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Volume 70, Issue 43, Thursday, October 21, 2004

Opinion

Not voting will be hazardous to health

Lucas Mireles
Opinion Columnist

By tuning into MTV at any point while channel surfing, you can clearly see that voting has become the issue in the past few months. Not only is it imperative that everyone from ages 18 to 30 vote, but it's to the point that they better do it or celebrities might kill them.

A new program entitled "Citizen Change" was formed earlier this year as a way to boost voter registration and interest. The Web site indicates that it is a "nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with a mission to educate, motivate and empower millions of young Americans to access their power and vote Nov. 2." 

Along with this is a flock of celebrities donning white T-shirts with the ever-so-polite motto of "Vote Or Die."

Who better to head up a political drive for the advancement of this country than, of course, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs? It's his job to inform everyone that listening to Uncle Sean John is a better-than-OK idea, and so is listening to A-List celebrities such as 50 Cent, Leonardo DiCaprio, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and Ashton Kutcher. 

"Citizen Change," or more correctly the "Vote Or Die" message, has come to the forefront through massive coverage by MTV, BET and other affiliates. It's also spreading its message using the radio waves, as well as personal appearances by the aforementioned celebrities at fund-raisers across the nation. That message being: Not only is voting something that celebrities do (when they're not basking at poolside at their multimillion dollar estates), but it is also apparently something that determines life or death. How long will it be before we see a dubbed over scene from T2 saying "Vote for me if you want to live"?

Not everyone owns his or her own Dubbed out Escalade, but people can still relate to these celebrities on a personal level by purchasing one of the many white cotton T-shirts with "Vote Or Die" printed across the front for only $30. Yes, it costs more to buy a T-shirt from a celebrity run nonprofit organization than to pay for a parking ticket at UH.

They should have a How-To section on the Web site about making one of these vastly complex "Vote Or Die" T-shirts, but that would probably be an infringement of copyright laws, as Sean John designed the T-shirt. To top it off, since this relative stroke of artistic genius has occurred, Sean John will be teaming up with other brand name clothing companies such as Ecko, Phat Farm and Rocawear to "create a line featuring distinct, hip interpretations of the campaign's message."

More high priced white cotton T-shirts to come, folks.

If acquiring one of these T-shirts is the end-all be-all of human existence, then it would probably be best to go on the site's waiting list. They are currently sold out of their prized product. The utter irony of being sold out of T-shirts bearing the only message that "Citizen Change" is portraying, when their supplier is a brand name designer owned by their most flamboyant spokesperson, boggles the mind.

The advancement of voter interest in this country is a wonderful thing and should continue, but is it worth the money to be a part of this wave of awareness with so much public relations nonsense and shameless self-promoting? What do the modern A-List celebrity and the average college student have in common? It's definitely not tax brackets, that's for sure.

If nothing else, be perceptive in the upcoming weeks to this election. Are these celebrities on TV really concerned with how the country is being run? Or is this a way to market their new clothing lines, albums, TV series, movies and whatever else can be sold to this strategic age demographic that the vast majority of the college population resides in? And for Pete's sake, vote -- or Big Brother Celebrity will kill you.

Mireles, a columnist for The Daily Cougar, 
can be reached via dccampus@mail.uh.edu

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