ComPost Live: Awareness Campaign Awareness

Mar 20, 2012

From Kony 2012 and Jason Russell to George Clooney to Mike Daisey, awareness is the big thing to be ... aware of. This week, our topic is the trouble with awareness.

Join us every Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. ET to laugh, cry, and dish about the moments that amused you, shocked you, or caused you to yell things that frightened the other people on the subway.

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Massively sorry to be so late! Your questions look super! In the mean time, here is news: remember the Hip Rutherford B Hayes meme I attempted to seed last week? It's done the meme equivalent of what your goldfish does after you tired of caring for it and release it into the porcelain god, emerging several days later from a storm drain covered in jokes about teleprompters of varying quality.

Did you know that The Week magazine (it's the National Enquirer of Serious News Magazines) completely took your pink slime aritcle out of context and has you down in this week's issue as advocating its use? I can understand (not really but I'm trying to sound charitable) when some poor, meandering readers accidentally wander into your column and totally misunderstand the premise then subsequently leave comments on the website calling you "evil" for backing pink slime, but you'd think an actual semi-legit publication would know better. Sheesh!

Oh, that's hilarious! Hey, I'll stand by it.

I don't think it was a full-throated approval, but I did attempt to make what I saw as the case for the stuff in the course of the piece, so maybe it's less dire than you make it sound. And my insistence on avoiding any food that has led too pleasant a life is one of my longest-running jokes (or opinions, depending on your perspective) so I might stand by it anyway. Give me a chicken that has suffered! Give me steaks that have known despair! Don't give me a chicken that's led an idyllic life on a commune somewhere with a loving extended family, because I feel infinitely worse about eating him. Ammonized beef parts probably didn't have loving relationships with their nephews.

Governor Romney says he doesn't understand how "young people" can vote Democratic. Let s see- perhaps because we like being able to make an educated decision about what we do with our bodies and having an economic future that doesn't include waiting for Bain Capital to outsource us. Outside the rampant College Republicans I don't see to many people under the age of 40 who are overly enthusiastic about the Republican party brand. Perhaps if you inspired us instead of tried to limit us?

Well, as someone who at one point advocated eating the elderly, the point Mr. Romney awkwardly hinted at (most of his speaking style falls under the heading of 'awkward hinting at' larger themes) could conceivably be a compelling one. If you make it a choice between a party that doesn't want to hand over my money to the Venerable Almost-Deceased Voters, and one that adamantly does, you might be able to persuade me. And maybe people have been making that case. But the cases you allude to have been made a lot more loudly, if my friends' facebook statuses are any indication.

Did you see Dave Weigel's work on slate the last week or so, specifically the stuff he wrote and the slideshow he did on "nutpicking?" These are conservative voters (though they exist on both sides of the political spectrum) who have either cherry picked specific factoids about the President or claimed onto falsehoods about him culled from Fox or the right wing blogosphere. In normal times we call them the fringe, but when we're talking about 10-20% of Americans, there's too many for them to just be written off. How do you deal with an entire segment of the population that has created its own knowledge base of facts and builds opinions based on them, then refuses to listen to anything else because your facts are not the same as theirs? Please assume starting a moon colony with them is not an option.

Nuts, that was my number-one choice!

It is a problem. The other side of the overwhelming amount of choice we now have in what news/opinions/infotainment we read/listen to means that you never have to hear from anyone with whom you disagree. So you have these little bubbles of people who all cleave to odd sets of mangled facts. I hope these people have coworkers, but sometimes I fear they do not. The more extreme among them seem less liek the coworking than the Travis Bickle type.

Perhaps we could come up with an alternative "real" election for them, where the People Who Really Control Things and Know The Actual Story all get together and elect Real Representatives.

I don't know. A moon colony would be better, were it not for the fact that they all thought we faked it.

If I could play music, that would be my band name. (Great column.)

If you could play music and were in that band, I would come to all your concerts.

Also, does anyone know if this man is still performing? It is no understatement to say that I am his biggest fan. I love this album more than words can say, and it would give me immense joy to see him live.

Rush may need to take you up on it if none of his sponsors ever come back.

Absolutely! The offer doesn't expire until one of us does!

Do you think celebrities are more interested in publicity for themselves than helping others? Why doesn't Madonna just adopt all the kids in Africa, if she really wants to help?

Being adopted by Madonna is probably the last thing many of those kids need right now... Did you notice she cut Lourdes out of her movie? Cold.

I think celebrities may well legitimately be interested in helping others. But, as celebrities, living in bubbles where you can't breathe without inhaling the strange world-warping narcissism, the thought process then runs as follows. "How can I best help others? I know -- I will give them the greatest gift that I can give -- publicity from myself!"

When is it too late to call a dead person "the late?"

I don't thing there's ever such a thing as too late, but then again I'm always shouting "Too soon!" when people make jokes about the Lusitania.

Geez, talk about a product that needs a marketing makeover! "What should we call it, boys?" "Lean beef product? Mashed cow?" "What about pink slime?"

I think the offical name is, uh, Beef Products Inc's Lean Beef Trimmings. Pink slime may well be the only thing worse than that.

Making pink slime out of old people seems to be the logical next step.

YES! We had a week in the chat when no one made a soylent green reference, and I was worried.

I love your theory that <a href=""> life begins at pre-conception</a>. I've had some, uh, impure thoughts about Jodi Westrick. Do you think she'd go out with me if I said it would prevent her from being charged with murder? The bear suit you suggested previously didn't work.

I don't know, maybe it did work! She's now at Animal Planet, I think.

How long is "shortly?" Is it longer than "a slight delay?" I've found that in restaurants, "a few minutes" means 30 minutes. "A couple of minutes" could be an hour. And how late do you have to be before you "got stuck in traffic?"

I'm here! I'm here! I can refund your minutes!

If I were an airplane, this would totally have been attributed to a headwind.

I noticed that one of your columns appeared in the Columbia Daily Tribune (Missouri). Have you gone big time?

Good eyes! This week, I've secretly been two-timing the Post with a number of other papers -- the Lincoln Journal Star, Albany Times Union, Sacramento Bee, and the Columbia Daily Tribune, among others! It's not that I've gone big-time, it's just that the Post wire syndication service occasionally is kind enough to serve me up as a possible offering, if I'm understanding it right, in the bundle along with their many and varied other pieces. Were I actually personally syndicated, you would definitely have heard the ecstatic shout from wherever you are.

I think the response you were looking for was: "SOCIALIST!"

Oh, right, sorry!

His valet puts his pants on one leg at a time.

"Jeeves and Romney" would make for a terrible series, if only because Romney would never fight with his valet's sartorial choices and all his plans would involve preventing marriages between entire categories of people, not just the occasional wayward beazel. Also Jeeves would have a definite edge in ability to convey recognizable warm emotions, and he's often described as having a stuffed-frog expression. Most of Romney's ripping wheezes would revolve around tax code and how exactly to strap the dog to the vehicle.

Meanwhile, I think Jeeves and Santorum would have some comedic potential, if only because of the daily fight over the vest.

"Indeed, sir?"

"Dash it, Jeeves, it's a strong choice."

"As you say, sir."

To be fair, he does donate a whole hell of a lot of money to his causes....

No, exactly, any criticism I make of George Clooney comes with the asterisk of, hey, he has definitely given more of his money and time to good causes than I could dream of doing. I'm simply trying to raise the question of the value of some of these efforts.

Don't toddlers and babies violate several EPA regulations against noise and toxic emissions?

Oh, good thought!

Let's just call it...mmm...Texas Pate! Seriously, except for the ammonia part - I'm ashamed that this really doesn't gross me out. But then, I eat scrapple.

I've always wanted to start a Scrapple & Snapple restaurant, just for, er, kicks and giggles. I doubt it would go anywhere, but given that last week I had a very pleasant dinner in an Abraham Lincoln-themed restaurant, I may soon revise that view.

If we cast Mike Daisey as Rush, who would play you?

Oh man, I would say Jennifer Lawrence, because I love her, but she deserves a meatier role.

I stumbled on your chat last week and have spent many hours at work reading your old columns and trying not to burst out laughing in my cubicle. I just want to make you aware that I think you're my soulmate.

Aw, huzzah! I'm always pleased when people like me for my prose... I hope you're not, you know, one of those strange people whom I sometimes find crouched under my furniture trying to make off with my books of quotations.

Thanks for the link to that Neil Dick album. He certainly sings like one. But the title of the album makes me think that those neutrinos really did go faster than light. Wouldn't that explain all the time travelling voters too?

It would make so much sense! Nuts to Einstein, say I! I've ridden trains, and none of those things he thought ever occurred to me.

Surely you're following this, but the dead can now procreate. I think the deliberations, even more than the ultimate opinion, are great fodder for a column. Ooh-- 'fodder' was really an unintended pun, as was the typo 'Supreme Curt' that I had to rewrite.

Nice Freudian slips, both of them!

Dana's already tackled that, but I have to say, I was deeply intrigued, unless you aren't supposed to say you're intrigued when you hear that dead people are procreating. In which case, I was deeply not intrigued.

I read an article that prospective employers are asking applicants to hand over their Facebook and Twitter user IDs and passwords to aid in their hiring decision. Un-be-lievable. Or maybe they're on the right track and we should be demanding Santorum & Mittens' FB accounts. And my home state of Minnesota has placed on the ballot a constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage, and are debating another to require picture ID for voting. When did the poll tax (DMV fee) become vogue again... And lots of states think it's fun to order unneccesary medical procedures to make women feel guilty about terminating pregnancies. Can we please stop the insanity?

Some would argue we're outgrowing the whole concept of privacy and that these are the last death throes. But I agree. Invasion of privacy used to be an offense. Now it's somewhere between a job requirement and a national hobby.

I keep seeing mention of pink slime and I don't want to know what it is. Despite my natural curiosity, I will continue to eat meat and not care where it came from or what is in it as long as it tastes good.

Cheers to that!

Anything that would cut down on the number of rugrats kicking the back of my seat while their parents zone out listening to DVDs through their headphones is a good idea in my book. I say mandatory cavity searches for anyone under twelve.

Amen, say I!

There has been a trend to outsource the porn industry to Eastern Europe and Asia. Shouldn't the GOP be fighting to return porn to the USA and save American jobs?

[YOU CAN CUT THIS! Wait, what sort of jobs are we talking about?]


I have to skedaddle, but you are a delight, as ever! Apologies once more for my tardiness! Feel free but unobligated to follow me on Twitter, and please keep reading the Compost!

In This Chat
Alexandra Petri
Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost, a lighter take on the news and issues of the day, and she contributes to the Post editorial page. Her work has appeared in venues such as The Huffington Post, The Week,,, Collegehumor, and The Harvard Crimson. She has appeared on Jeopardy!, Showbiz Tonight and Canadian radio, and she has performed at Boston's Comedy Studio and Comedy Connection. She would love to be on your TV show, radio show, Daily Show, HBO special, or to be an honored guest (or regular guest) at your Bar Mitzvah. She is the author of two books (unpublished, but contact her!), two screenplays, three plays, one musical, and one memoir (Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.)
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