An Election is Simply a Festival for the Majority!

63 Responses

  1. Al Pastor says:

    I couldn't watch the whole thing. I have no stomach for performance art.

  2. Jack B. says:

    I hope he went on to his true calling as a Bond villain after [SPOILER ALERT] losing the election.

  3. in-Texas-dept says:

    He's not flashy enough (or has sharp enough teeth) to be a Bond villain. Might make a decent minor Yakuza boss though.

  4. Mark says:

    I miss the content, but it is more important that you have a nice life, than it is that you entertain me.

    If only a little. :-)

  5. Ken in NH says:

    Jesse Ventura, is that you?

  6. Jack B. says:

    @ in-Texas-dept:

    True enough. In fact, he dresses like a low-level Bond villain's henchman.

    Jimmy McMillan should give him some fringe candidate fashion tips.

  7. rpenner says:

    Clark, you know I have in the past hastily generalized all your posts as worthless. This one has me convinced that I was in error.

    More recent KOYAMA Koichi (Family name in caps) :

    Steven Colbert's campaign doesn't compare.

  8. Warren Vita says:

    I kept expecting him to get hustled away from the mic since this looks like a gov't sponsored press conference setup. I wonder how much attention this got in Japan? Here the media would have a field day using him as a stereotype of the "Tea Party".

  9. Parallax says:

    Clark, I wonder if you might coin a phrase, which would be the Clark equivalent of Rush Limbaugh's "Ditto/Dittohead" which would save those of us who agree the trouble of wasting bytes on e-fluffing. My unsolicited suggestion would be "May the light of a thousand yellow suns keep you warm!" because let's be honest, you're Superman, and your glasses fool nobody. The phrase seems a tad unwieldy, I'll concede, but it's a start.

    I have been asked by family and a few close friends why I choose not to vote. This is the best illustration I have been able to come up with.

    Imagine you are at a bar. Imagine there are only two other people in the bar. (Please do not assume that you are sexually attracted to either of them. Also, please do not assume their sex even matches up with your preference[s].) You have the option of taking one of them home with you that night. However, if you do choose one of them, it's not a one night stand. They'll be around for FOUR YEARS. They will also make all decisions concerning your life, and will not consult you personally before making those decisions.

    Faced with that scenario, the smart thing to do is to go home without either one of them. That's why I do not vote.

    Also, this.

    (Perhaps, if you admire Mr. Carlin as I do, the phrase I was searching for earlier could be SPFCCMT, for short?)

  10. Parallax says:

    Also, apology accepted. Show you are sincere by posting more often.

  11. Db says:

    I do not have a single constructive comment.

  12. Ancel De Lambert says:

    I love how he just stares at the camera for 15 seconds, and then leans forward all serious, and then starts talking like the fucking Shogun. I immediately raised my arms over my head like I was swinging a katana and shouted "Banzaiiiiii!" Japan, why do you do this to me? Every time I think we're through, you steal my heart again.

    Edit: Oh, god, where are the Hitler Resubs of this, they must exist, they NEED to exist!

  13. JonD says:

    So he's going to junk the whole govt by participating in it? Is this a confused anarchist?

  14. Dion starfire says:

    If you don't enjoy writing, and you're not getting paid for it, than it's time to take a break or quit. We can get by without you for a bit.

  15. Leo Marvin says:

    Hey, that's my therapist!

  16. RB says:

    I believe Clark is wrong on his voting stance. People who don't vote and don't write checks to candidates don't exist as far as politicians are concerned. Why would politicians care about what a non-person thinks.

    To borrow the bar analogy above. I recommend taking home a bar stool. If you take home the bar stool, the two people in the bar eventually have to wonder why people prefer a bar stool to them.

    I am of course assuming that you don't actually like either of the two mainstream candidates, which is probably the case for most people. In that case, I believe voting for the most viable third party candidate is the best option. You don't have to worry about them winning and if enough people vote for the third party candidate to make a difference, the other candidates will start to take notice and try to win those votes. If that happens, there is a chance that a mainstream candidate might take a reasonable position on enough issues so that you might want to vote for them. I know it's a long shot, but it's a shot worth taking.

    If there is no third party candidate, or you cannot stomach voting for the third party candidate, write in your favorite fictional or non-fictional character. It doesn't matter what you write, virtually everywhere your vote will be tabulated as "Write In." Again, if enough people vote for "Write In," the major party candidates will take notice and just maybe think about their positions.

    In the last election, I voted for the Simpsons. In 2016, I think I'll write in Ken White/Clark Non-White for president/vice president.

    If someone is masochistic enough, I believe many states will actually count the write-in votes if enough paperwork is done.

  17. David says:

    @ Parrallax The problem with your analogy is that even if you don't pick, everyone else is still going to pick and send the individual home with you. But at least you can refuse to participate willingly.

  18. Bradoplata says:

    @parrallax,

    I lost a union election because I didn't vote for myself. I haven't voted in any election for over a decade because I just don't see the point.

  19. Waldo says:

    Is "scrap and scrap" (in English) some sort of common Japanese idiom? It just seemed odd to me that he would use the English words but the phrase has no special meaning in English.

  20. barry says:

    Never voting is effectively the same as always voting for whoever ends up winning.

  21. Sami says:

    @Parallax: It would make a far more profound statement if, rather than not voting, you voted for a candidate you actually supported. Even in benighted electoral systems that simply elect whoever got the most votes, there's usually more than two.

    Or show up, but deface your ballot paper to express your dissatisfaction with the selection.

    If you don't even show up, all you're really saying is that you're lazy.

    Apart from anything else, in your rather bad metaphor, regardless of whether you express a preference, one of those people is going to come to your house anyway. You're not going home without either one of them – you're just letting everyone else decide who it is for you.

    If you don't vote, don't complain.

  22. Votre says:

    I think Barry nailed it when he/she said: "Never voting is effectively the same as always voting for whoever ends up winning."

    You're dealing with a broken system. You can't bring about genuine change by attempting to game a broken system. That's just getting sucked into it deeper.

  23. Woff says:

    For a second I thought I was watching Sara Palin speaking in tongues after a heavy dose of chemo.

  24. John Barleycorn says:

    I particularly enjoyed the near perfection and balance of his finger gesture and neck vertebrae realignment at the end.

    "There will be terrified" was rather delicious as well.

  25. John Barleycorn says:

    @Woff; Fuck Sara on chemo bring on the Lysergic acid diethylamide.

    There is no reform…didn't you watch the video?

  26. Jim says:

    Where is Ultraman when you need him

  27. Malovox says:

    Join me or die! Can you do any less?

  28. AlphaCentauri says:

    This is Clark's way of cheering for the minority?

    A skinhead announces his intention to overthrow the government using a group of people who mean to form an oligarchy to institute a violent reign of terror against the rest of the population?

    It's impossible to comment on this without going full-Godwin.

    I would hope Clark is trolling, but I've been reading him a while now, and I've never seen him break character.

  29. Horobosu says:

    If you didn't stay until the end, you missed the part where he wags his middle finger at the camera. I have to admit that I'm surprised there were no men in white coats to escort him away from the podium afterwards.

  30. Chas says:

    I did not know that Japan had a Nihilist Party!

  31. Dictatortot says:

    SHUT UP AND TAKE MY CAMPAIGN DONATION.

  32. Demosthenes says:

    @ Parallax

    Imagine you are at a bar. Imagine there are only two other people in the bar…You have the option of taking one of them home with you that night. However, if you do choose one of them, it's not a one night stand. They'll be around for FOUR YEARS. They will also make all decisions concerning your life, and will not consult you personally before making those decisions…Faced with that scenario, the smart thing to do is to go home without either one of them. That's why I do not vote.

    This is a faulty analogy. Allow me to complete it.

    You choose to go home with neither one of them. Later that night, you get a knock at your door. One of the people you refused to choose between is standing there, bags in hand, ready to live with you for the next four years and make decisions that will concern you without consulting you personally. You are not legally empowered to refuse them. And they do not consider themselves even slightly beholden to you, because hey — it's not like you picked them.

    Now, if you don't want to vote because you don't want to sanction the system, or something like that, it's your right. But to say "This is why I don't vote," when the same thing happens whether you do or don't, is frankly a little silly.

  33. sinij says:

    If you put so little thought into your voting that you compare it to the bar scene, then perhaps it is not the system's fault after all?

    Even before any money gets involved, you can have a say in what candidate your party nominates. Then you have a say in who get elected into congress and senate. Then you have a say who gets into state government.

    You don't matter because you don't vote, not the other way around.

  34. tarantism says:

    Why are people on here trying to convince people that voting is a good thing to do. If I were going to vote I would spend my time trying to convince people not to vote so my vote might matter slightly more than zero.

  35. Clark says:

    @tarantism

    Why are people on here trying to convince people that voting is a good thing to do. If I were going to vote I would spend my time trying to convince people not to vote so my vote might matter slightly more than zero.

    Theory #1: there is good evidence to suggest that people turn more missionary when their faith is in danger. If they can convince someone else of their creed, maybe they can reconvince themselves of their creed.

    Theory #2: people who believe in the religion called "Government" are threatened by those who find absolutely zero use for such a thing, in the same way that some theists feel threatened by those who do not believe in God. Thus god-vernment believers act to remove the threat by trying to make the anarchists convert.

  36. Erik says:

    Wow. Didn't know Christopher Cantwell had a Japanese clone.

  37. DonaldB says:

    I especially liked how the speech was timeless, and almost universal.

    There was a mention of Tokyo, but no mention of specific events or issues. This speech can play for decades without needing to be rewritten.

    At first I thought that there was a Hitler-like cadence and mannerisms. It took me a while to recognize it as channeling Japanese Imperialism (which did reflect European nationalists of the era).

    All in all, and excellent audition. I hope it was what the casting director was looking for.

  38. barry says:

    Theory #2: people who believe in the religion called "Government" are threatened by those who find absolutely zero use for such a thing

    If democracy goes away, government doesn't go away with it, we get dictatorship in its place.

  39. Mark - Lord of the Albino Squirrels says:

    If nothing else, the video makes me wish we still had non-toothless Equal Time rules in the U.S.

  40. DonaldB says:

    You have to be careful with government 'equal time' rules.

    About a month ago in San Francisco there was a minor uproar over the description on a ballot measure. On the ballot there are two paragraphs describing the measure, a 'Pro' and 'Con' — an "equal time" rule. These are selected at random from submissions.

    A property developer (and politician) understood the rules, and their exact wording. He submitted 26 proposed statements for the 'opposite' side. Unsurprisingly, one of his statements was selected. This resulted in both 'pro' and 'con' statements supporting the measure.

  41. Demosthenes says:

    Clark said:

    Theory #1: there is good evidence to suggest that people turn more missionary when their faith is in danger. If they can convince someone else of their creed, maybe they can reconvince themselves of their creed.

    And on the day the words "self-indicting comment" were redefined, we stood in awe and watched.

  42. Rev Les Crowley says:

    Popehat was an awesome First Amendment blog. "The System is rotten, burn the m-fer down" stuff you've done lately isn't particularly useful or constructive. It's your blog, you can do what you want with it. But I come here less and less. This is the first time I've ever commented. It will probably be the last. You did some great work here, but nothing awesome lasts forever. Hopefully whatever you choose to do next will be just as good.

  43. Trying to think economically here: one reason to not vote is that it gives you so little effect, regardless of how much you put into it. Consider this article:
    http://boingboing.net/2014/04/13/study-american-policy-exclusi.htmlhttp://boingboing.net/2014/04/13/study-american-policy-exclusi.html

    We live in a system that REALLY doesn't care about us. The marginal utility of working within the system is very low. What we should be doing instead of voting is finding alternative ways to alter the system, or finding ways to avoid or reduce its effects on us.

    Let Edward Snowden be our example: don't go through official channels, go around them.

  44. Also relevant:
    http://lesswrong.com/lw/mi/stop_voting_for_nincompoops/

    That post introduced me to the "Keynesian beauty contest", a perfectly delightful turn of phrase and an apt description of many elections and wars.

  45. azazel1024 says:

    Actually you don't necessarily get a dictatorship if democracy goes away. You could get a true Oligarchy (as opposed to the loose oligarchy we have now), plutocracy, meritocracy, kleptocracy, aristocracy, inherited monarchy, limited monarchy, absolute monarchy, theocracy (also called Kentucky State Gov't) and so on.

    True anarchy is pretty unlikely as such a state rarely lasts long in any sizeable population.

    I prefer our system to most others out there, flawed as it is. There are better systems, but this one is mine.

    This is my system of government. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My system of government is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I master my life. My system of government, without me, doesn't notice. Without my system of government, I am useless. I must game the system true. I must disenfranchise any enemy who is trying to disenfranchise me.

    Okay, the quote starts falling apart more and more after that.

  46. Jay says:

    Just wanted to say, wow, you're a self-parodying dick. Responded to a bizarre tweet from @popehat on Twitter to the effect that discussing anti-semitic hate speech post-Kansas shooting was an attempt to suppress the BOR. Immediately blocked and told I was making "veiled" accusations of anti-Semitism. You're a nut.

  47. Joe Blow says:

    Nice video above of Ren Houk. I had no idea he was still working in comedy.

  48. Mu says:

    Reminded me a lot of the KPD-ML commercials running before German elections in the late 70s. The joys of free airtime for any registered party.

  49. That was awesome. I keep clicking back to 3:51, over and over again.

    This is Clark's way of cheering for the minority?

    Koichi-san does not fill us in on his specific policy platform, so I fear none of us are in a position to accurately weigh his merits, but can you really argue the concept that democratic elections are a "festival for the majority?"

    A skinhead announces his intention to overthrow the government using a group of people who mean to form an oligarchy to institute a violent reign of terror against the rest of the population?

    "Skinhead?" Is a shaven head, in Japanese culture, a sign that an individual holds the white supremacist views commonly associated with the word "skinhead?" 'Twould be odd, given the relative whiteness of Koichi-san.

    It's impossible to comment on this without going full-Godwin.

    Well, maybe if you checked your privilege and stopped looking at this through such an anglonormative lens, you'd be able to approach Koichi-san's uniquely Japanese worldview with an open mind.

    I would hope Clark is trolling, but I've been reading him a while now, and I've never seen him break character.

    Now, are you trolling us?

  50. Clark says:

    @Tice with a J

    We live in a system that REALLY doesn't care about us. The marginal utility of working within the system is very low. What we should be doing instead of voting is finding alternative ways to alter the system, or finding ways to avoid or reduce its effects on us.

    Let Edward Snowden be our example: don't go through official channels, go around them.

    Wonderfully said.

  51. Castaigne says:

    What, we're not going to get posts from you about how awesome Cliven Bundy is and how this is the beginning of the 2nd American Revolution against tyrannical government and that evil thing called "law" and "Constitution"?

  52. Parallax says:

    I wonder what the argument in favor of voting looks like? It seems to be one of those things that many commenters here are taking for granted. Anyone want to take a stab at fleshing out that argument?

  53. scav says:

    I just kept asking myself, "*which* minority?"

    But apart from that, I've got to sympathise with anyone who wants to dismantle a corrupt unreformable political system. Let us know when you guys actually get started. BTW if all goes well in September, you can see how it's done. Warning: may contain traces of socialism.

  54. tarantism says:

    @Castaigne

    What, we're not going to get posts from you about how awesome Cliven Bundy is and how this is the beginning of the 2nd American Revolution against tyrannical government and that evil thing called "law" and "Constitution"?

    I don't think clark would support people saying the pledge of allegiance before every public speaking event, which happened there. Or the waiving around of the American flag. Seems more like stockholm syndrome to someone who doesn't believe in the state.

  55. AlphaCentauri says:

    I wonder what the argument in favor of voting looks like? It seems to be one of those things that many commenters here are taking for granted. Anyone want to take a stab at fleshing out that argument?

    You could look at what happens when there is a segment of the population that can be counted on not to vote in large numbers.

    You might assume that the traditional low voter turnout in the African American community is not the cause of the inferior schools and oppressive law enforcement policies in Black neighborhoods, but merely the effect of cynicism over existing discrimination.

    But I would maintain that the flurry of voter ID laws following the increased voter participation as a result of the Obama campaign is a good indication that politicians are scared shitless that anyone other than the party regulars might start voting.

  56. Demosthenes says:

    I confess, this exchange leaves me dumbfounded:

    Let Edward Snowden be our example: don't go through official channels, go around them.

    Wonderfully said.

    People fighting a system that doesn't care…by holding up as an example a man who is a newly-minted propaganda stooge for a nation-state that anti-cares about freedom and individual liberties…

    You're doing it wrong, boys.

  57. barry says:

    An Election is Simply a Festival for the Majority!
    I speak now to the minority:

    That was tricky because it looks like it's the other way round.
    According to wikipedia, a minority (48%) of Americans vote. So the non-voting majority would be having the festival, but why?

  58. I'm a little late to be replying, but, what did you just say about Snowden?

    People fighting a system that doesn't care…by holding up as an example a man who is a newly-minted propaganda stooge for a nation-state that anti-cares about freedom and individual liberties…

    I assume that you are saying that Edward is serving the cause of Russia (or should I say, Putin) by revealing what he revealed?

    The timing of your reply is rather humorous; check out the date on this post:

    http://boingboing.net/2014/04/17/edward-snowden-vladimir-put.html

    You, sir, have been proven wrong.

    As for why Snowden is currently in Russia, it was because he doesn't want to rot in jail (no surprise there) and Russia appears to be the only country willing to refuse American demands to hand people over (that surprised me). Russia is no better than we are about caring about its own citizens, but it's much better at protecting American whistleblowers than America is. If America wants to stop looking bad compared to Russia, then all the government has to do is stop acting so much like the KGB.

    And let this be said for Snowden: what he did WORKED. The NSA has been exposed and put on the defensive, people are getting properly mad, and it is becoming increasingly clear to all how terrible it is having a surveillance state.

    Or do you disagree with that, and think that the NSA is doing a fine job?

  59. TPRJones says:

    "I couldn't watch the whole thing. I have no stomach for performance art."

    Oh, oh you have missed out. The ending is the funniest thing I have seen in many years. I can't remember laughing so hard before.

    "… I will be terrified …" was just too perfect.

  60. Demosthenes says:

    It's now been even longer for me to be replying back, but:

    You, sir, have been proven wrong.

    Yes, I suppose I have, but I'm not sure that says anything good about Snowden's self-preservation instincts. He could have had the life of a comfortable stooge. That seems less likely now, no? He will certainly never be able to return to America, or avail himself of the protections of an American citizen; now I think it highly likely that the moment his utility to Russia ends, he'll quietly vanish.

    Russia is no better than we are about caring about its own citizens, but it's much better at protecting American whistleblowers than America is.

    The first half of that sentence is a hilarious understatement; the second half is a truism. Russia is no better at caring about its citizens because, in fact, it's a great deal worse. See also: Chechnyans; homosexuals; and hell, your average man on the street, who only lives in a freer society than he did 25 years ago because not all of the post-Soviet reforms have been able to be reversed or undermined.

    And of course Russia is better at protecting American whistleblowers than America does, because it has more of a vested interest in doing so. The reverse is also true. If tomorrow, evidence were uncovered that German intelligence had collected a vast treasure trove of private records about Barack Obama, the leader of an ostensible ally, I would imagine we'd pitch as big a fit as Angela Merkel did when the NSA's activities related to her were uncovered. That's what nations do, because they have to have to pretend that they don't know their allies are surveilling them as well as their opponents.

    If America wants to stop looking bad compared to Russia, then all the government has to do is stop acting so much like the KGB.

    Perhaps you need a remedial education on what the KGB did (and does — as far as I can see, they've only been restructured and renamed) before you make further comparisons like that. I have no great love for the NSA, but they are not the KGB. If you shall know a man by the company he keeps, I think it's telling that Snowden's two offers of asylum were from Russia and Venezuela — two countries that are (ahem) not noted as world leaders in the protection of human rights, or for their non-interference in their citizens' lives.

    And let this be said for Snowden: what he did WORKED….it is becoming increasingly clear to all how terrible it is having a surveillance state. Or do you disagree with that, and think that the NSA is doing a fine job?

    The NSA's activities in spying on ordinary American citizens (as opposed to legitimate domestic national security threats, of which I hope we can agree there are probably a few, but probably only a few) are inexcusable. In partially exposing those operations to the light of day, Snowden has performed a public service. This does not undo the harm he did to the LEGITIMATE espionage and data collection operations of the NSA, in revealing some of what they know about foreign countries and foreign nationals, and in hindering their ability to gather more intelligence along those lines. Nor am I convinced that this was a case where Snowden had to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    Are you?

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