Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Senator Al Franken

We prefaced yesterday's posting about Brad Pitt and his new project to build houses in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans with the requisite remark about the widespread silliness of celebrity culture in the U.S., before going on to describe Mr. Pitt's admirable use of his resources.

Today we note another exception to the rule of celebrity vapidity, with the announced candidacy of Al Franken for Senator in his home state of Minnesota.

Mr. Franken is a renowned comic writer and performer, with a long personal history of political activism leading to this candidacy. Unlike Stephen Colbert's candidacy for president, which Mr. Colbert hopes to have sponsored by Doritos, Franken's is serious.

Of course, some observers disparage Franken's suitability for public office, based on his career. But Franken is intelligent (a Harvard graduate) and articulate. He is also funny, and we don't see why that should be disqualifying. If anything, it should be requisite.

One wonders why Mr. Franken's critics are not concerned instead with traits such as greedy, arrogant, mendacious, calculating, hard-hearted, or soft-headed, which one finds rampant among politicians.

I once saw a picture of Al Gore at a party balancing a broom on his chin. If he had done such nifty parlor tricks on the campaign trail in 2000 - or, maybe, had Al Franken writing some of his material (I mean, speeches) - he might have picked up some of the class clown votes which were crucial to Bush's win.

We wish Al Franken success.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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