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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gavin Newsom and Twitter: The Marriage Made in Heaven

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 11:59 AM

  • Audrey Fukuman

There are bad bets, good bets, and sure bets. The Police Officers Association will throw a lavish goodbye soirée for Heather Fong -- that's a bad bet. The infant son of Ross Mirkarimi and Venezuelan soap actress Eliana Lopez will be given an interesting name -- this is a good bet. Predicting Gavin Newsom would officially announce his gubernatorial candidacy via Twitter -- that was a sure bet.

Twitter and Candidate Gavin Newsom go together like saccharin and Diet Coke, MSG and Chinese food, or steroids and pro wrestling. The vital ingredient makes the product possible -- but you end up with something that may not be all that worthwhile. On this page we've pondered the benefit of Twitter, a service that allows people to say more and more while communicating less and less substantive information. We still can't find a beneficial purpose for Twitter -- but Newsom has amply demonstrated its usefulness.

Newsom didn't have to ramble on for 7.5 hours on YouTube for anyone paying attention to realize that he doesn't enjoy anything but one-way conversations and disdains the media (who ask all those darn questions).

Enter Twitter: The 140-character bursts from our camera-ready, high-profile mayor allow his ever-expanding legions of subscribers to engage in a false sense of intimacy with Newsom thanks to the sheer volume of Twitter messages the mayor shoots off -- when someone sends you multiple e-communications daily they either know you or want to sell you penis-enlarging drugs, right?

Of course, this being Twitter, those communications don't have to say anything. The ability to cultivate familiarity with large swaths of potential voters while not communicating anything of substance would be an asset to any politician -- but it's a Godsend for Newsom. The less folks familiar with him as only the movie star-handsome, gay marriage, green Twitter guy delve into his actual record as mayor of San Francisco -- and the current state of the city -- the better it is for him.    

One has to hope that this new frontier in superficiality will be checked by what Bush administration officials disdainfully referred to as the "reality-based community" (i.e. the truth).

We've already noted how finding Newsom in his City Hall office is getting to be a downright rarity, and the Chronicle today made the good bet that you'll be seeing less and less of the mayor in this backwoods city of ours (never mind that deficit and whatnot; you can review Gavin's YouTube speech -- he doesn't seem to mind it either).

More and more, Newsom reminds us of the striver who attends a bigwig-stocked party with his or her spouse -- and spends the entire time unabashedly schmoozing while his or her significant other boozes it up dangerously, stumbles around slurringly, and, finally, attempts to walk along the building's outer ledges while other party guests gasp in horror.

Sooner or later, someone has to tap the striver on the shoulder and say "Hey, take care of your girlfriend/boyfriend."

That striver is Newsom. The imperiled spouse is us. And, perhaps, the one who intervenes will be the common-sense voter.  

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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