Old Sock Drawer

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#106: The value of joke candidates.

March 25th, 2010 by Mary Leong

Currently listening to: “For Love and Your Mother’s Sake” – The United Steel Workers of Montreal

(The second part of my post-elections rundown.)

In this year’s AUS elections, the candidates included an exceedingly high proportion of joke candidates not usually seen in undergraduate society elections. With four fictional Star Wars characters running in the races of VP External, VP Finance, AMS Representative, and Senator, this not-a-slate produced victories in the VP Finance and AMS Representative races. Running uncontested in the former, and as one of six candidates in the latter, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Admiral Ackbar now hold positions which they, despite their expansive intergalactic experience, will doubtlessly find engaging and occasionally challenging.

From beer kegs (Kommander Keg in the 09/10 AMS elections) to potted plants (my father’s graduating year in University of Manitoba) to fictional characters (see above), joke candidates have become quite the staple in student elections. And thank god for that, because a solid percentage of people engaged in student government take themselves way too seriously. Satire and parody is often needed to remind us all that we’re just students, for goodness’ sake, and the petty sniping of student government elections really is nothing but petty.

Aside from ensuring that candidates don’t get ahead of themselves, elaborately-designed joke candidates are a great way of engaging students who wouldn’t usually be bothered to vote. Does it really matter how one goes about raising awareness? Isn’t any involvement welcome involvement, at this point? There is something to be said about being able to check Darth Vader off your ballot (unfortunately, not a reality in the past election, which I am just a titch bit miffed about). Frankly, the vast majority of students will probably be blasé about any given issue on the AUS agenda. They will, however, be amused and roused into taking a closer look at the elections if permitted to vote for King Arthur (the Holy Grail version, not the mythology version, mind you).

It’s only too bad slating is forbidden, or a reincarnation of the Rhino Party of Canada in AMS terms would be absolutely brilliant…

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kathleen Mar 25, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    My dad routinely tells the story of the pot plant named Voltaire which won his student elections. It’s a trans-continental phenomenon!

  • 2 Eastwood Mar 26, 2010 at 9:47 am

    I was just thinking about the Rhino Party while reading your post!

  • 3 Tyler Mar 26, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    “And thank god for that, because a solid percentage of people engaged in student government take themselves way too seriously.”

    Agreed. I’ve met too many people at UBC who are all like “I’m all that because I’m a member of X council” and all I can say is “…is that supposed to make you special?”

  • 4 Mary Leong Mar 27, 2010 at 12:53 am

    @Kathleen: It must be! I am almost compelled to do something of the sort, though I wonder if it’s rather limited to that time era. We don’t hear of pot plants running for office any more…

    @Eastwood: THE RHINO PARTY IS BRILLIANT. Enough said.

    @Tyler: Not going to lie, people need to calm down a little. Just a tad bit. Maybe chuckle a little.