Posted By: Michael Sweeney Feb. 21, 2009 OK, I’ve heard of "Blue Dog" Democrats, but…a "Hot Dog (with ketchup)" Dem? Here in Chicago? Outrageous!
Posted By: Michael Sweeney
Feb. 21, 2009
OK, I’ve heard of "Blue Dog" Democrats, but…a "Hot Dog (with ketchup)" Dem? Here in Chicago? Outrageous!
I just received the perhaps-stupidest piece of political advertising I’ve ever seen. IL state Rep. John Fritchey is one of the more than a dozen candidates running to replace now-Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as Congressman representing the IL 5th District (including much of the North and Northwest Sides of Chicago). He is considered in the top-tier of the Democratic contenders for the seat…and he has been battling it out lately (in advertising and debates) with two other already-elected pols – state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz and Cook County Board member Mike Quigley – who are probably the current top-two competitors to win the battle to represent the 5th.
So, what should I find in my mailbox today – among the nearly daily mass of campaign flyers from various candidates prior to the March 3 special election primary – but an eye-catching, full-size piece from Fritchey. The one side has a somewhat sloppy and nearly disgusting looking close-up picture of a hot dog (clearly appearing homemade, rather than corner-stand prepared), with ketchup squirted all over the dog and its bun. A few potato chips are visible in the background. A hand-script-style quote at the bottom of the shot announces, "I admit it!"
The flip side of the piece expands on this theme with its headlines: "John Fritchey’s So Honest…He Admits to Putting KETCHUP on His Hot Dogs – And We Need MORE of That in Washington…Honesty – Not Ketchup!" Below all of that is a staged-frozen pic of a rictus-grinning Fritchey holding a hot dog (drenched in ketchup) in his right hand and a generic (or brand-name-removed-by-photo-editing) bottle of ketchup in his left.
The (now smaller) text continues: "As Chicagoans know, putting ketchup on a hot dog isn’t something you fess up to if you can help it – but John Fritchey is just the kind of guy who tells it like it is…"
Oy – where do I begin with this mess?
First of all…it’s not just that we Chicagoans don’t "admit" or "fess up" to putting ketchup on our hot dogs. Unless we’re under 7 years old, WE SIMPLY DO NOT PUT KETCHUP ON OUR HOT DOGS. Whassamatta with you? Mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, celery salt, even cheese and (optional) peppers – what the hell is wrong with all that (or even selections from that list)? You wanna wreck it all with a big sweet glob of ketchup, instead of, of course, merely the moist, fresh flavor of chopped or sliced tomatoes?
Next, if you’re talking about a homemade hot dog – not a big, juicy Vienna or Red Hot Chicago all-beef frank, but one looking like it just got boiled (or – gasp! – micro-waved) straight outta a Ball Park or Oscar Meyer package – served up on a non-poppyseeded bun with a handful of chips (rather than fries) piled behind it, well, why in the hell would it even matter what you’re putting on it? Why the hell should we care? It’s not like you’re walking into a great Chicago dog joint (like Bryon’s, up on Irving Park Road) and asking them to defile their tasty work by drowning it in some goddamned ketchup. If you are clearly making your cheapy dog at home, just slap whatever you want on it (you embarrassed moral reprobate) and choke it the hell down. (And, BTW, hey, that’s a nice bland plastic bottle of ketchup you got in your hand there, John – heck, couldn’t yer people at least get you a classic diner-style glass bottle and have you hold it so the "Heinz" label wouldn’t show in the picture?)
So…this is supposed to reflect some bizarrely combined self-deprecating sense of humor AND perhaps some beyond-Blago / Burris honesty? But, but…A) We could not have possibly cared about Rod’s or Roland’s hot dog garnishes – just the facts that they were apparently allergic to actual facts…and B) Ah, so you’re rejecting a fairly deeply held area-wide preference in a lightly joking way – and the voters you’re poking fun at are then expected to support you? Uh, what’s next, announcing you prefer greasy-‘n’-cheesy New York slices over deep-dish pizza? Admitting to secretly supporting the Packers over the Bears your whole life? Arguing the leadership superiority of Bloomberg, Giuliani, and Koch over Daley and Daley? (Gasp! – how dare you, you bastard!)
And, as for…the line "We Need MORE of That in Washington…Honesty – Not Ketchup!" To quote Burt Reynolds in "Boogie Nights" (as the weary old porn producer), "Oh, you think so, doctor?" Thanks for answering the obvious! You see, because at first I thought John Fritchey was calling for MORE KETCHUP in Washington! I don’t know – maybe he just wanted to make sure there’d be enough of it there for him in case he happens to get elected…cuz, of course, you don’t want to be a promising new Congressman, distracted from your legislative duties, reduced to wandering around the District of Columbia because you just CAN’T find the ketchup you need for your hot dog…
On the other hand, uh, that’s just not going to happen. He ain’t gonna win – not after this; no freakin’ way – so, here’s hoping that all that clandestine ketchup tastes good enough to Fritchey to make up for his NOT winning a House seat.
Mark your calendar: John Fritchey unofficially threw in the towel on the 5th District special election on approximately February 21, 2009…
For more coverage of Illinois politics, look for my regular posts here on The Stonecipher Report. (And, for a free subscription to my twice-weekly e-mail column on politics and pop-culture, "And, in the News…" send a note to: firstname.lastname@example.org)