Award-winning left-wing humorist and former National Lampoon editor, Steve Brykman, has infiltrated the Republican Party, working as a UX Designer & Strategist at Mitt Romney's Boston headquarters. For the hilarious inside story on one of the most insane, error-prone presidential campaigns in recent history, keep reading I'm with Mitt: Adventures in Amercia! Coming soon to a bookstore or eBook reader near you, assuming someone out there possesses the gumption to publish it.
Disclaimer: this blog will not be dictated by fact-checkers.
VIII. Brykman is bonafide
Wednesday - May 23
It's official, folks! I was just issued my entry badge, complete with retractable elastic belt clip. Little old Jewie-B now has 24/7 access to the Romney Campaign Headquarters. Infiltration Complete. If you could look at me now, you'd see I'm maniacally wringing my hands together, going, "Mwah ha ha haaaaa."
I was asked to provide UI (user interface) improvement suggestions for a new Romney iPhone app that's going to be launched soon. I installed the app on my phone and the only thing wrong with it was -- everything. It was horrible. First off, it looked like it was designed by a 5th grader. It's buggy, the interface is crap, and it doesn't do anything except let you stick an unimpressive Romney-themed overlay on one of your pictures and then Email, Facebook or Tweet it.
While I was happy to tell my boss the app looked great and let it go at that, I didn't. Let me back-up for a second. A lot of my friends have asked if I'm planning on sabotaging the campaign, by -- I don't know -- messing up the website somehow. The answer is no, I'm not. Despite that my own personal politics are diametrically opposed to nearly everything this extra-conservative conservative party stands for, I will do my job the best I can. Even the Republicans deserve a great user-experience.
I tried to act like I was really disappointed, genuinely concerned the app would hurt the campaign. Which it would. The message this app is going to send is: Romney wants everyone to think he's up on all the latest technologies, but when it comes right down to it, everything's crap--not even style and no substance. We're talking no style and no substance.
I submitted a catalog of all the app's flaws along with my suggestions for an improved UI, but to no avail. My boss said that for whatever reason, the aforementioned higher-ups have decided the launch of this app is critical, that it must happen on this particular date, and that any delay would be unacceptable. But of course what they're forgetting is the fact that everyone's going to download the App on day one -- when the big PR push happens -- and they're all going to say, "That's it?" This is what all the fuss was about? This is the best Romney can do?" Then they'll all delete the app and leave an irate review on iTunes. End of story.
It turns out the public's response to the app was far, far worse than I ever could have imagined. Downright infamous, in fact.
Thursday - May 24
Maybe it's just me, but not only does it seem as if a few of the dudes working here are gay, but rather that they're all gay! With maybe a few exceptions (the homeless cowboy, for instance). My Jewdar is disturbingly silent, but my Gaydar is off the charts. Not to generalize (which of course I'm about to do), but all the dudes here are physically fit, soft-spoken, well-groomed, and unsettlingly fashionable. Yet another way in which I feel out of place: my own middle-aged mop a greying haypile, my gut bloated with Narragansett and saturated fats, my second-hand outfit bought on clearance from the Salvation Army.Lots of buzz this afternoon, the Secret Service circling like buzzards. Nothing but dark suits and ties. And then the news: the Gov is coming in for a big photo shoot! They did the filming like ten feet from my desk, in the lobby -- a room that ordinarily resembles the abused study-hall of a State College dorm. But hang a big blue stage curtain and stick a couple of flags in there and it looks like...a college dorm with a curtain and some flags up in it. But look at it on TV and suddenly it's the fucking White House.
before (the World's Worst Office)
after (the Oval Office)
And maybe I'm just being pouty and bitter, but seriously, if he doesn't care to meet his own staff, how much is he going to care for the rest of the country? I mean, come on, the only reason any of us are here is so he can get a better job!
"Typical foreigner, trying to avoid our tax system..."
Friday - May 25
There's one dude here -- mid-50s, shock of white hair -- who as far as I can tell does nothing but angrily pace around the floor for hours. Just like the black dude who I'm convinced they pay to walk the halls looking as black as possible -- this dude's job must be to walk around yelling at people. I have yet to see him do anything else. He does not acknowledge my presence, not even when he is about to trample me as I'm walking back to my desk, gingerly holding a freshly-microwaved Amy's Veggie-Loaf, as was the case today. Angry dude was on his way to the bathroom, presumably to do another line of coke (though of course this is just speculation). It could just as easily have been crystal meth.
Monday - May 28 - Memorial Day
While most Americans were outside enjoying a parade and honoring our nation's fallen heroes, the RFP staff were here, in their seats, myself included. We had been "asked" to work on Memorial Day, which makes one (me) call into question the Gov's priorities, taking us away from our families on what is meant to be one of the most patriotic days of the year.
And yet, over the course of a single lunch I returned to discover I missed the following:
1. a full-staff meeting wherein everyone was introduced to everyone else and which I'm told was full of pithy (albeit wrong) right-wing declarations like "We may not be able to match Obama's numbers, but we will match his intensity!"
2. (this one is particularly devastating) Steve Martin, my childhood hero, played an impromptu bluegrass concert outside the Paul Revere house, a mere quarter-mile from here. Had I only known, I would have worn my washboard tie! This makes the second time I will have missed Mr. Martin, the first being the time I spied him at that Cheese Shop in Beverly Hills (I believe the name of it was "The Cheese Shop"), but was just too scared to approach. After all, I thought, Who the hell wants to be disturbed by some diminutive Hebrew when they're enjoying a fine Camembert?
A real Memorial Day to remember.
Stay tuned for the next Error-Prone installment of Steve Brykman's 'I'm with Mitt: Adventures in Amercia!' Coming soon!