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Bad Traffic

If one needs a metaphor for the narrow choices being offered across the nation, perhaps this will suffice.

Steven Rubio

Tuesday, November 03 1998, 6:03 PM

I write these words on Election Day in the United States. If one needs a metaphor for the narrow choices being offered across the nation, perhaps this will suffice. Yesterday I stopped to talk with a friend representing Democrats on the Cal campus. In order to draw folks' attention to their handouts and election-advice pamphlets, my friend was offering to let passersby throw waterballoons at him as he wore one of a variety of Halloween masks of various politicians. The cost was $1, about which my friend said, "we split the profits." Before I had a chance to ask with whom he was splitting the money, he pointed to the table next to him, where Cal Republicans had set up their own election center, with their own Halloween masks. Despite their differences, and they claimed to have many, Democrats and Republicans came together under the profit motive, then wondered why I was "wasting" my vote on Green Party candidates.

Meanwhile, Bad Subjects rolls on, with Issue #40, "Traffic," now available here on the Bad Website. Sex workers, chemical and biological weapons, Vancouver B.C., Burger King, undergraduate teaching, minefields of love, cars, buses, subway trains, "art traffic signals" and the great American freeway, all part of the Traffic issue. Bad veterans Peter Ives, Jonathan Sterne, Joel Schalit, John Brady, Megan Shaw and Mike Mosher are joined by an array of writers making their first contribution to Bad Subjects: Gretchen Soderlund and Emma Grant, Dan McGee, Hsuan L. Hsu, and Rick Prelinger.

These initial pieces by our newly-Bad writers continue our attempt to expand the Bad universe. In line with this, we are always on the lookout for essays for Bad Subjects. Please submit! And we need more than essays, as a look around the revamped website will show. We have added some new material to our reviews section, and welcome submissions here as well.

Finally, check out the "Still Bad" area for highlights from the Bad Past. In honor of the Traffic issue, we've added a link to an essay from 1995 by Joel Schalit on the Information Superhighway as it appeared four years ago. There's also a link to an essay by Charlie Bertsch on Bill Clinton that appeared in the second issue of Bad Subjects, food for thought as voters cast their ballots across the States.

We invite you to join us and participate in the Bad Subjects project. Remember that you can retrieve Bad Subjects in Acrobat format, so you can print out a perfect copy of our paper edition and pass it on to friends who are not online.

Copyright © 1998 by Steven Rubio. All rights reserved.