Thursday, July 21, 1988


DAVE BARRY Herald Columnist

Here at the Democratic National Convention, we had a very exciting rally by a group called People With Boxes On Their Heads. This is an organization that I founded the other day after witnessing an event at the Official Designated Protest Zone. What happened was, a young woman wandered by holding a pet rat, and within a matter of minutes she was surrounded by -- really -- FIVE camera crews. Taking pictures of a rat.

So I thought, OK, it's time to find out just how desperate we are here in the news media. I enlisted Bob Morris and Erik Lacitas, who are also newspaper columnists and who therefore, like myself, do not have even a tiny shred of human dignity, and we went out to the Protest Zone and put cardboard boxes on our heads. It took seven seconds for the first newspaper photographer to take our picture. Within minutes -- I am not making any of this up -- we were surrounded by TV people, radio people and various other media people wishing to conduct interviews, which generally went like this:

MEDIA PERSON: Who are you?

DEMONSTRATOR: We're an organization called People With Boxes On Their Heads.

MEDIA PERSON: Why do you wear boxes on your heads?

DEMONSTRATOR: Basically because that's the name of our organization. People With Boxes On Their Heads.

ANOTHER DEMONSTRATOR (helpfully): It's an organization of people who have boxes on their heads.

And so on. We gave several dozen interviews and were photographed hundreds of times. I don't know how many interviews got broadcast, but our pictures were in at least two Georgia newspapers and The Baltimore Sun, and a nice write-up about the rally went out nationwide on the Associated Press wire. You might have seen it, if you've been reading any of the news reports emanating from this convention. Which I doubt.

* * *

Meanwhile, tonight's the night we've been waiting for, the night when the Democrats climax their historically unified and news-free convention by presenting their 1988 ticket, running under the proud slogan: "Dukakis and Bentsen: They're Dull, But They're Not Total Wienerheads."

This is of course a subtle dig at Vice President George Bush, who will win the Republican nomination next month thanks largely to his overwhelming popularity among the nation's humor columnists. The Democrats think their ticket is going to look very impressive next to Bush. Of course you could argue that a small tub of generic margarine would look impressive next to Bush, but that would be quibbling. The Democrats really do seem to be in an especially strong position, inasmuch as they have an extremely well-balanced ticket, consisting of Michael Dukakis, a short Democrat; and Lloyd Bentsen, a tall Republican. "I'm not even going to vote for us, " Bentsen recently announced, in a move calculated to solidify his appeal to conservative voters.

The Democrats also have been very careful to avoid past mistakes in the wording of this year's platform, which as a public service we will now present here in its entirety.


1. There is NOTHING in this platform about raising taxes.

2. Not a single WORD.

3. So everybody should just FORGET about us raising taxes.

4. For NOW.

This platform reflects the Democrats' powerful recurring bedwetting nightmares of the 1984 convention, when Walter Mondale, acting on the advice of shrewd campaign strategists from the planet Zargon, kicked off his campaign by informing American voters, in that inspirational voice of his that seems to emanate from deep within a major nasal passage, that if they would put their trust in him, he would by golly jack up their taxes. By following this strategy, he was able to sweep triumphantly to victory in Minnesota, home of the world's largest Endangered Liberals Preserve.

But so far this time, the Democrats have been extremely careful not to alarm the voters by taking any positions on anything, and the campaign prognosis appears to be very good, unless God forbid something should happen to George Bush.


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