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Spectaclist Candidate Gives His All to Make America Better

Meet John Doe

John Doe, Spectaclist Candidate for President FT. SAM HOUSTON, TX. (AP) — In a surprise announcement that sent ripples through the Beltway, John Doe today announced his bid for his party’s nomination for President. His name will be put forth in nomination at the upcoming Spectaclist Convention to be held in Las Vegas, NV, in June. Surrounded by throngs gathered at this high-profile military installation, the re-designed candidate outlined his new agenda for change in America, dubbing it ‘All Context No Contest.’ No doubt a new campaign strategy will divulge itself in the coming months.

Four years ago, a stunning defeat at the polls left the then Spectaclist nominee for president licking his wounds and ducking for cover. Not so today. The bespectacled book-learned would-be president was upbeat when asked about his platform. ‘A chicken in every pot won’t do anymore,’ he proclaimed. ‘We want to up the ante. The society that rests on modern industry isn’t fortuitously or superficially spectacular; it is fundamentally spectaclist.’ These words are like soda pop to the assembled Spectaclists, who paint their man as the front-runner for the Spectaclist nomination.

His previous admissions of having used drugs in college, marital infidelity and various financial peccadilloes seemed to carry no weight with the crowd. ‘I don’t think we need to judge him too harshly for all that,’ said Dame Mae Whitty, a long-time Doe supporter. ‘Spectaclists don’t wish to come to be anything but their very selves. We all have skeletons.’

Still it promises to be an uphill struggle for the maverick candidate. With only 5 months until the National Conventions, Doe has to scramble to reassemble the power base which was scattered like confetti at the end of the last election’s debacle. When asked about this, Doe responded, ‘Some say that the unity of this life can no longer be established. But the Spectaclists present themselves as an instrument of unification. If we can’t unite, then who can?’ Such obfuscations go a long way with the addle-pated Spectaclists, but how far they will go with the electorate remains to be seen.

With the opposition Recidivist Party firmly entrenched in Congress and their candidate’s popularity rising in the polls, John Doe seemed nonetheless confident during his speech. Pausing to brush back his wind-tousled hair during the long gaps in his speech filled with dutiful applause, Doe reaffirmed the Spectaclist aim of ‘… becoming the dominant model of social life in the heart of an unreal society.’ Among his promises if elected were eye exams for every American, opening trade talks with several nations, and improved standards in manufacturing. As to how he proposes to pay for these projects, the candidate remained elusive. ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way,’ he said.

When more philosophical problems are broached, the candidate’s face lights up like that of a little boy. Asked about the quality of life in America and what he thought might improve it, he stated, ‘All my life, I have witnessed nothing but troubled times, extreme ruptures in society, and immense destruction. I have taken part in these troubles.’

In his last campaign, Doe was made notorious for having stated, ‘Look out, the liar has lied to himself,’ during televised debates with the opposing Recidivist candidate, Spiro T. Agnew. Later that week, at an appearance before the National Press Club, he threw gasoline on the flames by saying, ‘In a world that is upside-down, the true is simply another instance of the false.’ These pronouncements, and others like them, sent shock waves through the media community.

In addition, Doe’s defiance of electoral convention, his demonstrated taste for secrecy and manipulation, and his avowed disdain for dialog was turned against him by his own party. Many began breaking ranks, and the unity of the party could no longer be re-established. Two weeks before the elections, the candidate gave every indication that the events he himself had created had overtaken him. By Election Day, candidate Doe was already dead in the water.

To make matters worse, a series of stunning revelations followed: an apparent triple suicide pact was uncovered, apparently involving Doe, with one of France’s most famous radical intellectuals taking his life, followed within three days by two of his closest friends. The main player in the bizarre drama, Guy Debord, 62, shot himself to death at his home in the Haute-Loire district on December 1 of that year. Debord, an inveterate intellectual jester with the seriousness of a 19th century anarchist and the wit of a Voltaire, was the founder in the 1950s of a radical cultural theory known as situationism.

Two days after Debord’s death, publisher Gérard Voitey, who had been involved in Debord’s renowned publishing enterprise, Champ Libre, was found dead at the wheel of his car near a lake. He had fired one shot from a pistol into his head. The next day, 75-year-old Roger Stéphane, a prominent critic and friend of Debord and Voitey as well as of French novelist André Malraux, shot himself in a Paris apartment where he lived with his dogs and piles of books.

Speculation in France on the causes of the triple suicide ranged from disappointment with the failed leftist hopes of the past 30 years to predictable hints about AIDS. French police believed the three deaths were linked but never released any solid evidence of a suicide pact. According to sources, Doe was ‘intimately linked’ with all three victims.

The affair echoed the mysterious death in 1984 of Debord’s financial patron, Gérard Lebovici, a gay radical and co-director of the Champ Libre house, who was shot dead at point-blank range in a Paris garage. Doe’s name had surfaced in the investigation of Lebovici’s death, leading to a court suit and a series of bitter writings by Debord, who memorialized Lebovici through furious condemnation of French intellectual life, even angrily withdrawing his own works from the public.

This election promises to be different. The Spectaclist candidate has polished his delivery and updated his wardrobe, no longer even balking at putting on make-up before appearing on television. ‘We want to make a real difference in the everyday lives of Americans,’ he declares. The crowd hangs on every word.

by Lloyd Dunn (collaged from various sources).

Reprinted from The Spectaclist, first appearing in 1995.

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