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2012 Election > Some of the best election internet moments (so far): The Rumble, Big Bird and binders full of women
If you’re like me and get bored with the regular old “he lied,” “everything sucks” election coverage but still care about the issues (at a base level, at least), then you’ve probably loved these little flashes of media brilliance.
The newfangled “interweb” has given internetters the ability to not only offer one-of-a-kind events and share them in a one-of-a-kind ways, but it also allows for instant tongue-in-cheek responses.
These snarky gems prove that we, those who are fueling the Age of the Internet, can be smart and clever — even if we have the attention span of a fish and our face-to-face communications skills are dwindling down to nothing, My political views aside, I offer these moments as epitomes of the thought-provoking side of irreverent internet culture.
The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium: Infamous TV host Bill O’Reily (The O’Reily Factor, Fox News) and infotainment TV host John Stewart (The Daily Show, Comedy Central) are the ultimate frenemies. The two butt heads on issues and on air often, but have respect for each other. The Rumble allowed the two to debate on Oct. 6 about most prevalent debate issues, poke fun at one another and at the election and prove that young people care about real things like poverty and the War in Iraq. The debate was offered in a live stream for $4.95 online on that night and from then on. With half of the profits going to charity, this was a revolutionary method to directly offer content to the viewers who will actually consume it and proved that young people are will to spend money on entertainment if they know it is worthwhile and reasonably priced.
The Big Bird outrage: Both sides’ interplay on the “Big Bird” issue have proven how out-of-touch election campaigns and coverage can be. When Mitt Romney started threatening to cut funding to public broadcasting to help ease the debt (which many agree would not make enough of a monetary difference to justify cutting such a popular program), the Obama camp seized the opportunity (over and over…) to “protect” Big Bird and show how ineffectual this would probably be. When I saw this overly dramatic Obama-supporting ad, I couldn’t believe how overdrawn this whole thing was. The ad says, “According to Mitt Romney, it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about. It’s Sesame Street.” Although I give 1,000 points to Gryffindor for that hilarious pun, I still couldn’t help throwing my hands up and rolling my eyes. Both sides need to let this go and focus on the real issues. Watching the response of everything from Big Bird twitter accounts to the ad going viral (almost 3,500,000 views at posting time) is like watching a wonderfully irrelevant but increasingly annoying tennis match.
Binders full of women: It doesn’t matter if you agree with what Mitt Romney was talking about in the second presidential election, you can still appreciate the comedic genius of the internet’s response to his comments about finding “binders full of women” to select for an open position. Overnight, a Tumblr account was started and fueled by memes and jokes from numerous internetters. Some are volatile, outright political statements, but the best are the memes that pull other pop culture references and memes into the mix to show the irreverent personality of the internet, if you’re doing the internet right. Here are a few of my favorites:
This is already a popular Halloween costume for 2012. But even better (to me) than these memes is the subtler and more creative response of the people who started flooding Amazon.com reviews of binders with fake judgements of how well the product could hold or sustain many women. Romney had a good point when he talked about accommodating working mothers with flexible hours (but I argue this should be extended to working dads as well), but I can’t help but guffaw at the cleverness of these on a pop culture level.
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