Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Here S/He Comes, Miss/Mister Trenton..."

I was exploring my phone's new Twitter app recently, and discovered it — hello, Big Brother! — coordinated with Google Maps, and pinpointed the exact location of other local Twitterers, at least those with their location turned on. I checked this out partially because I'm curious, but also because it seemed like a cool, newfangled way to connect with other presumably like-minded neighbors. Not only did it pinpoint their location on the map of my neighborhood, but I could click on each electronic pin and read my neighbors' Twitter timelines. Mostly (sadly), many of my Twittering neighbors are not like me, as I had hoped, but rather, aspiring gangsta hip hop stars with a dubious grasp of the English language, and a predilection for illicit drugs and misogyny.

Not long after the discovery of my Tweeting neighbors, I received notification that West Ward Councilwoman and one-of-upward-of-10-to-12 mayoral hopefuls, Annette Lartigue, was following me on Twitter. That was surprising because if I were her and had seen the not-so-nice (but warranted) stuff I posted about her on this blog, I wouldn't follow me. Plus, my recent Twitter timeline (visible below to the right, if you're reading this on the blog's homepage) consists largely of proclamations of my fears of winding up on A&E's "Hoarders," my failed exercising attempts, my crank-calling Pat Robertson, and other unsolicited commentary about farting, Rick Springfield, Dick Clark, Snuggies, and wine. I'm not sure why anyone follows me, or why I even bother to use Twitter since my contributions are at best, mindless.

But back to my gangsta rappin' neighbors: I don't want them to fail or give up their dreams, but realistically, it's not feasible for our market to accommodate 20 or more up-and-coming rappers. From Trenton. And it concerns me that perhaps the schools are not preparing the local kids for the real world, if all they're doing is hoping to become the next Fifty Cent. No matter. I hope they continue to strive, because maybe one or a few of them WILL succeed, and the ones that don't will find satisfying work in the world of music as promoters or managers or teachers, or something similar.

While it seems unrealistic to me that so many local kids would want fame, I realize I am a relative newcomer to Trenton, and perhaps do not have the best grasp of the personality of the community. I must not comprehend the mind and heart of the citizenry here, because even odder than every 20-something wanting to be a hip-hop star, is that all of their parents and grandparents seem to want to run for mayor of Trenton. I can name 10 individuals, to date, vying for the (strangely) coveted seat which currently cushions Doug Palmer's much-kissed buttocks. This is who I can name (in alphabetical order, more or less):

Alex Brown
Keith Hamilton
John Harmon
Eric Jackson
Annette Lartigue
Tony Mack
Paul Pintella
Manny Segura
Frank Weeden
and the Guy Who Keeps Changing His Name and Religion

(If I'm forgetting anyone, and I think I am, please feel free to correct me in the comments section.)

The aspiring rappers have a better shot of realizing their dreams, no? I think, though, the motives of many of the aspiring rappers and the aspiring mayors are the same: that spotlight sure is alluring. I expect egotistical performers, but find politicians with a pronounced ego and self-serving nature to be incredibly distasteful.

Adding to my sense of confusion and dismay about my fellow Trentonians is the story of a school principal by the name of Baye Kemit who plans to sponsor a mayoral debate, but will not invite mayoral hopeful Manny Segura, who is Latino. Kemit runs a private African-centered school here in the city, but I don't see that as relevant. Maybe it's easy for me to say this, as the crazy white chick on the corner, but I'd like to think that ALL people in positions of esteem and influence — like Kemit — would strive to fight injustice, exclusion, and censorship, especially since all citizens of Trenton, regardless of ethnicity, have many of the same problems. So far, Kemit is still employed, and to my knowledge, has not been reprimanded for what seems to me to be racist and unfair practices, but I suppose as principal of a private school, maybe he can do whatever he wants? Maybe no one will show up to his debate, anyway. More on this over at The Front Stoop.

So, I would like to invite the candidates to my own debate. Date and venue are forthcoming. But I'm gonna be upfront with you. This ain't gonna be like any mayoral debate you've ever seen. I'm running it like the Miss America Pageant, and mayoral contenders must excel in the following categories:
  • Artist Expression/Talent (I'm partial to accordion players and chefs, by the way)
  • Presentation and Community Achievement (should be a breeze for all of the mayoral hopefuls, right?)
  • Presence and Poise (evening wear)
  • Peer respect and leadership (Mr. Pintella, you have your work cut out for you, but don't give up!)
  • Knowledge and Understanding
  • Lifestyle and Fitness (swimsuit)
Who's judging this fantastic spectacle? Me. Because it's my idea. But I hope to have a panel of seven judges. So far I've only invited Rush Limbaugh to participate, and have not heard back from him yet, but since he likes to judge so much, I suspect he'll say yes. If you're interested in judging, please let me know.

Like the Miss America Pageant, my Mayoral Pageant is not a beauty contest, even if I am personally looking forward to the swimsuit segment. Don't worry! It will only count for 20% of the contestants' final score. There will be eliminations after each round, and the final winner of the competition will get my (very important) endorsement for the election. I don't want to get too ahead of myself, but it seems to me that elections are flawed in the city, not so much because of the democratic process itself, but because of the overabundance of candidates for any given seat and an underabundance of electorate willing to head over to the polling station unless there's something in it — immediate and tangible — for them. So, if my Trenton Mayoral Pageant goes well — and I know it will — I propose dispensing with local elections all together, and moving straight to a pageant format. This will save our cash-strapped city a lot of money, because we won't have to deal with annoying run-off elections, which are a given in this community of people who need to be bribed to vote in the first place.

Since this city is full of so much ego, I figured the Mayoral Pageant may become popular, anyway. The spotlight is calling.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Sure enough cool-Kat, you missed to "trying to stay below the radar" candidate, Wiley Fuller.

I'll forward you the official Reinvent Trenton candidate tally via email.