Borrowing ideas and slogans from both ends of the past century,
Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Medea Benjamin has published a political
manifesto and begun running radio ads, one of which makes fun of incumbent
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's hairstyle.
The ad about Feinstein's hair, titled ``Hair Spray'' in Benjamin's news
release, features a male announcer reading a would-be news bulletin:
``This just in from Washington. The National Oceanographic and Space
Agency reports that the hole in the ozone layer has doubled in size due to
all the hair spray used by Senator Dianne Feinstein over many, many years.''
The ad concludes with Benjamin's new slogan: ``Think different. No,
really think different. Vote Green. Vote Medea Benjamin for Senate.''
The slogan is a conscious mimic of the ad campaign used by Apple Computer
on behalf of its iMac computer.
The ``Hair Spray'' ad is one of four that will be broadcast this week on
jazz, classic rock and Top 40 radio stations in Los Angeles and the Bay
The campaign has purchased $50,000 worth of radio time for the ads, said
Akilah Monifa, Benjamin's press officer.
Kam Kuwata, Feinstein's campaign manager, rather than comment on the
content of the new ad, noted that the size of the radio buy is so small as
to be ineffective.
``It's obvious they're trying to get an article in the newspaper about
the ads, because no one's going to hear them,'' Kuwata said.
One of the other ads also takes a stab at whimsy. To the tune of the song
``Summertime,'' the ad has a woman singing, ``Voting Time. And the choice is
easy. Medea's runnin' so don't vote for DiFi.''
The third ad talks about how money is ``polluting our political system''
against an aural backdrop of tinkling coins and chiming cash registers taken
from the introduction to Pink Floyd's song ``Money.''
The fourth ad chastises Feinstein for declining to debate Benjamin.
All the ads conclude with the ``really think different'' slogan.
Benjamin aides openly admit they lifted that slogan from the Apple
campaign, just as they acknowledge they copied an idea from novelist Upton
Sinclair's 1934 campaign for governor.
Sinclair, best known as the author of the muckraking novel ``The
Jungle,'' wrote ``I, Governor,'' a treatise that promised jobs to Depression-
ravaged Californians through a huge government program.
The book by Sinclair, a lifelong socialist, became a best-seller and
spurred a grassroots movement known as EPIC -- End Poverty in California --
that propelled him to the Democratic nomination for governor.
Benjamin has written her own 50-page pamphlet, ``I, Senator, and How,
Together, We Transformed the State of California and the United States.''
The book envisions California in 2012, after a decade of progressive
leadership by Green Party officials. It can be purchased at independent
bookstores and will be sold for $2 at Green Party campaign events through
the Nov. 7 election.
The Benjamin campaign also has purchased billboards in Los Angeles and
San Francisco and print ads in alternative weekly newspapers in San
Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento.
The ads feature a photo of Benjamin with Green Party presidential
candidate Ralph Nader.
©2000 San Francisco Chronicle