Contemplate this on the tree of woe.


Every election I get some favorite piece of campaign memorabilia, and this year's top honors go to Governor Schwarzenegger's Ballot Proposition Voter Guide, a garish and fun journey through the initiatives with the state of California's chief executive. Giant-type pull quotes and multicolored banner headlines abound, and each page features a margin tab giving direct voting advice from the governator himself:

The familiar use of "Arnold" throughout demonstrates one of the great strengths of the guv: His pitch-perfect awareness and tonal control of all the absurdities in his public persona. Since the process of bogus self-revelation is even more intense for a politician than for a movie star, Arnold's political career has shown what an exact understanding he has of how the public sees him—even when the public is making fun of him. He gives the lie to the Rainer Wolfkastle model of an un-self-aware celebrity. Note that Governor Arnold's two most famous political invocations of his movie image—telling American troops he was there to "pump you up" and calling state Democrats "girlymen"—are not actually references to his own image, but to "Hans and Franz," the parody of his image done by Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon. No doubt, we all have our favorite postmodern figure, and these days mine is Governor Schwarzenegger, even (or especially) when he's unironically urging me to vote no on some ballot initiative:

But this campaign packet has one more treat in store, a special page devoted to defeating two Indian gaming initiatives:

At first glance, this pic of a pair of brownish hands scooping money off a blackjack table is a straightforward negative image of Indian gaming. But look closer and you'll see that the guy is actually scooping up a true Michigan Roll: A pile of one-dollar bills with a tenner on the outside to make it look more impressive (which, given the low antes many Indian casinos allow, may not be wholly inaccurate). Not only has the governor given me free voting advice, he's doing it on the cheap like a true fiscal conservative. Go Arnold!

NEXT: Availability Heuristics

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  1. Should I assume from that first picture that Ahnold is in favor of 69?

  2. You are correct, sir. For the record, 69 would require DNA sample collection from all felons.

  3. And are these samples to be collected in the manner specified by the proposition number?

  4. Syd,
    I’m sure the felons hope so.

  5. Does that mean there are 70 different initiatives? I mean, do they go 1, 2, 3. . .70? Surely not?

    Arnold preemptively subverts all parody, so it’s hard to know what to do with the guy but like him. He’s my kind a republican: pot, nudity, etc.

  6. “You are correct, sir. For the record, 69 would require DNA sample collection from all felons.”

    You sure it doesn’t say “fellas?”

    Tap tap. Is this thing on?

  7. I don’t see it on the big guide (, but Arnold got Propositions 60 and 62 right in the Arnold Guide I received in the mail.( If 60 and 62 go the wrong way, a Californian’s ability to vote for a third party candidate in a general election will be a fond memory.

    …I know. If 60 and 62 go against third parties, it’ll just go to the courts anyway. The California State Legistlature has abdicated its responsibility to legislate and handed it over to the referendum process meaning the courts. It’s a sorry state of affairs, and unless someone passes a referendum stopping all future referendums, I don’t see the answer.

  8. Why does having “69” and “DNA sample collection” in the same sentence strike me as so … oh, never mind.

    Ahnuld may not exactly be a libertarian, but I like his attitude about himself. If he were eligible, I’d like to see him on the inevitable Republican Ted Nuget ticket some day.

  9. Ted Nugent. Dammit.

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