Excerpt: Page Nine of Eleven
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Three days in Austin aboard the Obama/Clinton Press Show
DEBATE PREPARATIONS - THE FIGHT ITSELF - SECRET SERVICE - CHEAP DEODORANT - BAG SEARCHES - AND BEHIND THE GATES AT THE OBAMA RALLY
by Ethan Persoff, http://www.ep.tc
The Debate Pre-Game Show
The following is an eleven page excerpt from a larger work in progress
focusing on the upcoming Presidential election, with an emphasis on Texas and the upcoming brokered National Convention in Denver.
After all these hours of anticipation, it's extremely exciting to be sitting in the press room with the main event about to start. CNN has linked the televisions up for a live feed of the debate hall and the unoccupied set looks pretty damn good on the screen. This is a treat: About an hour of unaired preliminary footage without any commentary or corporate branding ... not even a headline ticker. Just beautiful untouched footage of the interior event space as it fills with people. These images are not like the frenetic CNN ones you're used to. Instead they are simple and pleasantly quiet. Maybe there's a point to this presentation, because eventually it seems to add a mild calm to this packed rowdy room - or at the very least puts CNN's foot in the door for the upcoming show. The juxtapositions are so random it's really strange to be viewing it. Overhead shots of CNN scenery .. The back of some guy's head for forty seconds .. back and forth communication between cameramen .. this sort of thing. All muted. Regardless, it's very exciting because it means the debate is SOON. I'm chewing on the last of my dinner enjoying this pre-show, chomping away on steak fajitas and talking with about six or seven people now seated closely near me. I also want to emphasize it is extremely loud in here. Many people yelling conversations back and forth across the room, others on phones, others just barking to themselves. It's been a long day waiting for this room to fill and presently the aisles and doorway are packed with people. There isn't an open seat anywhere.
The best moment of this unaired footage is the game of "Find Chelsea" - where we see cameras literally spinning through the crowd for the elusive former teenager. Finally locking in on her and adjusting focus. It's foreshadowing for the inevitable CHELSEA CLINTON CAMEO. I wonder how it's scripted. A guy behind me softly jokes, "I love you Chelsea" - He's not alone. We all love our former First Baby.
Soon the footage becomes more cohesive and we're into the actual broadcast. The Debate is soon....The Debate is soon... I take a few final bites of my food and wipe down my mouth and face with a CNN napkin, the best political napkin on television. My eyes are locked on the monitor, I'm rubbing my hands together. It's very exciting. The whole room is equally tapped into this. You can sense it like a boxing match. Of course ...first, though... What's a sports show without a little formal TEDIUM. A few words from University of Texas officials about this great state, blah blah. Some comment about how much Lyndon Johnson loved all humanity, blah blah. Revision Revision Revison. Best bit is a sound glitch that overcomes all the speakers with a squeek and a pop for about twenty seconds, muting out everything into a low electric buzz. It gets quickly resolved and just in time, too... Because we now have tonight's BIG highlight! Yes it's A SPECIAL UNIQUE PRESENTATION of the TEXAS MARCHING BAND with its 784,567,649th career performance of THE EYES OF TEXAS ARE UPON YOU. Groan. Thanks. If you aren't familiar with this brainbusting musical number, it is Texas' own Star Spangled Banner, and as sacred to some tonedeaf locals as much as James Brown is to Harlem. Upon hearing the first few bent notes of Eyes of Texas, roughly half the state foams itself into a pre-programmed pubescent frenzy, shaking out out an obscene gesture called the 'Hook em'. The Hook em is a questionable hand sign in that it identically resembles something else: The Corna, or 'metal fingers', Shout at the devil, Black Metal, etc. A visit to a University of Texas sports event is made all the wilder when The Corna is on display, particularly during football season, when it's accompanied by an extremely depressed and medicated longhorn cow dripping about six gallons of mucus out of its heavily sedated skull, named Bevo.
SONGS OVER, HEY, LET'S INTRODUCE OUR CANDIDATES!
In my head I hear Daffy Duck doing the color commentary:
"Both Obama and Clinton come out from opposite sides of the ring. Spittin and bouncin on their feet, punching uppercuts in the air ... The referee pulls them each close and informs them of the rules of the fight. No hits below the belt, no ear chewing, and we're going to be needing concise answers this time, especially you BLONDIE. Anyways let's have a good fight the two of you." They both punch gloves, each spit into a bucket, pop in a blue mouthguard, turn and face the crowd and wave. DING!
And now, YES! From the corner of the screen I see a bunch of familiar faces. A flock of photographers RUSHING the stage with the longest lenses possible. It's SPRAY time. "Shit....Beautiful SPRAY" I remark to myself, chewing on the very last of my fajita, "Just Gorgeous" - and it is.
I decide to take my own spray of the spray
On the monitors we see flash bulbs popping off each other like disco lights. It's a quick but thorough spray and the camera people run back inside, each with their buckets full.
Okay ladies and gentlemen, DING! we have a fucking debate! Let's begin!
Barack Obama dusts off his highlighted well worn copy of The Montgomery Story and shines his teeth.
And a joke, in honor of Lenny Bruce:
Ladies and gentlemen, Hillary Clinton's Tits!