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October 22nd, 2017

Insight

Russian rumors, Captain Planet and giant joints at the DNC

Dave Barry

By Dave Barry Miami Herald /(TNS)

Published July 26, 2016

The Closing of the American Mouth
Jonathan Morpurgo blows up his 51-foot joint. Photo by Dave Barry

PHILADELPHIA --- So now the Russians are involved. Yes! According to rumors circulating here - and if we can't trust circulating rumors, what can we trust? - it was the Russians who leaked the Democratic National Committee emails, because they wanted to embarrass Hillary Clinton. The theory is that the Russians are secretly supporting Donald Trump, as evidenced by the following evidence:

"Ivanka" sounds kind of Russian.

Vladimir Putin has been wearing a baseball cap that says "Make America Great Again."

In an effort to end the email controversy, the DNC has ritually banished Debbie Wasserman Schultz to a Motel 6 in southern Delaware, but supporters of Bernie Sanders are still outraged. Granted, Sanders supporters are always outraged, but now they're REALLY outraged, to the point where convention organizers have equipped the podium at the Wells Fargo Center with a Unity Water Cannon.

All of this is of course wonderful news for the 15,000 of us media people here, because we were expecting a hideously boring convention where we would be reduced to doing feature stories about cheesesteaks. Rest assured that we will do everything we can to flog this email controversy to its logical conclusion, which ideally from a journalism standpoint would be global thermonuclear war.

Don't thank us: We're just doing our job.

I caught up with a large group of disgruntled Bernie supporters staging a protest march down Broad Street, chanting anti-Clinton slogans such as "Hell, no, DNC! We Won't vote for Hillary!" They really do not like her. They seem to dislike her even more than they dislike Trump.

Among the marchers was a man named Michael Doyle who was dressed as Captain Planet, the pro-environment TV-cartoon superhero from the '90s who used his superpowers to protect Gaia (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg) (really) from evil corporate polluters. Doyle was wearing high red boots, tiny red shorts, a red top and long red gloves. His hair was bright green, and his skin was silver. I asked him how he did his skin, and he said he used Kryolan brand makeup, in silver blue. I asked him if he was aware that in the James Bond film "Goldfinger," the evil villain Goldfinger killed his secretary by covering her entire body in gold paint, and if so was he worried.

"I've been fine so far," he said.

So Gaia is safe. For now.

The best part of the march was the appearance of a 51-foot-long balloon replica of a marijuana joint with the words HILLARY, DESCHEDULE CANNABIS NOW painted on it. ("Deschedule" basically means legalize.) The joint was held aloft by volunteers, and kept inflated by a guy holding a gas-powered leaf-blower. He was positioned at the back of the joint, and he was holding the leaf-blower at crotch level, nozzle pointing forward and angled slightly up, with this enormous tubular balloon sticking straight out in front of him for 51 feet, creating a wondrously comic effect wherein he appeared to be the most masculine man who ever lived, if you catch my drift.

The marchers loved the giant joint. "BURN ONE FOR BERNIE!" they chanted.

I spoke with the leaf-blower guy, whose name is Jonathan Morpurgo, a.k.a. JoMo. He agreed that there was a strong Freudian element to the leaf-blower setup. He told me he was born on a kibbutz in Israel, where his father ran a crocodile farm. (I am not making any of this up. And no, I did not smoke any marijuana.)

JoMo and I shared a heartwarming moment: He told me that when he moved to the United States as a child, his teachers taught him English by having him read some of my writing.

"Really?" I said. "That's great! Thank you!"

"I wasn't too much into it," he said. "I thought it was a little nerdy. I was more into Garrison Keillor."

Everybody's a critic.

Meanwhile the Republican National Committee has set up its enemy camp here in a South Philadelphia wrestling arena. (I am still not making any of this up.) They have set up anti-Hillary games over there, including the beanbag game known as "cornhole," the kicker being that the games are rigged so Hillary always wins. Republican humor!

The Republicans held a press conference, which I attended because I had a sincere desire, as an objective journalist, to find out if they had free beer, which I am pleased to report they did. While I was there I was able to persuade Sean Spicer, the RNC communications director, to pose for a photo holding a DAVE BARRY FOR PRESIDENT bumper sticker. So my campaign juggernaut is definitely rolling, although I still welcome other "big name" endorsements. I'm talking to YOU, Vladimir.

Dave Barry
Miami Herald
(TNS)

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