“Thinking Out Loud” – 10/1

For those of you who don’t know, I write a weekly humor column for the Duquesne Duke student newspaper here on the bluff.  For your reading pleasure, I’ll be posting my column here when it comes out on Thursdays.  If you like what you see and would like to read more of the Duke, check out the Duke’s official website for the rest of this week’s issue.  If you’d like to read other stuff I’ve written, check out the archive page to see my other columns and pieces.

Polling Out All the Stops

The interactions between media giants 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair represent a cycle that many public figures find themselves swept up in. Celebrities often stir up controversy by posing nude in Vanity Fair, then try to explain their rationale in an appearance on 60 Minutes. The interview repairs their public image enough for another chance to pose nude on a VF cover, and so,the cycle continues.

Given their symbiotic relationship, it was only a matter of time before the two combined powers. 60 Minutes and VF recently conducted a poll of more than 1,000 Americans to gauge their opinions on virtually everything American.

Supposedly, the goal of the poll simply was to take America’s pulse. But to me, it just proves that Americans are still stone-cold crazy.

According to the poll, 48 percent of Americans believe Wal-Mart is the corporation that best symbolizes America today. Despite an open class-action lawsuit accusing Wal-Mart of pay and promotional discrimination against female employees, 55 percent of women who responded to the question agreed. Could this be a spark of cynicism, or is the allure of saving three cents on toothpaste really enough to make women forget about equal rights?

Wal-Mart is considering adding H1N1, or swine flu vaccination stations to some of its megastores. When respondents were asked if they would become a “Wal-Mart Patient” if the store began offering healthcare services, only 33 percent of respondents said “no.” All others were either “unsure” or responded “yes.”

There are certain things you simply should not purchase at a department store, even one that is complete with a pharmacy, nail salon, Tire & Lube Express, bakery and a Subway.

VF/60 Minutes also asked Americans which they felt was worse: a politician taking bribes or having extramarital affairs.

Politicians have been under a microscope since Watergate, but the last 15 years have been particularly unkind to desk-jockeys dabbling in dastardly deeds. Nearly 44 percent gave the cop-out answer, “Both are bad,” but 37 percent said taking bribes was worse. Only 2 percent voted for affairs. Somewhere, John Edwards’ political future just regained a pulse.

Thirty-five percent of Americans thought the likeness of Albert Einstein was most likely to be used in endorsements 100 years from now, more than Michael Jackson’s, Miley Cyrus’ or James Dean’s. This is surprising to me, since Einstein’s name has been continuously dragged through the mud; when is the last time someone said, “Way to go, Einstein,” and you replied, “Why thank you, I pride myself on my intelligence”? Not surprisingly, only 6 percent of Americans feel Madonna would be a good celebrity endorsement in 100 years.

The poll also showed male respondents would rather trade places with George Clooney than President Barack Obama. On one hand, being president is a childhood dream for many. On the other hand, Clooney has fame, riches and undeniable sway with women. As the 2-percent difference between the results shows, this one is a toss-up.

Female respondents would rather trade places with First Lady Michelle Obama than Hilary Clinton, Angelina Jolie or Beyonce. Thirty-three percent of women also said they would not trade places with any of the four famous females. I firmly believe this is because “Whoever Matthew McConaughey is dating” was not one of the options.

And the last bit of proof that America is still nuts: When VF/60 Minutes asked what should be done to reduce American obesity, 4 percent of those polled chose “tax credit for liposuction.” That’s right; 4 percent of people actually think this is a good idea. Forget about Wal-Mart, I think this answer best symbolizes America today.

Matt Kasznel is a junior journalism major and can be reached at kasznel1035@duq.edu.

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