Basil Marceaux Stars In Bizarre Gubernatorial Debate (VIDEO)

08/05/2010 02:43 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

If you happen to have any interest at all in the extraordinarily strange, yet oddly compelling candidacy of Basil Marceaux -- long-shot hopeful for the Tennessee Gubernatorial race -- let me recommend you click over to Nashville Scene's "Pith In The Wind" blog. There, Jack Silverman runs down the goings-on at a debate, staged by the Marceaux campaign, featuring a pair of additional fringe candidates: "creepy, racist and terrifyingly xenophobic" independent candidate June Griffin, and "well-meaning leftie of the longhaired variety" Howard Switzer, repping the Green Party.

Silverman stacks his article with all sorts of video highlights, leading off with this instant classic, where Marceaux refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag festooned with gold fringe. Marceaux has exacting standards for flags, and he will not compromise. (It's a pity, though, because "local wrestler Josephus the Shelby Street Brawler" does a fine job reciting the pledge.)


Silverman says that Marceaux is "surprisingly likable in person." By contrast, Griffin is a despicable lunatic who believes in ornate conspiracy theories and a boundless hatred for Native Americans. (Switzer, according to Silverman, is a reliable "straight man" to the antics of the other two.)

Behind the scenes, however, Silverman sees the work of pranksters:

It's hard to tell if Marceaux campaign coordinator, James Crenshaw, and the two or three other Marceaux people present have any real political sympathy with Marceaux, or if they are pranksters who spotted an opportunity to make a documentary on Tennessee's gubernatorial Internet meme. None of them seem to have been with Marceaux for long (one guy for a couple of weeks, one for a month or so), they set up this debate, and they had three video cameras running the whole time.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Silverman's right about this. In fact, it seems to me that in this day and age, this sort of "exploitation comedy" candidacy is inevitable.

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