The Thing About Stunts

The thing about stunts is that they are, to a degree fake.  I’m not talking about stunt exhibitions of course, where the focal point is specifically to show off the performance of death defying stunts, but I am talking about when you go to watch a movie and you see the main character leap off of an eighty story building onto the back of a dinosaur, or watch the half man half robot ride a motorcycle out of a mushroom cloud inducing explosion.

There are mechanics at play that are themselves real, but overall, the stunt is a choreographed series of events structured to make something that is fake look startlingly real.

Take every movie you have ever watched where a character jumps off of a building.  You have the open on the roof top, and some dialogue.  Then you have the cutaway showing the perilous street below with all the cars looking like tiny ants crawling through the city.  Cut back to the character.  There’s some more dialogue, and then the character leaps.  If it’s an action movie, maybe the character opens up a hang glider or shoots a grappling hook and glides/swings to safety.  If it’s a melodrama or a horror movie, you cut instantly to footage of a broken body lying on the sidewalk.

What you miss in your seat at the theater is that the rooftop setting isn’t actually in the big city, but instead on a studio lot.  It’s not really eighty stories up, but instead maybe four feet up, and on the other side of the ledge isn’t open air below which waits hard concrete, but instead a nice and soft mat so that the actor doesn’t so much as sprain an ankle in the stunt.

My point is, the stunt is fake, fake as all get out, but when performed right, it makes for some good viewing.  I bring this up because after everything, it appears as though the John McCain campaign “suspension” is about as fake as any other stunt you might see in your movie theater.

You may have gotten the hint from the fact that McCain is still apparently having meetings with his top campaign advisors, like he would back on the trail.  The only difference is that he’s now holding those meetings in his senate office.

Or there was Sarah Palin’s campaign appearance this morning, during which she actually answered impromptu questions from the press, albeit dismally.  I know, I know, this seems like very weak tea, but are they on the same ticket or not?

But nothing would appear more definitive than the fact that John McCain campaign offices have not only failed to shut down during the campaign “suspension” but in a few of the offices, the staffers and volunteers apparently didn’t even know that the campaign had been suspended:

Across the country, McCain campaign offices are up and running, accepting volunteers, conducting phone banking, literature dropping and other GOTV activities. This held true on a local, state, and even regional level. The Huffington Post called up 15 McCain-Palin and McCain Victory Committee headquarters in various battleground states. Not one said that it was temporarily halting operations because of the supposed “suspension” in the campaign. Several, in fact, enthusiastically declared the continuation of their work. Others hadn’t even heard that the candidate for whom they were devoting their time had officially stopped campaigning.

In Ohio, Brenda Lewis of the Greene County Victory Office seemed surprised there was any doubt that the office would be open. “Suspension of the campaign?” she asked out loud, before saying that her colleagues would be phone banking, going door to door, and could use some front desk help as well as assistance getting signs together. Similar level of activities were taking place in the state’s Franklin County and Clark County offices.

In Ashland County, Ohio, a McCain worker named Ken confirmed, “We’re still campaigning for him.” He added, “I’m taking off in two hours. A Japanese couple will be watching the shop after, but they’re very anglocized.”

Now, I’m going to take just a tiny detour right here.  Bear with me.  “I’m taking off in two hours.  A Japanese couple will be watching the shop after, but they’re very anglocized.”  What the fuck is that supposed to mean?  I’m sorry, I don’t handle racism very well, but given that I am part Japanese, you can color me a couple of shades of pissed off at this little quote.  So, if this Japanese couple weren’t “very anglocized” does that mean they’re barbarians or something?  And do they know you think it’s only okay because they don’t adhere more closely to their culture than you would think prudent?

Anyway, back to my main point.

For all the bluster, McCain suspending his campaign doesn’t really look like he has suspended much of anything at all.  In other words, it’s fake or, just another silly stunt.

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