get behind it. Dramatic twist, right? Not at all. Samuel Clemens cosplay aside, he's been in politics for years now and has even spent the last three years on the local town board giving him three years more political experience than the President. And his opponent, Tom Reed, can't complain that Hertzler isn't taking the election seriously given that Reed has been a vocal supporter of Trump. So why not?

I mean, I guess what I'm getting at is that he's an intelligent, thoughtful person* with experience, passion and a desire to change things for the better. Besides, the political scene is, right now, basically a circus. It's divisive and angry and I say if an actor wants to run for office in character as a writer who wrote under an assumed name, is that really all that out there? Like, for real.
To clear up that point, Samuel Clemens was a riverboat pilot and borrowed his pen name from the phrase
 'Mark Twain,' which meant that the water's depth was a safe two fathoms. When asked why pilots didn't
just say 'two fathoms,' Twain, with his trademark wit, once famously replied: 'Because shut up, that's why.'

It's klingon for 'success' with overtones
of wading in the blood of your foes.
*Just to be upfront, I should mention that in addition to being biased towards anyone whose resume includes being Chancellor of the Klingon Empire, I also met John Hertzler once when he did Death of a Salesman at the theatre I used to work at. I trekkie'd out at him pretty bad, but remarkably he didn't take out a restraining order. He's a delight and you should totally vote for him. You know, if you happen to live in the NY 23rd-which very few people do, but even if you don't, I hope you'll join me in wishing him a hearty q'pla in the coming election.

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