Friday, May 28, 2010

Whatchoo campaignin' about...

Sad news (well, in a "meh" sort of way) from the US where Gary Coleman, midget TV star, has died of a brain haemorrhage at the age of 42. Thus continues the curse of the child stars in Diff'rent Strokes, the 1980s sitcom in which Coleman had Americans in stitches by repeatedly asking people what they were talking about.

Dana Plato, who played Kimberley in the series, did softcore porn, armed robbery and then committed suicide in 1999, Todd "Willis" Bridges was arrested in 1994 for ramming someone with his car and became a druggie and Coleman had to sue his parents to get the money he earned from the show and had various well-publicised run-ins with the law.

What I found most interesting about Coleman - apart from discovering there was an episode in which a paedophile tried to groom Willis and Arnold (now those really were different strokes) - is that he had run for Governor of California back in 2003 and came eighth... out of 135 candidates.

Yes, 135 names were on the ballot paper for one election. Well, only 107 because 28 names were written in by people in the polling booth. But even so: more than a hundred people stood to be Governor, paying a non-refundable deposit of $3,500 each for the privilege, and 71 of them persuaded at least 1,000 people to put an X next to their name. Not just a few mates, a thousand.

Among the names on the ballot paper we can see teachers, engineers, an "adult film actress", a "retired meat packer" and a "middleweight sumo wrestler". There is a Michael Jackson (not that one, but a satellite project manager who got 746 votes - not many were fooled then), a Bob Dole (a small-business owner who got 273 votes) and an Edward Kennedy (educator and businessman, 3,007 votes).

What a great demonstration of democracy. Or what a bunch of nutters, I'm not sure which I think.

Either way, little Arnold from Diff'rent Strokes outpolled most of them, getting 14,242 votes, a mere 4.2 million behind big Arnold from The Terminator. If only his parents hadn't spent all his money, how far could Coleman have gone in politics?

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