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What is it about nursing and advertising?

Via American Samizdat, a story about a graphic designer who was fired for heckling President Bush:

"I'm mad less about losing the job -- I'm more mad about the reasons," said Glen Hiller, 35, of Berkeley Springs. "All I did was show up and voice my opinion."


The father of two young girls had worked at the design firm for five months, doesn't plan to appeal the firing, and holds no grudge against his boss.

"To some degree I can see her point of view," Hiller said. "Advertising is all about having the perfect tan and driving a cool car. It's all about image."

Hiller said he now plans to pursue work as a registered nurse, a field in which he worked for 10 years before landing the design job.

There must be some strange psychic connection between nursing and advertising. Glen Hiller is at least the fourth person I've heard of who left nursing for advertising and then went back. (I wish him luck; I think he'll probably be happier as an RN. Less stressful -- at least, that's what my advertising friends tell me....)

"I go all over the country, and all I see are supportive crowds," I recently heard The President remark. Small wonder: His vocal critics are fenced off into "protest zones", and the stealth critics weeded out by being forced to sign affidavits that they support the president. Unrestricted events such as the one Hiller got into are relatively rare, and yet we keep hearing whispers of heckling. Even with their best efforts, critics seem to be getting through the cordon. Their voices are quickly drowned out in un-ironic chants of "four more years." (I chanted that at a Reagan rally in the summer of '84, and got dirty looks from the Broome County Republican Faithful. Irony, it seems, has lost its ability to be ironic.)

When Pat Buchanan is a voice of moderation, I fear for the country. I fear for this country in the next four years. This profound schism between "conservative" and "liberal" Americans is Ronald Reagan's unanticipated legacy, brought to fruition by Newt Gingrich. Whoever wins the race, as Shelley points out, will most likely do so in one of the narrowest races in our history. The "losers" in 2000 were patriotic enough to concede, and the "winners" ungracious -- frankly, unpatriotic -- enough to govern as though God were at their collective shoulder. And the consequence is that whoever wins in November will be fiercely, passionately loathed by about 30% of Americans. So fiercely and passionately loathed that the losers will do whatever they think they have to in order to smear the winner. Whoever it is.

Oddly enough, I think we have Pat Buchanan to blame for this, at least partially. He's a fierce competitor, and has said a lot of things in anger and taken a lot of absolutist positions, and by that example has made it easier for others who followed to get away with the same. His successors, alas, have not had his intellectual honesty (or, for that matter, his intellectual capacity).

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