A Casual, Honest and Meandering Presidential Campaign Launch Speech

I tried submitting this a few places and didn’t hear back. Except for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, which rejected it, but did so with an encouraging note. I hope you enjoy.

My fellow Americans: I stand before you today as a candidate for the President of the United States.

Many of you don’t know me. But some of you may know me from C-SPAN.

[applause]

Yeah. C-SPAN fans. Great folks.

A lot of people want to bring change to Washington. But honestly, I’m pretty happy with the status quo.

As an elected representative, I have to admit, it’s pretty nice. You get an office, some staffers. People thank you for things constantly. As your president, I would have a lot more staffers and a far greater variety of people thanking me for things at much greater frequency and with much more fervor.

Even foreigners.

And the cafeteria my colleagues and I have access to is not that bad.

Pretty affordable, too. There are these really good crepes. And, you know, the president can order whatever he wants to eat. So I could get a guy who is a professional crepe chef. Under my administration, there will definitely be more and higher quality crepes.

Now I know a lot of you think Washington has become dangerously out of touch with you and your lives. Well, that’s because there’s a lot of you. It’s really hard to get to know everybody well.

I have a colleague from Rhode Island. I told him, hey, your state is only like 1,000 square miles, I bet you know your constituents really well. Like you run into them at the supermarket all the time, right?

And he said, no, it’s still a million people. Damn, I said, that’s a lot of people.

Then we got some crepes at the cafeteria. He bought. Cool guy.

Point is, you might think a guy from Wyoming has it easy. The least people out of any state, right? But Wyoming is huge. If he took the time to meet everybody, driving all around the state, he’d never be able to stop because new people would keep getting born. It would be like a vicious circle. Not vicious. I like babies. It would be a happy circle, but still a circle.

And getting to know anybody? I mean really knowing them? That’s hard. As president, I’ll be honest, I couldn’t care about every single American in a meaningful way. Not individually.

It takes me like five episodes to get really into characters on a TV series and those are scripted. Real life, as we know, is not scripted. Except campaign speeches. And this is one of those.

Oh, I should warn you. I’m going to say some extreme stuff during the primaries. You kind of have to nowadays. Primary voters like it. But then, if I win the primary, I’m gonna say a lot of really general-sounding stuff since I’ll need to appeal to a larger number of voters.

You might think, hey, that guy said something I totally agreed with and now he seems kind of wishy-washy about that thing I really care about.

Don’t worry. For each one of you there are two people who will say, hey that guy said something I thought was crazy, but now he sounds pretty reasonable. And for each of those people, there’s ten more who won’t even be paying attention during the time when I say things that may sound crazy.

A lot of people think that’s cynical. Well, you’re not gonna get any argument from me.

Also, I shouldn’t forget to mention my wife. And I didn’t.

That’s my speech. Thanks. And god bless America.

Unless you’re not into the whole religion in public life thing.

In which case, well, don’t worry, that’s just how you end speeches.

What Would a Literal Adaptation of World War Z Look Like?

Paramount says World War Z‘s film adaptation will follow Brad Pitt’s quest to stop the zombie outbreak. While that departs radically what the book depicted — humanity learning from its failure to prevent and contain a zombie outbreak and its eventual triumph over the zombie menace — I get why a literal adaptation would have been pretty hard to pull off.

A literal adaptation would have involved dozens of directors from around the world each filming a chapter using local actors and locations. It would be 30 hours long and while I would watch every minute of it, I understand that the studio has to market the movie to people who didn’t read the book. That said, the book itself is pretty dark and the idea of depicting a post-apocalyptic environment where humanity is trying to rebuild is appealing, but probably not mass-appealing.

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, for instance, was a great book. But the film version, which was a fairly literal adaptation, made for a soul-sucking, relatively boring cinematic experience.