08 September 2016

Don't We All Deserve a Surrogate?

by Brian Thornton

I've come to the conclusion that what this world really needs most right now is more talking heads. Nope, not talking about a potential reunion of David Byrne and his erstwhile bandmates, or more cable news TV hosts (got plenty).
You've got nothing to prove. Stay broken up, guys.


Let me clarify: I'm talking about more surrogates.

For those of you wondering what connection a woman willing to carry someone else's baby to term (or a sex worker) has to do with the notion of "talking heads," I'm not talking about that kind of surrogate. (Or THAT one, either.)
Not THIS type of surrogate.

Okay, let me clarify further: I'm talking about more media surrogates.

You might not be familiar with the term, but you know what I'm talking about: people hand-picked, most often by two types of public figures: by politicians running for office (Hillary, Trump) or for other occupants of the public eye running for cover (Roger Ailes, Anthony Weiner), to step in and either take part of their public beating for them, or try to make sense of some of the stupid and often inexplicable things they say or do.

It's a pretty thankless job. And yet there always seems to be a line out the door of people ready and willing to step in and do it. So why not put 'em all to work for regular folks like you and me.

Surrogates are basically tools. These people are media surrogates. So they're media tools. Or. if you prefer, just tools...
Think about it: instead of seeing these jokers with their eyes popped wide and a vein visibly throbbing their forehead, getting into it with an on-air host on CNNMSNBCFIXEDNEWS we could have surrogate interactions that really matter! You know, the important (and not so important) moments in everyone's life where they just wish someone else would step up and deal with their day-to-day ration of B.S.

Some examples spring to mind:

"I think what Brian REALLY intended when he showed that other driver the middle finger of his left hand after the guy clearly cut him off in traffic, was to make the clear statement that 'You're number ONE with me!"


"Brian did NOT misspeak! He never misspeaks! He always intends to say exactly what comes out of his mouth. Just because you and the rest of the Lamestream Media can't wrap your head around the notion of 'Gribblesnagreckleshaft' doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, or that it's not a powerful force for change in a post-Obama world..."

Or even:

"This audit is just the latest attempt on the part of Brian's enemies in the executive branch to target him and discredit him as a fully enfranchised citizen, and of course, he's going to release his tax returns just as soon as this audit is wrapped up, because, let's face it, by that time Brian'll be retired or dead, and no one's gonna care one way or the other...."

And we're not just talking about curation of the surrogee's (see what I did there?) media presence, here. Think about it. The waiter at your favorite restaurant gets your order wrong? No problem. Your surrogate steps in and emphatically explains that you clearly ordered the fish! Problem solved!

Or better yet: you ordered chicken, but changed your mind and want the fish, but don't want to admit you've changed your mind? 

No worries! Your surrogate will insist that your position on dinner has not changed one iota, not backing down and admitting any change of either mind or attitude on your part on the question of chicken or fish: your choice now is the same as it's always been, and an examination of the record will clearly reflect that, and if the waiter continues to protest that your surrogate is not lying in support of your lie (lying by proxy?), then your surrogate just threatens to stiff the poor sap on the tip.

Your neighbor kid left their bike in the middle of the street. blocking your driveway again? No problem! Your surrogate will gleefully pick a fight with the snot-nosed punk's ex-Army ranger father, and no matter how much of a beating he takes or how bad he looks for picking on the family of a veteran, will never back down!

And the whole time *you* remain clearly (and safely!) "above the fray."

Lastly, your surrogate can help you with those ticklish professional situations and handling potentially ugly confrontations for you:

"WWE's in town tonight, and Brian rightly considers pro wrestling America's sport. He's got ringside seats and realistically this is likely his best chance to realize his life-long dream of breaking a folding chair over Randy Orton's head, so there's just NO WAY he can work late for you tonight, Jim..."

And of course there's always the potential for an exchange along these lines....

PUBLISHER'S REP: "Well, clearly Brian's sales numbers on that last book don't qualify him for royalties–"

SURROGATE: "Says who?"

PUBLISHER'S REP: "–so we'll just–ummm excuse me?"

SURROGATE: "Says who?"

PUBLISHER's REP: "Ummm the sales data?"

SURROGATE: "Which sales data?"

PUBLISHER'S REP: "All of it?"

Could be just the beginning of a new era, folks....


  1. Clearly an idea with legs, and one that might solve the unemployment and/or immigration problem. Or, we could follow the brave example of the Japanese, and use robots! Star Trek lives!

  2. It's amazing how (apparently) effective it is with a distressingly large portion of the populace to simply deny facts when presented with them. What can you do in the face of something like that? And the surrogates you're talking about seem to be masters of the tactic of denial -- and what psychologists call gaslighting. It's downright creepy: an entire subculture of political leadership based on a model of abuse behavior.

  3. Very clever, worthy of Voltaire and Chaucer. But you said something worthwhile, which violates the rules, doesn't it?

  4. I enjoyed your post, Brian--very clever. I'll admit I sometimes feel some sympathy for the surrogates these days--the contortions they have to go through can't always be easy, and can't always feel good. I wonder if sometimes, after a mini-debate on CNN or some such place, the two surrogates head for a bar and buy each other good, stiff drinks.


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