The call came in last night while I was out celebrating my birthday with a free screening of a yet-to-be finished Apatow-produced comedy (such is the life of the cheapskate writer), and the person calling had a passion in her voice best described as "un-passionate." "There's a visibility rally tomorrow at 2:00 at the Kodak Theater and we hope you can make it to support Barrack Obama because we believe he's really the only candidate who can change Washington." It was either her first call of the night, or her last one, because I'm sure she had some good ones in her. "Remember to wear red," she added at the end, which already had me confused. Apparently in this whole equation, CNN = Politics, Red = Obama, and Blue = Clinton. It may be the smallest mistake of Obama's campaign or it could be the single biggest error in the Democrats' political strategy (probably the former), but "wear red?" Democrats are blue, guys. Blue. Dodgers, not Angels. We're really only wearing red in support of the striking writers, but otherwise we aren't Oklahoma. Regardless, with my black hooded sweatshirt ready I accepted the invitation to see this demonstration of democracy off work in what may end up being the last major event at the Kodak for a while.
I know many immigrants to Hollywood write about how weird it is to actually live in Hollywood, but they're all correct. It is, even when attending semi-major political events such as the final head-to-head, one-on-one Democratic debate between Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama. It's weird primarily because while the area was crowded for a Thursday afternoon, it certainly wasn't the most crowded it's ever been. It gets about that full on any given Saturday, if only with more costumed characters. But that's not to say the characters weren't represented. Politics brings out Americans of all shapes, hats, fake beards and tights. One of the Captain Jack Sparrows (there are normally around three) seemed interested in the goings on, and Snoopy gave hugs to the two sad John Edwards supporters on the scene. The most puzzled had to be Spider-man, who perfectly demonstrates why the whole "color = candidate" equation only muddles things. Fortunately, Spider-man remembered his uncle's last words, and took some time to fill out a CNN poll as well as snag some swag. Then he mixed with the crowd of people wearing whatever the hell color they wanted.
The main stage was set up in the lobby of The Kodak (where today's hottest stars walk the Red Carpet!) and a crowd of different-sign-holding potential votes had already began cheering... democracy I suppose. I kept waiting to see either of the candidates at any moment, and the first couple times I fell for the chants of "O-BA-MA" and "HIL-LAR-EEE" before realizing that the candidates were not scheduled to show up until later that night and I could have checked this from my home. It was as true a "visibility rally" event as you could expect, a weird metaphor for politics in Tinsel Town: all glitz and glam. That's not to say they didn't hold similar rallies in other cities, but other cities didn't produce "Transformers." This is Hollywood's cross to bare. I also bet those other rallies weren't attended by small-yet-hip celebrities, like that kinda Goth-looking woman who played Drew Carey's girlfriend once and was the DJ who liked the Doors at the beginning of "Almost Famous."
After circling the ground floor for a while, I waved goodbye to Wolf Blitzer and went to see if the balcony areas around the Highland Mall (adjoining building with the Kodak) were open to the public. Not only were they open, they were nearly deserted and I grabbed a roost three-stories above the gathering masses. The "O-BA-MA"/"HIL-LAR-EE" chant battle continued sporadically, much to the chagrin of CNN employees who apparently want this open-to-the-public event to be quiet as a mouse. A couple Cheer Discouragers were undeterred in their attempts. Every time the chant-battles rose, a well-dressed man and woman would step forward and make the same motion home-field quarterbacks make to their fans when they can't call their play. It usually works for quarterbacks, but not for dudes giving folks the "Shh" finger. For those following closely CNN = Politics, but Cheer Discouragers does not = effectiveness.
The most discouraging part of the rally (or grouping of people, as it should really be called; it was about as politically effective as the window people at "The Today Show") was that it worked to demonstrate the Democratic Fool-Yourself Belief Bubble is already in full force. For those who are unfamiliar with this term, the Democratic Fool-Yourself Belief Bubble is an invisible fortress of like-mindedness that a left-leaning, liberal-minded, Colbert-loving person like myself builds around himself by only reading Salon.com articles, only watching BBC News, and believing virtually anything Sean Penn says. I'm sure I wasn't the only person "surprised" by the Kerry defeat of 2004 and this is a direct result of the Bubble. All my friends were doing it, so I naturally began to believe it was that way for everyone. The same thing happens when I meet someone who hasn't even heard of The Venture Bros. even though my friends and I consider it to be near perfection. The Democratic Fool-Yourself Belief Bubble was in double effect at The Kodak. As I stood listening to another chant battle, it became clear that the Obama supporters were in greater numbers (he may have wrapped up the not-to-busy-during-the-week vote). They had more signs, more fire, more loud speakers. But when I made it to the mall area, the tide swung to Clinton. At the end of the debate, the question may still remain of who can best heal this ailing shopping area?
So what does this all have to do with music, besides the fact that I can't stop humming Dethklok songs and I'm writing it while listening to the soundtrack for Once? As we come to the end of this seemingly endless first half of Election Season, it has everything to do with music: what song will these candidates choose for their "rally song?" We can safely assume that the Republican nomination will put forth some brand of Marine-Choir-sung "inspiration," but what of these two political southpaws? I can see how they keep this sort of thing under wraps for a long while, because musical taste could turn many voters away. What if Obama picked something like "Superfly?" Would it attract enough voters to make up for the ones it would turn off? Will Hillary stick with her campaign strategy as "Clinton Years 2" and keep "Don't Stop Believin'" (or was it "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow?" Either way, they don't want people to stop)? Or does she pick "Darling Nikki" just to spite Tipper Gore one more time? Taste accounts for so much more than we give it credit for so I hope they choose wisely and pick one we actually want to hear on election day. I don't want to be reminded of how much more American they are than I am by their taste in music. Just because I don't listen to it daily doesn't mean I ever stopped believin'... or thinkin' 'bout tomorrow. Either way I'm probably not the only left-leaning guy out there who hopes that as long as the song sounds absolutely nothing like "The Ballad of Mitt Romney," I'll probably be okay.
Reporting live from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, this has been a very sarcastic article.