September 29, 2016

Does Anyone Remember Tabitha Soren?

For those of you with short memories, or were simply too young to remember it because you were still in diapers at the time, Tabitha Soren began her celebrity career as a 19-year old NYU student featured in a video from The Beastie Boys "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)", a lame video from a one-hit-wonder back in the late 1980's, although she became much better known as a reporter for what was formerly known as MTV News as the face of MTV's "Choose or Lose" campaign.














The National Geographic channel, which ran a multi-part series on Generation X relatively recently, had a relevant clip on MTV News Rocks the Vote which is worth watching (see below), or at https://youtu.be/ehvnzfHh2n0:



Technically, the MTV election campaign began a couple of years earlier and was known as "Rock the Vote" with TV commercials from Madonna and other popular figures.  Check out this commercial below, or by visiting https://youtu.be/2dnwvegQ7JI:



MTV soon realized that their network had some relevance on the elections, and what started as a few commercials morphed in subsequent years, becoming "Choose or Lose" when Tabitha Soren (she was likely named after the daughter of the character that actress Elizabeth Montgomery made famous in the smash sitcom from the late 1960's-early 1970's "Bewitched", catch my posts at https://goo.gl/olfrdW and https://goo.gl/iKsTG for more) became MTV's primary reporter on the elections at that time.  I uncovered a clip on YouTube which provides a flashback of some of that coverage (which can be seen at https://youtu.be/QQyuJ4t8kRw).

However, the MTV "Choose or Lose" campaign with Ms. Soren officially began in 1992, just as Generation X was becoming a key part of the American electorate.  (In 1992, for example, I was 23 years old and living on my own in the Bay Area, but very much ready to exercise my voting rights.)  Famously, at a town hall symposium sponsored by MTV that year, then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton was asked whether he'd ever tried marijuana and he famously replied, "I didn't inhale".  Whether that brought masses of young people out to vote isn't very well documented as Tabitha seems suggest today, but it seemed to be a clear sign that the era of total Baby Boomer dominance of the elections was thankfully coming to an end.)

These days, Soren is a married mother of three kids, and she works professionally in photography.  But on August 18, 2016, she re-emerged in the world of politics with a contribution to opinion section of The New York Times entitled "Hillary Clinton and the Ghosts of MTV" (see the piece at http://nyti.ms/2b5OUGs for more).

Frankly, I was a bit puzzled on the message Tabitha was trying to communicate (she was a reporter who was on MTV back in the day, never really a journalist, folks) in her opinion piece.

She does say "The pretense of a lot of political coverage today is that it aims to improve and edify our civic life. The reality is that it's just whoring for attention" and I generally agree, but I don’t think the same is true for all candidates, just Mr. Trump.  For example, in addition to Mrs. Clinton, former governors Gary Johnson and his running-mate Bill Weld were (are) somewhat viable Libertarian candidates who aren't "whoring for attention" as Mr. Trump seems to be.

Although these days, Bill Clinton's wife Hillary is running for President of the United States, and seems to have a decent chance of winning because her opponent is a former reality show star who largely refuses to stay on script even though he's no longer running in the Republican party primaries speaking to voters who like his racist, misogynistic, xenophobic message, therefore he should not presume the rest of the electorate will follow his nativist and frequently racist messages that remain too short on the kinds of details that intelligent voters like me want and deserve (also, why is he the ONLY Presidential candidate in many decades who refuses to release his tax returns?).

But to suggest that elections are entertainment as Tabitha is suggests to me that she chose wisely by pursuing photography, since her coverage of the election issues in 2016 doesn’t really rock my vote!

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