My 30 Seconds of Within-Earshot-of-Fame

I think I just rated a mention on The McLaughlin Group.

Well, not really. But my bumper sticker did. And given the relative obscurity of that particular sticker, I’d put the odds as pretty good that it was actually me to whom Eleanor Clift was referring.

I came across the reference by blind luck — I happened to be turning the television on at my folks’ house, and there it was. McLaughlin had put out the call for the panelists’ choice for “best politician” of 2004. Pat Buchanan opened with Karl Rove (good choice, I thought). And then the baton passed to Ms. Clift, who responded as follows:

“President Bush, who did everything to lose and still won. And I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, ‘Bush/Orwell ’04. Ignorance is strength.’”

Naturally, I hit the “rewind” button on the DVR, and recorded the brief exchange to show the family (though I’ll admit that the subject matter was a bit awkward).

Now, even though the show is taped here in Washington, you’d think the reference could have been to just anyone, right? Well, not quite. First of all, there are — or, rather, were — three variations on the “Bush/Orwell” bumper sticker: “Ignorance Is Strength,” “War Is Peace,” and “Freedom Is Slavery.” (I opted for the first, since I felt it best captured both the Orwellian nightmare of administration policy and Bush’s own unparalleled stupidity.)

Second, the slogan (and, in fact, the entire framing site) was changed shortly after I bought my sticker, from “Bush/Orwell” to “Bush/Big Brother”; more accurate in terms of the satirical target, but not as pointed in my opinion (at the time, I assumed that the site had been given a cease-and-desist letter from the Orwell estate). A few stickers remained to be sold (thus allowing me to replace mine after it was removed by the repair shop), but unless you had the direct link to the product, you couldn’t find it — it was no longer accessible from the main storefront site.

And third, the sticker was never that popular to begin with. In all my tours of the city, I have never seen any “Bush/Orwell” (or even “Bush/Big Brother”) products — bumper stickers, t-shirts, anything. (I, of course, have not only the bumper sticker, but a t-shirt, a tile coaster, an oval ministicker — which does not appear on my car — and a Victory Gin travel mug.)

As of the present, the entire site, GWBush04.com, no longer exists. For a while, it was redirecting to a liberal news aggregator, TheBlueDonkey.com, but now, even that appears to be defunct. Now, both addresses just point to the CafePress storefront.

Of course, if anyone else happens to see this sticker zipping around town (on anything other than a black CR-V), then I’ll figure that maybe I wasn’t the one referenced. But until then, I’m clinging to my momentary climb from the depths of obscurity.

Hell, I may cling to it anyway.


At 11:48 AM, Kori said...

Cling to fame, Bill. Don't let it go.

By the way, happy belated birthday, festivus, and Christmas.

At 8:07 AM, Lisa said...

Does it make you wonder where Ms. Clift might have spotted you - what stomping ground you have in common? On the beltway? At the grocery store?

In Richmond, most Democratic stickers are pretty simple. As one gets into the suburbs, one sees strange Republican redundancies: a sticker for an exclusive private school on a Volvo -- and a W sticker, for example. Yesterday's was a Confederate battle flag and the slogan "Heritage Not Hate" in conjunction with a Bush Cheney 04 sticker.

At 9:41 AM, Bill Coughlan said...

Hmm... I think the Rebel battle flag (no matter what half-hearted slogan they choose to affix to it) and the Bush/Cheney sticker pretty much go hand in hand.

As for stomping grounds, since my office is right on M Street (we share a building with the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr), I'm pretty much right on the route between downtown and Georgetown (at least outbound, since M Street is one way). I haven't the foggiest idea where Ms. Clift resides, but it wouldn't surprise me to know she at least visits the upscale Foxhall neighborhoods.


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