Gore Wondering If Latest Doonesbury Is About Him

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Vol 36 Issue 34

'Farm Aid Aid' Concert To Benefit Struggling Farm Aid Concerts

INDIANAPOLIS–A special Farm Aid Aid concert will be held Oct. 3 in Indianapolis to raise money for America's struggling Farm Aid concerts, event organizer Willie Nelson announced Monday. "Fifteen years ago, our nation's Farm Aid concerts were thriving, with millions of Americans flocking to see such artists as John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and myself," Nelson said. "But today, with ticket sales dwindling and subsidies nonexistent, countless hard-working Farm Aid promoters have been forced to foreclose on bookings in amphitheaters one-tenth the size of the stadiums they once filled."

IOC: Many Viewers May Be Using Olympics-Enhancing Drugs

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA–The International Olympic Committee announced Monday that it will launch a full-scale investigation in the wake of allegations of Olympics-enhancing drug use by viewers. "We have reason to suspect that as many as 18 million U.S. viewers are artificially increasing their ability to sit through the Sydney Games with illegal substances, particularly marijuana," IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch said. "These drugs enable viewers to watch NBC Olympic coverage beyond the limits of normal human endurance." Interest-boosting doping, Samaranch said, is particularly rampant among viewers of archery, men's handball, and women's sailing.

Bathroom Smells Like Shit

GALENA PARK, TX–The second-floor men's room of a Sysco Vending office building smells like shit, disgusted employee Art McCune reported Tuesday. "Jesus Christ, it smells like actual human feces in here," McCune said. "I'm serious–it's like someone walked in, dropped his pants and underwear, straddled a bowl, excreted nearly a pound of fecal matter out of his anus, and then walked right out again." Building custodian Byron Withers apologized for the foul odor, assuring Sysco staffers that by the following morning, the bathroom would be back to smelling like bleach.

First Draft Of Paper Inadvertently Becomes Final Draft

EUGENE, OR–The first draft of an English 140 paper by University of Oregon sophomore Mindy Blain ultimately became the final draft, Blain reported Monday. "I was gonna keep working on it and add a bunch of stuff about how the guy who wrote [The Great Gatsby] was affected by a lot of the stuff going on around him," she said. "But then I was like, fuck it." Blain said she spent the time that would have been devoted to a revision watching Friends in her dorm's TV lounge.

Cool Ashtray Found

HAMTRAMCK, MI–An afternoon trip to the Joseph Campau Street St. Vincent's thrift shop netted a cool ashtray Tuesday. "Dude, it totally looks like it would have been on Dean Martin's coffee table," discoverer Marc Reiss told friend Scott Ratner. "It's green ceramic and triangular, and it's huge." The ashtray's most perfect detail, Reiss said, which more than justifies its $2 purchase price, is a raised center featuring a full 12 cigarette notches.

Dental-Hygiene Tips

As the old saying goes, "Ignore your teeth, and they'll go away." Here are some helpful hints for keeping that smile bright and healthy for years to come:

Screw Charity!

I must admit that my relationship with my man-servant Standish has been strained ever since he won a kingly fortune in a sweep-stakes last year. In spite of his new-gotten wealth, he chose to remain in my employ, because it is, after all, the only life he has ever known. But some-times I think it is also because he wants to rub it in my decaying face. Upon winning, he bought all the servants comfortable shoes, including the lowly field-hands. Even the furloughed convicts who boil down pine trees into turpentine in my vast forest have been receiving an extra pullet or two in their monthly rations. Recently, I decided I'd had enough.

I Just Love The New Channel 29 News At Noon Set

As a regular viewer of Channel 29 News At Noon, I must say that I am very impressed by the revamped set. When I tuned in Monday for my daily dose of Ron Reynolds and Katie Hsu, I couldn't believe the great changes! Some very sharp people must have put their noggins together to come up with the new look.

Grandma Pulls Pudding Roll-Ups From Recesses Of Cupboard

SHIVELY, KY–Searching for a treat for her 12-year-old grandchild, Edna Leigh retrieved a dusty, faded box of circa-1988 Betty Crocker-brand Pudding Roll-Ups from the darkest recesses of her kitchen cupboard Monday. "Here you go," said Leigh, handing grandson Danny Meyers the long-discontinued snack item. "You like pudding, right?" To wash down the fossilized Roll-Ups, Leigh offered Meyers some Crystal Pepsi from the garage.
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Gore Wondering If Latest Doonesbury Is About Him

WASHINGTON, DC–With his lead in presidential polls narrowing to just four points over Republican challenger George W. Bush, an already anxious Al Gore wondered aloud Monday whether the latest Doonesbury is about him.

A 1999 file photo of Gore reading <i>The Washington Post</i> Sunday comics page.

The cartoon in question, the Sept. 25 installment of Garry Trudeau's popular, long-running satirical comic strip, depicts a silhouetted political figure that strongly resembles the vice-president.

"Do you think this is supposed to be me?" Gore asked deputy campaign manager Mark Fabiani shortly after finishing breakfast and, as is his custom, turning to the Washington Post comics page before beginning his day. "I think it is."

An anonymous source within the Gore camp said the candidate later added, "Because it's not a very flattering portrayal, if it is. I mean, is that what the American people think of me? They don't think I'm some kind of big dork, do they?"

The controversial strip, which ran in hundreds of newspapers across the U.S., depicts an unnamed political figure engaged in a top-secret strategy session with a group of shadowy advisors. At first glance, the character, which Trudeau will neither confirm nor deny represents Gore, appears to be seeking out advice of a substantive, political nature. Upon reading the word balloon above the character's head, however, it becomes apparent that he is actually consulting his advisors on matters of fashion, showing himself to be a shallow, vain individual more concerned with his appearance than with issues that affect the American people.

"Look, I can take a joke as well as the next guy," Gore told Fabiani. "But if this is supposed to be me, well, I just don't think that's very nice. What's worse, millions of people read this thing every day. Can you imagine how that makes me feel? It's not exactly a confidence-builder, to say the least."

Continued Gore, "I mean, sure, I may have hired a fashion consultant early in the campaign and tinkered with my outfits and color schemes a bit, emphasizing earth tones to soften my image. But do I really deserve to be mocked in front of the whole country like this?"

According to the anonymous source, approximately 15 minutes later, Gore turned to top economic adviser Laura Tyson and said, "I'd hate to think that all this time, while I've been trying to promote education, deficit reduction, and progressive environmental policies, the electorate was laughing at me."

Gore reportedly seemed preoccupied throughout the day, becoming easily distracted during campaign strategy sessions and bringing up the subject of the cartoon frequently.

"He kept asking everyone about it," the source said. "It was obvious that Trudeau really got under his skin with this one. I felt sorry for him, really."

Despite repeated assurances from top advisors that he shouldn't fret about the strip and that no one reads Doonesbury anymore, Gore continued to obsess.

The <i>Doonesbury</i> in question.

"Man, I really felt sorry for him," said Washington Post reporter David Maraniss, who has been following Gore on the campaign trail since January. "He looked like a sad, pathetic little kid. Poor guy–those cutting-edge, Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonists can be so cruel sometimes, with their barbed pens and rapier wit."

"This thing has been a real blow to Gore's morale," Maraniss continued. "He was feeling a bit more confident after that Newsweek poll showed him up by 10, but now he just stays in his office obsessively re-reading the strip. He'd never openly admit it, but the feeling among staffers is that Al's self-esteem may have taken a significant hit from this lampooning."

Perhaps most devastating, according to Brill's Content editor-in-chief David Kuhn, is the fact that the cartoon comes at a time when Gore is "really trying very hard" to impress people.

"If this cartoon is indeed about Gore, as he fears," Kuhn said, "it would almost appear that Trudeau deliberately chose to 'needle' Gore, so to speak, on this particularly sensitive subject. Like he was specifically picking out an area in which Gore was vulnerable to criticism in order to make fun of him or even provoke derisive laughter against him. That's kind of mean, if you think about it."

Gore supporters are hoping that the ambiguity of the strip's subject will give the vice-president the "out" he needs to stop worrying and once again focus on the presidential race.

"Maybe it isn't about me," Gore said. "There are lots of other politicians out there, you know. Yeah, it's probably about one of them. Now that I look at it again, the guy does bear a pretty strong resemblance to [Arizona Sen. John] McCain."

But despite such signs that Gore may be ready to put the cartoon behind him, observers fear that the worst is yet to come. According to Trudeau spokespersons at Universal Press Syndicate, in next Sunday's Doonesbury the mystery politician will be depicted as a floating block of wood.

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