An Instigation of Idiocies*

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Super Bowl's Slippery Slope Oh ye gods! A Focus on the Family advertisement spurning abortion — during the Super Bowl? What is CBS thinking in allowing such an ad during the preeminent U.S. televised sporting event? This is no time for polemics! There are beers to drink, chips to dip, high fives to slap, manly sideways hugs to share. What has the Super Bowl come to?!

Nothing much more than it’s been since Super Bowl I in 1967.

The Super Bowl is a dandy marketing machine for the National Football League and its advertisers. The machine works because 100 million folks are willing to devote a Sunday afternoon to balls, boobs, and clever, sexist and crude ads — a list to which we can now add “dogmatic,” thanks to the abortion ad — all to the tune of $2.5 to $2.8 million for a 30-second spot.


So of course CBS would run Focus on the Family’s ad regardless of its advocacy content. Of course the media corporation would make a decision based on profit. Of course, if you think political propaganda an inappropriate diversion from men hurling their hulking bodies into one another and scantly-clad gals shaking those things they shake so well, you could spurn the ad and instead follow the crowd to the kitchen for more brew, hit the head to tinkle — or write a check to National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) so they can buy their own ad next year.

Ah, what CBS has started!

Carly Fiorina for Shepherdess?

Carly Fiorina is running for something in California, but suddenly the seat to which she aspires is not quite clear.

The former Hewlett-Packard chair and CEO was booted out by her board in 2005 and trotted off with a $21.4 million payout for her failed strategy that included laying off more than 17,000 workers. Her golden parachute eventually landed her a role as financial advisor to Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, which touted putting an end to multimillion-dollar payouts to failed CEOs. Oops.

Then, last November, Firorina announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate, hoping to oust California’s incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer. Fiorina did make a wee bit of a public confession in her announcement: She hadn’t bothered to visit her polling place much, believing her vote wouldn’t make any difference. Oops.

Now, Fiorina has launched a campaign advertisement (view it below) that reveals several things voters might find interesting about her and her campaign. Read no further, however, if you are weak of heart, as some of the revelations are shocking — shocking, I say!

• Fiorina’s rival in the Republican primary election, former California Congressman Tom Campbell, is either a devil-eyed wolf in sheep’s clothing or the Fiorina team has an unnatural preoccupation with Bo Peep’s sheep.

• Fiorina categorizes California’s male fiscal conservative leadership as a flock of sheep. One wonders how that flock — the one she’ll rely on for help if she aces the primary — feels about her depiction of them.

• Fiorina finds “purity,” “piety,” “wholesome,” “honorable” and “true believers” worthy of some rather dark sarcasm. A bemusing tactic, given her desired conservative voting base.

• And that pedestal — the one from which the devil sheep is toppled — it looks like, well, something unmentionable in pure and pious company.

Perhaps Fiorina and her team have smoked too many of those greenbacks she snagged from Hewlett-Packard’s stockholders. Or it could be that Fiorina’s true calling is not the U.S. Senate but YouTube — as a producer of political satire. How refreshing, if we’ve actually found a public figure who can laugh at herself.

And that is a far, far better thing to imagine than the prospect of a campaign season befouled by bizarre mudslinging from Fiorina.

Save the Pigs

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R–Ala.) pulled a fast procedural maneuver on Thursday, putting a blanket hold on all presidential nominees (70 or more) — until he gets the billions of dollars he believes are his state’s due. His ploy has been lambasted as a self-serving, obstructionist pork hunt, particularly for the delay it will cause in Department of Defense appointments.

It is a rather blatant display of chutzpah, conspicuous amid a pomposity of politicians. But Shelby has never been coy: He’s the fickle Democrat who leaped to the other side of the aisle the day after Republicans gained House and Senate majorities in 1994. This time, however, he has outdone both himself and precedent.

The combination of Shelby’s elevated pork lust, Fiorina’s sheep obsession and CBS’ evangelists touting life over abortion amidst men battling to feminize each other in opposing end zones, brings to mind Cicero’s commentary, “Any man may err, only a fool persists in error.”

Let’s see which, if any of the three, self-defines according to Cicero.

©2010 Kit-Bacon Gressitt

* For a fabulous collection of terms of venery, read An Exaltation of Larks, by James Lipton.