Welcome to this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mailbag! Today, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss our dream match-ups for the 2016 election, the controversial world of cable news graphics packages and a reader's bizarre sex dream featuring Mitt Romney.
What's the dream 2016 presidential matchup, and what will it actually be?
Ben: I'm saying Cory Booker for President and Elizabeth Warren as VP. From a policy point of view, I'd prefer it to be the other way around, but I don't think Warren has the presence to lead a ticket. Booker on the other hand has 'President' written all over him - he's telegenic, articulate and pretty damn cool (remember rescuing his neighbor from a burning house?). I can't see any Republicans taking that duo on - an African American candidate and a woman with pretty legit progressive credentials would be a very hard combination to beat.
Chez: I guess the safe bet on the Democratic side is Hillary, although she'll be approaching 70 so despite her reputation for being a political animal the question will be whether she feels like putting herself through that hell. Personally, provided Obama wins the election and nothing blows up in anyone's face over the next four years, I'd love to see Hillary run in 2016. As for the Republicans, I genuinely think they need an infusion of new blood. If the gods decide to be especially vindictive and teach us all an object lesson and Romney winds up winning, obviously he'll run for reelection (provided he isn't recalled to his home planet because his exploratory mission on Earth is complete, in which case we'll be invaded anyway). If the GOP loses and loses badly, I'd like to believe that it will sound the death knell for the Tea Party crazies whose influence will have undoubtedly soured many independents on Republican politics. What this could mean is that a more moderate conservative candidate will emerge. That's not likely, though. Just wait for the Florida ultra-conservative "minority" tag team of Marco Rubio and Allen West. Or for the triumphant return of a Bush, namely Jeb, being that the thought will be that enough time has passed since W fucked the family name in the face. The dream match-up, though: Joe Biden versus everyone he's ever offended, beginning with the entire nation of India.
Bob: The Republican candidate for 2016 all depends on whether President Obama wins. If Romney wins in November, it'll be Romney versus Hillary Clinton. If the president wins in November, it'll be Hillary Clinton versus Jeb Bush -- possibly Marco Rubio or, as a long shot, Joe Scarborough. If Hillary decides not to run, the nominee could be Deval Patrick. The dream match-up, though... hmmm... Let's say Hillary Clinton versus Chris Christie.
I'm a designer at a national news network and well, our ratings have been on the low side. I've read many articles about how to "fix our ratings problem", and our graphics are always mentioned. Why? Why? Why? What's wrong with having cool graphics and why do the critics mock them? I always thought that's what the viewers enjoyed ( ESP. During the elections). What's wrong with thinking outside of the box and challenging myself as a designer? I'm so grateful that I work for a company that encourages my department to take risks and allows us to experiment with new design trends and technology, and it pisses me off when these critics say all of our hard work is a waste and stupid. Are most people in this industry squares with no imagination?
Bob: I think people shit all over the news graphics when they make war seem like a Jerry Bruckheimer trailer. Jon Stewart has contributed much to the disdain and cynicism about those things. Personally, I dig the graphics most of the time and, as a fellow artist (I'm an animator when I'm not writing), I appreciate the work that goes into the packages you produce, and mainly the 90 levels of hell you must endure to get those things through the gauntlet of focus groups and approved by network executives who can be tortuously insufferable and indecisive.
Ben: No disrespect to your profession Kristina - I'm sure you do a great job and your talents are very much appreciated by your network. The thing is, from a news perspective, I'd like to see the network's resources being poured into actual reporting rather than spinning 3D logos. It costs an arm and a leg to do what CNN/MSNBC and Fox do with their graphics and in my view, it's unnecessary. I'd rather see a reporter doing real journalism than a remake of Avatar when I switch on the news. I just think your skills would be put to better use elsewhere - sorry if that seems harsh, but I'm being honest. Anyway, if you feel like doing any pro bono work for the Banter, we'd love a make over....
Chez: Jesus, what network do you work for that your graphics are so intrusive and annoying that people are writing articles telling you to knock it off? Wait, you design holograms and magic walls for CNN, don't you? I get that an overabundance of graphics in TV news has become something of a punchline and in some ways it should be, only because news departments these days are trying to put too much information onscreen at one time and it becomes a nightmare that your eyes and your brain can't keep up with. Crappy news organizations also try to use a lot of flash to compensate for the fact that their storytelling and coverage sucks. My personal philosophy when it comes to graphics in news is that you use them to sell stories and product that need to be sold or enhanced and you leave them our of stories and product that sell themselves. That's not to say that imaginative graphics can't enhance a broadcast, but you have to understand as a designer that what you think is incredibly cool from an artistic standpoint may be distracting and unnecessary in the context of a news broadcast. Put it this way: It's like creating dinosaurs in "Jurassic Park." Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should. Sometimes less is more -- but that's not the way most news managers think these days. Plus all the computer animation in the world won't make Wolf Blitzer or John King exciting.
I am a woman and a progressive. I had a sex dream about Mitt Romney, and it wasn't a nightmare. What is wrong with me? What if it happens again?
Chez: Well, as I'd imagine most sexual encounters with Mitt Romney go, you slept through it.
Bob: Was he good or was he as spastic, herky-jerky and awkward as he is when he's speaking extemporaneously in real life? Did he use tin foil and duct tape as a condom? Did he have a micro-penis as I've privately suspected? I have a million questions about this because I have no idea why women find him at all attractive. He's kind of like a CG movie version of Herman Munster, but with chest-high Dad jeans. If I were gay or a woman, there would just be no way ever, ever, ever. But I still hear that he's hot. It's just weird. Okay, I've thought about this too much. Bye.
Ben: If it happens again, I'd seek therapy pretty quickly. I'll do a quick armchair analysis for free though: You have unresolved issues with your father who read you financial reports instead of bedtime stories. You now find solace in obscure financial data and incredibly boring men - hence the sex dreams about Romney. Damn, I'm good.
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