This week, upon completing the redesign of nowtoronto.com, I wondered aloud to a colleague, “Do you think Republican presidential hopeful John McCain will be surfing our site now?”
The answer was, “Of course not.” That’s because McCain is, in his own words, an “illiterate that has to rely on [his] wife for all of the assistance [he] can get” when it comes to computers. The senator from Arizona doesn’t even know how to send an e-mail.
The 72-year-old revealed his resistance to technology while he was still kicking it in the primaries. Ironically, that knowledge has only recently gone mainstream on the Internet. The fact that a McCain aide recently declared that “John McCain is aware of the Internet” [VIDEO] hasn’t helped his cred. The phrase has become a meme, supplying countless blog headlines.
As the Internet spotlight on presidential rival Barack Obama fades, the one on McCain is intensifying. Just as right-wing bloggers compiled piecemeal evidence of Obama’s anti-Americanism (picture of Obama in traditional Kenyan garb, the Indonesian madrassa, etc), the left is now constructing a profile of McCain as an old, out-of-touch codger.
Elsewhere, McCain-mocking videos are plentiful. One viral video shows the Video Professor, the computer know-how pitchman seen in infomercials, offering to tutor McCain. Another depicts McCain getting an e-mail about a national emergency at 3 am and not knowing how open it, a play on former hopeful Hillary Clinton’s 3 am phone call commercial during the primaries. Other sites remind us of McCain’s repeated references to Czechoslovakia (a country that ceased to exist in 1992) and his confusion over the names of his own policies.
For progressives, the online smears of McCain are a delicious plate of just desserts. They come after months and months of e-mail chains and websites spreading rumours that Obama is a Muslim (which scares a percentage of Americans) and unpatriotic. All of that came full circle Tuesday with the news that next week’s cover of the New Yorker features a cartoon of Obama in a turban.
Whether or not viral translates to votes, American political satire has moved online, and is the funnier for it.
Leak of the week
Even American rappers are getting in on the presidential humour: this week Mississippi’s David Banner released a series of campaign videos promoting himself for a cabinet post. He’s seen handing out stacks of money and keys to a Bentley to schoolchildren.