George Washington once said he never told a lie. Abraham Lincoln eloquently addressed, "With malice toward none, with charity toward all." John F. Kennedy once exhorted, "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country." Basil Marceaux once stoically exclaimed, “Vote for me and I will immune you from all state crimes for the rest of you [sic] life.” Wait, what?
It all started on WSMV-Nashville earlier in July, as an evening news segment for the Tennessee GOP governor’s race prepared to introduce the runners. The nervous co-host explained, "We have given all five candidates from the two major parties time during our news to let you know where they stand,in their own words, about the topics of their choosing." We very soon realized just why he was so uneasy.
Enter Basil Marceaux, the anxious, unintelligible, and potentially drunk oaf who spoke his initiatives with the poise and authority of an American janitor giving a public speech on rocket science in Japan. The insane and adorable ramblings of this GOP forgotten dark horse swept the internet like he was somebody far more qualified and far less incoherent, with millions of views on YouTube alone in the following weeks of his campaign. With local coverage costing his rivals valued campaign dollars, Marceaux was thrust under the national limelight for free, thanks to becoming the internet’s next glorified voice, or judging from his videos, lack there of.
Stage fright? Misspoken orator? Illiterate flake? No one really knows for sure, but what is known is that his appearance sparked a viral infatuation with the former Vietnam Recon vet, proving that literally anyone can go to bed a stranger and wake up a worldwide internet phenomenon. YouTube is synonymous with being the breeding ground for obscure people and their 15 minutes of fame, and people like Marceaux constantly prove just how vital a resource internet media can be, for the recognizable and forgettable alike.
OK Go’s “Here it Goes Again” music video, a home-made tape featuring a dance routine choreographed on treadmills, transformed the band into a household name after its over 50 million views, and has risen to the 47th most viewed video of all-time.
After Stephen Colbert defined “testicular fortitude” with his address at the 2006 White House Correspondent’s Association Dinner, ratings of the The Colbert Report rose 37% in the following weeks, helping the show reach the apex it presently resides at today.
The flamboyant Chris Crocker's “Leave Britney alone!” video, which depicted a visible train wreck of a human being crying under a bed sheet in response to public scrutiny of Britney Spears, became late-night satire for months after its September 2007 release. It is currently the eighth most commented on video in the history of the site.
Lonelygirl15, a secluded teen who escaped to her webcam, made friends all across the world who tuned in to connect with the day-to-day banter of her videoblogs. It was later discovered that Lonelygirl15 was a paid actress and the videos were actually scripted by a production company, all in an effort to draw in a fanbase to a complex story they had been developing. She wasn’t all that alone after all, fading away into the annals of internet videos with over 110 million views after the final episode aired in August 2008.
Marceaux is no different from the aforementioned. His videos were featured on The Soup and The Colbert Report, met with unavoidable cynicism and uncontrollable laughter from the millions of viewers—myself included—who would have ordinarily never gotten the chance to realize this lovable goof exists. He even made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live to presumably discuss, in all seriousness, his campaign, a novelty at best to Kimmel and his audience after he arrived on the set with a bandaged hand he burned “cooking bad sausages.” Its idiosyncrasies like this that for a man without a campaign slogan, makes you wonder why he didn’t choose “Basil Marceaux: Is This Really Happening?”
While he lost his campaign when the results were released on Thursday (August 5), it was this national exposure that had proved Marceaux had already won, with an unavoidable buzz swirling around this GOP unhopeful and millions of hits on YouTube, an invaluable outlet in modern times that the other prospective candidates could have only dreamed of harnessing. While it’s not surprising Marceuax ran dead last with a meager half a percent of the polls, it is surprising that when compared to electoral rivals Tennessee congressman Zach Wamp and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey—who wanted to secede from the union and said Islam is a “cult”, respectively—Marceaux almost seems sane enough to support. Almost.
A list of his initiatives included:Mandatory gun ownership, fining people who don't possess one $10
Stopping traffic stops
Ending traffic stop slavery
No more “measuring of the waist” (this is still open to interpretation mostly because nobody can interpret it)
Judges listening to the oath
Figuring out "why Democracy invaded the U.S. State on July 16, 1866"
Planting vegetation on vacant state lots to generate ethanol to pay "expenses"
Removing gold-fringed flags
Making the flag fly right
"If you kill someone, you get murdered."