Friday, March 23, 2012

Shake It Like an Etch A Sketch

I would like to thank Eric Fehrnstrom (who probably now goes by the name Mr. Firestorm) from Mitt Romney's political camp for bringing the simple joy of Etch A Sketch back into my life. It's been decades since I’ve even given a thought to that wonderful toy that meant so much to me as a child. I can see why E.F. referred to the Etch A Sketch as a simile for the clean slate he's hoping Mitt’s campaign can achieve after the bothersome primaries are over and before they go into the general election (assuming they do go forward).

I can’t remember ever being able to draw one decent picture on my beloved Etch A Sketch when I was a kid, but I do vividly remember the great satisfaction that I felt every one of the countless times I turned it over after yet another failed attempt and gave it a good, stern, even vicious, shake knowing that when I flipped it up again, no trace of my flub remained. There was a clean board ready for me to compose another non-masterpiece.

There are a lot of people responding to E.F.’s comment by saying that he is out of touch, that there’s no such thing as shaking the Etch A Sketch these days. Once something is done or said, it is instantly memorialized in a million forms of media. And it’s there to stay.

I disagree. I think that, given the right amount of shake and spin, politicians can successfully cleanse the slate so we (all the other kids on the playground) will only see the newly contrived configuration. It was an appropriate simile and could, in fact, be a very apt depiction of Mitt’s campaign strategy.

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