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Mike Reed: Troglodyte
© Mike Reed



By C. Antonio Romero

PALO ALTO, 26 SEPTEMBER 2007 —A brief observation seems in order, in light of the latest bizarre development in the stampede of pachyderms and donkeys (and thick-skinned asses) towards the 2008 US presidential election.

Like the bizarre saga of Britney Spears that quickly outstripped the parodic gesture of the "Monument to Pro-Life", or the revelation that someone was shopping a stolen video of Anna Nicole Smith's breast enhancement surgery, the reality of the 2008 campaign is rapidly leaving behind anything that, say, The Onion or even the Yes Men  might fabricate. 

Today, former New York mayor and national security champion Rudy Giuliani will come to Palo Alto for a fundraiser, at which attendees are asked to contribute $9.11.

In a long life in Silicon Valley, one meets a lot of people whose politics a mature individual would have to call selfish, ignorant, repugnant. But even the most misinformed examples in that vein would recoil before a fundraising appeal this vulgar.  One has to ask: "Does he think he can come here and do this because the nerds here supposedly have no taste?" (Such a belief would, by the way, be misinformed; the engineer's aesthetic may be alien to the uninitiated, but it is quite powerful, and prickly, quick to appreciate the elegant and reject the ugly.)

Regardless of one's actual politics, this kind of grotesque puts the offensive into being "on the offensive." The aesthetic faculty rebels in the face of an impulse so misguided, it has to be evil.

Of course the campaign is backing away from this. But it's hard to imagine that this happened completely off their radar. The only consolation here is that, if Giuliani's "people" continue to show this kind of tin-ear judgement, perhaps the campaign will implode. Then this political bogeyman could finally sink into to the obscurity into which he would have justly vanished, had 9/11 not given him a stage of gore and wreckage upon which to strut (while we fret).

C. Antonio Romero is a writer and engineer in Silicon Valley. He is also the Nouveau editor at

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