Brian Firenzi is a screenwriter by day and comedy video maker by night. He wants his tombstone to read “Free Candy Inside.” He made the following video, “Sarah Palin for President 2012.”

12th Street: Whose voice is that in the video?

Brian Firenzi: It’s mine—trying to do my best Sam Elliot impersonation.

12th Street: Why did you make the video?

Brian Firenzi: It’s pretty clear to me that Palin has her eyes set on the presidency, so I asked myself what would her platform run on. What identity would they pick to shape her policies? The first thing that came to mind was the Mother Figure—a smug, traditionally above-reproach matriarch who is right when she’s wrong; the source of all your anger, happiness, sadness; and, as Freud would interject, pent-up sexual frustration. How are you going to reject Palin, really, when “she” spent eight hours in labor for you?

12th Street: What went into making it?

Brian Firenzi: It wasn’t difficult to come up with a series of short, metaphorical vignettes that didn’t actually involve Palin, yet would be (hypothetically) indicative of her strong will, homespun wisdom, and immovable sense of right and wrong as a mother. I guess you could say that by proxy, my ad inadvertently painted the Democratic Congress as a spoiled child in need of a good spanking—an image small-government conservatives probably think fondly of.

12th Street: Would you elaborate on what you mean by “spoiled” and “small-government conservatives”?

Brian Firenzi: By “small-government conservatives,” I refer to the section of people who think it’s the Democratic-controlled congress’ fault for getting us into this economic crisis—claiming Bush vocally pushed for reform over and over, blaming Pelosi, Herb & Marion Sandler, etc. By painting Palin as a Mother Figure in these ads, I think I’m making the Democrats look like children.

12th Street: Are they like children?

Brian Firenzi: No, I don’t think so. But if I were serious about these ads, I bet I might.

12th Street: What kind of response did you get?

Brian Firenzi: On YouTube, some of the subscribers that I already get from my 5-second Film Series generally liked the Palin ads, whereas, when it got featured on the prominent comedy website Cracked.com, the reaction was far more mixed and interesting.

12th Street: Will you do more if she runs in 2012?  And do you honestly think it will happen?

Brian Firenzi: I may do some more Palin 2012 ads if time on my other projects (and of course, work) permits. It all depends on if I stumble across a funny story or hook that would be great. I have this fantasy of Palin disappearing into the Alaskan wilderness after the elections and never returning, but that won’t be happening. More likely, she’ll remain a minor tabloid fixture, do some PR image reshaping and become a New York senator. And if I’m the only one who’s made a Sarah Palin parody video, I’m clearly living in an alternate dimension where nobody can tell what’s funny.

Brian Firenzi, 23, graduated from the University of Southern California for Screenwriting. He is the co-creator of 5secondfilms.com, a short-form comedy website. Firenzi currently edits promos for daytime TV shows in Hollywood.

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Some of you may know that my title comes from the 1976 film Network. The movie exposes the media’s failure to report how Americans really feel during times of war and upheaval and what they did about it: They got honest. In that spirit, this piece is about honesty.

Like Campbell Brown, I too have had it. I have had it with people like Elizabeth Hasselbeck telling me that questioning Sarah Palin is “deliberately sexist.” Recently, at a Republican rally in Tampa, Florida, Hasselbeck said, “The questioning of Governor Palin’s shopping spree was deliberately sexist.” I disagree.

In fact, I challenge Hasselbeck. When a presidential candidate is running on a ticket advocating reform of government spending, yet approves $150,000 to clothe and paint his VP nominee, how can we trust him? What does reporting a $150k shopping spree have to do with sexism, anyway? Wasn’t Senator John Edwards called out for spending $400 on haircuts? Was that sexist?

Why is it every time a pundit or reporter questions Sarah Palin’s designer clothes or anything, it’s suddenly sexist? Even Elaine Lafferty, the former editor in chief of Ms. magazine, and a faithful Democrat (she claims)—who’s now consulting for the McCain campaign—blogged on Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast that she is tired of the Democratic Party taking women for granted. I suppose Lafferty hasn’t met the thousands of Democrats that I know who support, appreciate and approve of a woman as a leader, but not just any woman. Rather, an intelligent woman.

So I question Palin’s intelligence. If she claims to be in touch with the international community, even if only through reading newspapers and magazines, then why does she foolishly say “I can see Russia from my house” when asked about international affairs? Can one honestly say that’s an intelligent answer? If so, then what is intelligent? I don’t know.

No matter how intelligent Palin may or may not be—and let’s have a healthy debate here at 12th Street on intelligence—I am skeptical of her ability, and as mad as hell about it.

My interview for this week fell through so I thought I would just touch on a few issues that have recently been making my hairline recede even more than it already had before this election process started.

Joe vs. His Own Ambition

On the final presidential debate on Wednesday, “Joe the Plumber” (Joe Wurzelbacher) dominated a lot of the conversation, and he unwittingly became the new symbol for the working-class American. Joe is getting ready to buy a business that could make him $250,000 to $280,000 a year. He straddles the fence that divides Obama’s economic plan and McCain’s, and depending on how he does in the future Joe could end up being taxed more under an Obama administration. But the same can also be said for McCain’s tax plan, too.

So I figured it out, Joe. If you plan on doing insanely well, and I mean becoming the next Roto-Rooter, then go ahead and vote for McCain, because you’ll get a sweet tax cut, and there’s nothing wrong with shooting for the stars. I believe you can plumb the hell out of America. But keep in mind that your hometown of Holland, Ohio, has a population of 1,306 and a median household income of $45,000, so when and if you do make over $250,000 this next coming fiscal year, remember that your neighbors might not be as fortunate and that “spreading the wealth” helps more than it hurts. Not spreading the wealth is what’s currently killing our economic livelihood. You’re actually fortunate if you stand to make that much money in the coming year. I’ve never even heard of a plumber making that much, so good for you, pal. And let’s say Barack Obama becomes president and Wurzelbacher Plumbing, or whatever you might call it, does well. Paying higher taxes isn’t going to put you in the poorhouse, buddy.

The Uninformed

The last two presidential elections have given rise to a new type of American voter. The Uninformed: People who vote against their economic self-interest and vote for moral and religious reasons rather than political issues. It’s been going on for years, but in this election a major issue with The Uninformed is, of course, race. In a recent article in The New Yorker, a retired state employee from eastern Kentucky was quoted as saying, “I really don’t want an African-American as president. I think he would put too many minorities in positions over the white race. That’s my opinion.” And you are entitled to it, but disregarding your economic status and voting for someone who doesn’t have your best interest in mind is just plain ignorant. It seems people in low-income, white, working-class sections of the rust belt would rather vote for Republicans, who according to the Tax Policy Center will make favorable tax cuts for people who make $112,000 and up. With how things stand currently, it doesn’t matter if they vote for John McCain because Barack Obama has a solid lead in the national polls, and hopefully they will see that his tax plan will actually help them. So to The Uninformed I say shake out a newspaper, crack a book, get on the damn Internet for Christ’s sake and inform yourselves. Consider it your MORAL obligation to SERVE YOUR COUNTRY by finding out whose ideas will benefit you and your family.

Intellectuals and The Elite

It seems in the last year or so, a term used to describe the kind of people who write for 12thstreetonline (and for the print version of 12th Street) has been turned into a bad word. Being an intellectual in today’s world has become somewhat of an epidemic that apparently is hurting America. It’s as if people who denounce intellectualism want to live a life of destitution in which they wander around stupid and drooling all day long. I think people would want someone running the country that is smarter then they are. Intellectualism is part of the American tradition. That’s why we have the best higher education institutions in the world. And the same could be said about elitism. The presidency is an elite office that used to take an elite person to hold it. John McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy—an extremely elite and highly competitive institution. According to U.S. News and World Report‘s America’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges list, it currently ranks 22nd in the nation out of four tiers consisting of 100 schools in each tier. John McCain is elite. Barack Obama went to Columbia and Harvard, ranked #9 and #1, respectively. He, too, is elite. Hell, even Sarah Palin is elitist: She’s a governor, a very elite position. People who are running for the highest offices in the land are elite. They’re not always intellectuals, but they are elite.

“I’m not a Washington insider.” —Every Politician Who Ran for President in the Last 20 Years

Both candidates claim they are Washington outsiders who will reform the corruption inside the Beltway. Both are also United States senators who, in order to do their jobs, have to be Washington insiders. So in this instance they are both wrong. The only person in this whole political rigamarole who isn’t a Washington insider is Sarah Palin, and she is considered an extreme outsider, having no experience in Washington—or really anywhere else, for that matter.

I’m not an expert by any means, so please feel free to disregard everything I have said. It’s your right as an American to tell me shove it, but I feel its our duty within the democratic process to inform ourselves on the issues. Be smart on November 4.