This morning after I watched the Murray Hill Inc. video (see below), I found myself wondering why its humor had made me laugh out loud. The answer, "because it's satirical and funny," isn't as obvious as you might think. It's a different kind of satire than Tina Fay's or Jon Stewart's. It's more like Colbert's, I suppose, much of which I don't think I would once have found at all funny (because too cynical and therefore somehow lazy), perhaps because it's so close to gallows humor, which I've tended to appreciate only in certain personal and social situations. I suppose it now seems funny because it gives me a momentary distance from a profoundly unpalatable reality. (Isn't that the point of gallows humor?) I've long felt that the changes in the US over the last two decades have been so sweeping and swift that it's hard for me to get a clear sense of exactly how much (and what) has been changed in me as a result. Every now and then an indicator pops out at me, as happened this morning.
Anyway, here is the video and the accompanying press release:
Supreme Court Ruling Spurs Corporation Run for Congress
First Test of “Corporate Personhood” In Politics
Following the recent Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to allow unlimited corporate funding of federal campaigns, Murray Hill Inc. today announced it was filing to run for U.S. Congress and released its first campaign video on www.youtube.com/user/murrayhillcongress
“Until now,” Murray Hill Inc. said in a statement, “corporate interests had to rely on campaign contributions and influence peddling to achieve their goals in Washington. But thanks to an enlightened Supreme Court, now we can eliminate the middle-man and run for office ourselves.”
Murray Hill Inc. is believed to be the first “corporate person” to exercise its constitutional right to run for office. As Supreme Court observer Lyle Denniston wrote in his SCOTUSblog, “If anything, the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission conferred new dignity on corporate “persons,” treating them — under the First Amendment free-speech clause — as the equal of human beings.”
Murray Hill Inc. agrees. “The strength of America,” Murray Hill Inc. says, “is in the boardrooms, country clubs and Lear jets of America’s great corporations. We’re saying to Wal-Mart, AIG and Pfizer, if not you, who? If not now, when?”
Murray Hill Inc. plans on spending “top dollar” to protect its investment. “It’s our democracy,” Murray Hill Inc. says, “We bought it, we paid for it, and we’re going to keep it.”
Murray Hill Inc., a diversifying corporation in the Washington, D.C. area, has long held an interest in politics and sees corporate candidacy as an emerging new market.
The campaign’s designated human, Eric Hensal, will help the corporation conform to antiquated “human only” procedures and sign the necessary voter registration and candidacy paperwork. Hensal is excited by this new opportunity. “We want to get in on the ground floor of the democracy market before the whole store is bought by China.”
Murray Hill Inc. plans on filing to run in the Republican primary in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. Campaign Manager William Klein promises an aggressive, historic campaign that “puts people second” or even third.
“The business of America is business, as we all know,” Klein says. “But now, it’s the business of democracy too.” Klein plans to use automated robo-calls, “Astroturf” lobbying and computer-generated avatars to get out the vote.
Murray Hill Inc. is launching the campaign with a website, Facebook page and YouTube video.