Saturday, July 18, 2009

In other words, is not a person

My favorite moment in the July 20th New Yorker is below.  It describes the attempts to hand-count every ballot in the closely-contested Franken/Coleman Senate election.

Each challenged ballot was projected onto a large screen visible to a roomful of observers from the public and the press. The members of the Canvassing Board scrutinized and debated the markings on each ballot to decide the voter’s intent, and their deliberations were videotaped and streamed live over the Internet. Minnesotans found the process mesmerizing.

Some ballots presented little difficulty; in one instance, a voter had clearly filled in the bubble beside Coleman’s name but had accidentally, or in a moment of indecision, touched his pencil tip in Franken’s bubble, leaving a small dot. The judges gave the vote to Coleman. Other ballots provoked long, absurdist exchanges. One ballot—from Beltrami County—became locally famous. The voter had filled in the bubble for Franken but had printed “Lizard People” in the write-in area. After a few minutes of discussion, Marc Elias, a lawyer for Franken, spoke up. “My argument would be that ‘Lizard People’ is not a genuine write-in,” Elias said. “In other words, is not a person.”

“Do we know that for sure?” one of the judges asked.

Another asked, “If it said ‘Moon Unit Zappa,’ would you say, ‘Oh, no, there is no such person as Moon Unit Zappa?’ ”

“I would say that that would be permissible,” Elias said.

“Well, but you don’t know that there’s not someone named Lizard People. You don’t!”

The judges voted to have the ballot tossed out.


Barbara Carlson said...

Enjoy your every entry, and have watched (and forwarded) MJ's Smooth Criminal vid. He was The One, no doubt about it. A heavy assignment.

Re: Bad Art. I saw a MOBA exhibition (live) in Ottawa a fews ago. Went with friends. Thought we would faint with laughter. Every painting worse than the last. Their catalogue is priceless. You're right - it's the comments that so contribute to the "enjoyment" of them. Brilliant and well-observed writing. (I am actually a Friend of the Gallery -- it's free to become one!)

Barbara Carlson said...

Had a look at the recent acquisitions page of Museum of Bad Art...whoever's writing the comments these days needs help. Weak stuff (in many cases).

See older paintings' remarks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the positive feedback. I envy you--would love to see some Bad Art in person (well, _this kind of bad art, at least). In the immortal words of Nigel Tufnel, "it's such a fine line, between clever, and stupid."

Barbara Carlson said...

Ah, Christopher Guest. He LIVES on that line.

Re MOBA -- The homemade (& ingeniously horrendous) frames were as funny (and poignant) as the art inside them. Kuddos to MOBA -- appreciably promoting the Cause of Silliness in the world.