Scattered after-thoughts

By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  November 5, 2008


With the Phoenix going to press on Tuesday evening (before most election results came in), I struggled to come up with ways to be relevant on the morning after.

Kind of like those CAMPAIGN SIGNS that litter Franklin Arterial and the rest of Portland’s major roadways. Ever wonder what happens to them post-election? I did too.

Not surprisingly, few candidates were jumping at the chance to talk with me on November 3 about something as mundane their post-election sign-disposal plans. “Try me at 1 am, Wednesday morning — I’m sure I’ll have something quotable to say, and probably mostly coherent,” Senate District 8 candidate Eric Lusk suggested.

Others were thinking practically about future campaigns: “Into the basement with them,” House District 118 candidate Jon Hinck said.

“I’ll take my signs down on Wednesday,” House District 114 candidate Peter Stuckey told me. “I’ll put the cardboard out in next week’s recycling bin. I’ll save the wooden stakes and metal wires, and the big hand-painted signs for the next time someone I know and support needs them. That’s how I got all my stakes and sign boards this time. Hopefully I’ll need them again myself in two years.”

Smart move. After all, when Cyrus Hagge ran for Portland city council in 2006, he resurrected decade-old campaign signs from a pile in his garage. Reuse!

As for national election signs, perhaps some local establishment should follow in the footsteps of a South Carolina barbecue joint, which is offering one free appetizer in return for one recycled campaign sign from November 5 through 12.

For those of us who can’t let go, however — whose many waking moments have been consumed by political fever for weeks, months on end — there will be ample opportunity for rehashing, and reliving these exciting days.

Check out the VIDEO YOUR VOTE collaboration between YouTube and PBS (, in which voters videotaped their ballot-casting experiences and uploaded them to the Internet. The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer selected 50 high schools to participate in the video exercise, and Cheverus High School was one of them.

“In the first presidential election since YouTube’s inception, this program aims to gather massive amounts of polling place video ... serving as an online library for Election Day footage,” a press release reads.

The more posterity the better, this being a history-making election and all.

By the way, despite how perfect things might feel (for some) during these post-election days, we’re still not fodder for study by the SOCIETY OF UTOPIAN STUDIES, which had its 33rd annual meeting at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland last week.

The interdisciplinary association, formed in 1975, is aimed at studying utopias, rather than creating them. This is a wide-ranging endeavor. Consider these papers, which were discussed at various sessions over the course of the three-day conference: “Mickey Mouse Comes to England: Degenerative Utopia, Dark Tourism, and British Theme Parks;” “Going Local and Becoming Conscious? Dispatches from the Consumer Revolution;” “Happy Clouds, Happy Trees: Bob Ross as Utopian Painter;” and “Fight Club and Foucault: Heterotopic Spaces of Transgression in Palahniuk’s Novel.”

Hell, if McCain won, I know a whole lot of people who probably feel mighty heterotopic right now. (Don’t worry, I had to look it up too. Heterotopic: adj. In the wrong place, in an abnormal place, misplaced.)

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