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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media


In Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Notre-Dame des Paris, for you Francophiles) the first face we meet is that of Gringoire, the endearing little poet-playwright to whom fortune is capricious. The book begins on opening night of the presentation of his magnum opus, a pious passion play dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. The affair happens along swimmingly, with Gringoire watching in rapture from stage left as his actors and actresses gracefully deliver the lines he labored over. It’s his night.

Then a funny thing happens: a beggar, lurching from a pillar, screeches out, “Alms for the poor! Have you any alms for the poor?” The beggar distracts attention from the action on stage, so insistent are his peals pleading for charity. Gentle Gringoire tries his hardest to move things back on track, but to no avail. Chaos ensues, and the play is lost.

Now, think of a politician. A Catholic politician, with French blood coursing through his veins. He had his show planned, and had planned it well, with every line, every scene carefully scripted. But it collapsed out from under him. He tried and tried to set things aright, but life had other plans for him-and he was thrown unceremoniously into the gutter on what was supposed to be his nuit de triomphe.

Any guesses?

The answer: John Forbes Kerry.

Our junior Senator announced last month that he would not continue running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, and we say Thank You, beautiful Universe.

Kerry never should have won the 2004 Democratic nomination. He wouldn’t have but for Howard Dean being caught on tape yelping. Dean is someone with energy and tenacity enough to have beaten George Bush. He’s a fighter, and by all means 2004 should have been his year. Politics and people’s attention spans being what they are, though, a single sound bite can be the death knell for a candidacy. Learn well, Barack.

Dean was a breath of fresh air. He had energy, he had ideas and he didn’t care much either way what Republicans or anybody else thought of him. He was going to work. And he is working now in his capacity as chairman of the Democratic National Committee (which seems the job he was born for; he’s out swinging like a champ, if the 2006 mid-terms are any indicator).

Kerry, everybody knows, is an animated corpse. Corpses, known for being a little slow on the uptake, are usually the last ones to make the really important connections, so it was no surprise that John Kerry was the last person in America to realize that his 2008 run was ill-starred. He lost, after all, in 2004 to a man who will likely go down as the worst president in American history. Anybody on The Mass Media staff could show up stinking drunk on a Sunday morning and beat George W. Bush. A Satanist could have beaten George W. Bush.

Why couldn’t you, John?

A recent CNN poll showed Kerry trailing behind Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, his old running mate John Edwards and Al freaking Gore, who Kerry out-corpsed, in a straw poll gauging next year’s presidential prospects. And as if that wasn’t enough, a majority of respondents, (51 percent, the same percentage Bush galumphed to victory with in ’04) said they simply did not want him to run again. Oof.

So it goes. Towards the end of Hunchback, Gringoire unwittingly betrays his crush, the beautiful Esmeralda, to an evil priest. Kerry, at least, can rest easy knowing that his Esmeralda, Theresa Heinz Kerry, is safe at home in Beacon Hill, far away from any corrupt clergymen. He can sit on her stash of gold coins and pine away for what could have been, occasionally scratching another hash mark into the ground after he destroys some hapless Massachusetts Republican foolish enough or rich enough to run against him in the Senate. We’ll look on with studied disinterest at another boring-ass “Kerry for Senate” run, and hope against hope that some beggar starts screeching during one of his speeches. It’ll give us something to look forward to: we’ve seen John Kerry’s oeuvre, and we’ll be damned if we sit through it again.

Stay home, John.