As November’s election approaches, and the primaries just around the corner, New York City’s mayoral candidates have been debating the usual array of urban issues: education, public safety, sucking blood from baby penises with your mouth. I know, you would have thought they’d have solved the education thing by now. As for the baby penis-sucking thing, you can see where this one gets tricky. The ancient Jewish practice of metzitzah b’peh, wherein a mohel performing circumcision suctions blood from the penile wound with his mouth, has been controversial in recent years after approximately a dozen infants contracted herpes as a result of the ritual. As the candidates attempt to locate the pandering, ambiguous middle ground of no position whatsoever, the electorate watches closely. Will their votes be cast for the schlong sucklers or the Torah bashers? How many punny Weiner headlines can the New York Post get out of this? Do more than seven people actually care?
In order to help the good people of New York choose the right candidate this fall, we’ve put together this handy Guide to the Candidates’ Likely Positions on Various Barbaric Practices. For those like me who have no school-aged children, don’t own property, and aren’t plagued by the infrequency of local bus service, it may well be these issues that determine whose bubble is filled in on our ballots.
The medieval practice of bloodletting, introduced to many a medical layperson by Steve Martin’s Theodoric of York, was believed to promote health by balancing the patient’s so-called humors. Its appearance on the debate stage is not outside the realm of possibility, as it was the subject of a study last year where real scientist people considered reintroducing it; Because every trip to the ER should look like a scene from “Kill Bill.” For this exercise, let’s borrow Mark Twain’s maxim that “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” Joe Lhota, the frontrunner Republican and former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman, is notorious for proposing the fare hikes that raised the cost of a single subway ride to $2.75. Straphangers considered this move a bloodletting of their wallets, Lhota tippy-toeing into their apartments at night and covering their bodies with leeches to restore the cash-strapped agency to fiscal health. On the opposite end of the spectrum, past and current NYC comptrollers Bill Thompson and John Liu, respectively, made their names as watchdogs over the city’s coffers. These two must have tired fingers from all the finger-wagging they’ve done at what they deem Mayor Bloomberg’s bloodletting of the people’s tax dollars. It’s a toss-up between these two, but Liu has proven the scrappier of the pair.
Pro-bloodletters’ candidate: Lhota
Anti-bloodletters’ candidate: Liu
The oldest surgical method in the world, whereby a “surgeon” drills holes into one’s head to cure such ailments as seizures and migraines, is still alive, if not well, on the servers of 1998 geocities websites. There are plenty (and by plenty we mean the author of this one website) who don’t understand why those silly, clueless “brain doctors” just “don’t approve of amateurs dipping their fingers into the “neurochemical soup” (trepanning advocate’s actual words). There is one lesser-known candidate, George T. McDonald, whom some might surmise has undergone the procedure himself. When asked about patronizing Asian-owned businesses at an event for the Asian American Federation, there was no end to his praise for his extraordinarily inexpensive Asian massage therapist…err…yeah, no, that’s pretty much exactly what he said. A so far less gaffe-prone yet similarly obscure Democratic opponent, Sal Albanese, would propose a much more medically viable remedy to the ailments McDonald’s trepanning aims to cure: marijuana. He wants to legalize and regulate it. He’s probably toking up right now. Who would you choose? (Are we exhibiting bias on this one?)
Pro-trepanner’s candidate: McDonald
Anti-trepanner’s candidate: Albanese
Now this is something we Jews know a thing or two about. My entire Bat Mitzvah Torah portion was a graphically detailed how-to guide for slitting the cow’s throat, burning the fat, spilling the blood (Leviticus, obvs). Some would say that Christine Quinn knows something about it, too. A supporter of NYC’s nostalgia-inducing horse-drawn carriage industry, she has invoked ire among animal rights activists who call the practice inhumane. Quinn, it would seem, is willing to sacrifice the horses’ welfare in the interest of horse-whipping jobs and pretzel-noshing tourists. But hold your horses, for this is not a one-horse race. In another stable we’ve got Alec Baldwin, a PETA activist who’s practically throwing blood on the fur coats strolling down Fifth Avenue. He’s actually a spokesperson for the Save the Manatees Club. Like, actually. This is not a figment of the 30 Rock writers’ room’s collective imagination, a Jack Donaghy liberal alter-ego of sorts. This is not a fourth grade girl drawing manatees on her Trapper Keeper. This is Alec Baldwin. If animal rights is your bag, Baldwin’s your man. Who cares if he’s not running anymore? Write him in.
Pro-sacrifice candidate: Quinn
Anti-sacrifice candidate: Baldwin
You know how in the olden days, they used to throw an alleged witch in the water, and if she drowned, it turned out she wasn’t a witch after all? Today’s candidates have mostly been on both sides of a witch hunt. When a politician is accused of something he obviously did but won’t admit to (did we mention Weiner’s weiner pics?), he cries witch hunt. He paints himself as the victim of a conspiracy, a targeted smear campaign. But he jumps on the opportunity to be at the helm of a good witch hunt, too, pitchfork raised high, angry mob rallying behind him. Liu would call the conviction of two of his aides for campaign finance fraud a witch hunt to sully his candidacy, but some would say he has led a witch hunt for Mike Bloomberg since the day he took office. Weiner took part in a mutual witch hunt with Glenn Beck, because who wouldn’t, and in return got a website dedicated to his demise, complete with a can-canning cartoon hot dog with his face on it. The list is endless. I guess when you boil it down, politics is one big mother of a witch hunt, all day, every day.
Pro-witch hunter’s candidate: all of them
Anti-witch hunter’s candidate: all of them
There you have it, folks. If this doesn’t help you decide who to vote for, we don’t know what to tell you. Go siphon a gallon of blood into a bucket, drill some holes in your head, and offer up a lamb to the election gods and maybe the answer will come.