Monday, August 29, 2011

Camacho vs. Hoover

Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho
Served as fictional President of the United States  in the 2006 film Idiocracy
Portrayed by Terry Crews
Age Served: Crews was 38 when Idiocracy was released 

PROS: Fighting champion — Camacho is a five-time Ultimate Smackdown champion. That’s not a thing that exists now, but using deductive reasoning, it’s probably fair to say that to become a champion of the Ultimate Smackdown, you have to be pretty good at fighting. At the very least, be proficient at administering — as well as defending yourself against — smackdowns. And he’s the five-time champion, which means it wasn’t a fluke win. To put this in Wimbledon terms, this would make Camacho a Björn Borg, not a Richard Krajicek.
1996: The Wimbledon where every seeded player completely choked.
You, the naysaying reader: Yeah, but who knows when those titles were won?

True. That could have been two decades prior. Maybe he’s really let himself go since then. But, no. He’s still a bad ass. You can just ask the rehabilitation officer named Burrito Supreme (just don’t ask me to explain that previous sentence).
Oh you can’t, because President Camacho has giving Burrito Supreme a Presidential Smackdown.

Fearless — For what seems like the entire movie, Camacho is flanked by a gaggle of ladies. Even when he’s at the Rehabilitation Arena, he’s sitting in the crowd with what seems to be absolutely no security detail.
He doesn’t even care about assassination attempts.

Maybe he’s fortunate to be living in a time when people are too dumb to formulate assassination plots. Or maybe he knows no one would dare come at him.

CONS: Product of his time — Camacho is president at a time when intelligence is not valued. Anyone who uttering a complete sentence free of grammatical errors is considered a “fag.” Babies are often named after products. To me, this shows a lack of intelligence on the parents' part, though it does explain two of Camacho's middle names. A popular show of the time is Ow, My Balls, in which a guy is hit repeatedly in the groin by different objects. The #1 movie in America that year is Ass, which is simply 90 minutes of a guy’s ass. It apparently won eight Academy Awards — tying films like My Fair Lady, Gandhi and Amadeus.
Just three Oscars away from tying Titanic.
Who would the people in this world elect as president? Who else but a five-time Ultimate Smackdown champion and porn “superstar.” So basically, the future doesn’t seem to have too much of a meritocracy going for it.

This could mean that Camacho would be very easy to outsmart.

Not a problem solver — Economy in deep neglect. Though Camacho acknowledges that things aren’t going great. There was the Great Garbage Avalanche of 2505. There’s the fact that buildings are crumbling, but the only thing done to fix that is to tie them to other buildings for support. One of the biggest problems is that the crops have been failing. Part of the reason why the crops are failing is because an energy drink is being used to water them instead of actual water.
In case your thirst needs to be mutilated, which is pretty often.
Camacho’s Cabinet members make an airtight argument to continue the practice.

Well, the argument seems airtight to them, but the video shows a bigger problem: Camacho hasn’t picked a very intelligent Cabinet. And yes, you did see correctly. One of the Cabinet members is a kid. He was given the job because he won a contest.

This is made even worse by the fact that Camacho seems to be giving weight to the advice of his Cabinet members. Apparently, he can’t even come up with good ideas of his own, he has to follow the ridiculously horrible ideas of his idiot Cabinet.

So, he’ll be entering the Arena with pretty much no tactical ability whatsoever.

Herbert Hoover
31st President of the United States
Served: 1929-1933
Ages during term: 55-59

PROS: The Great Humanitarian-- Herbert Hoover's pre-Presidential resume is pretty much about two things: mining, and feeding people. Both are important-- his work as a mining engineer gave him an international presence before World War I broke out. And once said war broke out? Hoover immediately went into organizational mode, first leading a team of volunteers who helped evacuate 120,000 Americans from soon-to-be-war-torn Europe. And he wasn't done there!
He actually looks kinda mean, here. Although maybe it's just because someone squashed his hat.
Once Germany invaded Belgium, the Belgian people found themselves on the wrong end of a food shortage. Hoover rolled up his sleeves and established an organization, the Commission for Relief in Belgium, that would essentially feed the nation for the duration of the war. He also spent the war in perpetual diplomatic talks with Germany, crossing the North Sea more than forty times to ensure that the Germans wouldn't, you know, snag all the food that was supposed to be going to Belgium. At its height, the CRB had an $11 million-a-month budget, and sported its own factories, navy, and rail yards. Hoover became an international hero for his efforts.
When they start naming town squares in Belgium after you, you know you've done something right.
Once the United States officially entered the war, Hoover switched gears, but still kept within his food-related wheelhouse. He was appointed head of the U.S. Food Administration, and coined the slogan "Food will win the war." To that end, he encouraged Americans to forgo eating certain foods on certain days of the week, so that the saved food could go to U.S. troops. The plan worked, and helped prevent food rationing back in the States. And was he done when the war was over? Of course not! Hoover continued to organize food shipments overseas in the years following the war, providing famine relief not only for the Allied nations, but for Germany/Central Europe, and even Russia. The latter part caught him some heat, given that it had just gone bolshevik, but Hoover persisted, because it was the right thing to do.

Hoover's rep as a humanitarian organizer grew so great, that when large swaths of the Mississippi River flooded in 1927, the affected areas petitioned President Calvin Coolidge specifically for Hoover's aid, despite the fact that Hoover was Secretary of Commerce at the time, and that post had fuck all to do with flood relief. They knew that the man would get it done, and whaddaya know, he did!
Of course, his plan did involve child labor... Nah, just messin' with ya.
So, what does that have to do with fighting? Clearly, Hoover is good at managing logistics on a grand scale, and knows how to do so while facing hostile opposition. I'd say those are positives when facing a fight to the death.

Good health, long life-- In 1948, former President Hoover appeared at the Republican National Convention as a special guest. It was to be his "goodbye" appearance, as the unspoken thought was that he would not live to see the next convention. Lo and behold, he was still alive in 1952, so they went through the whole thing again... and again in 1956... and again in 1960.
No, they didn't bring him back for the 2008 convention, this is just C-SPAN killing time during that convention.
It would be until 1964 that Hoover finally missed a convention. Not because he was dead, of course, but because he was finally showing his age. He died a few months later of internal hemorrhaging. He was 90 years old, and the ill health that prevented his appearance in San Francisco was the first real bout of seriously poor health he had suffered. He didn't suffer a particularly sickly childhood, either, like some other presidents we could name. So one thing is clear: the dude apparently had fantastic genes.

Hoover was also clearly a survivor. Quick-- how do you outlast a survivor in a fight to the death? You don't.

CONS: Prone to Bouts of GREAT DEPRESSION-- Hoover was a major advocate of a kind of volunteerism, which called for cooperation between government and private business so that the former did not have to overly regulate the latter. While he always denounced full-on laissez-faire economic policies, he believed that government regulation was too burdensome, and that providing direct government assistance de-incentivized work. All that probably would've been well and good, except for that the absolute bottom fell out of the U.S. economy in 1929.
When the Great Depression hit, people turned to the government for help. And Hoover? Well, he sort of sat there. Okay, that's not entirely true. Hoover decided one way to help solve unemployment was to... kick out all the Mexicans who were taking U.S. jobs? That can't be right. Oh, no, it's right; from 1929-1937, Hoover directed the forced repatriation of over 500,000 Mexican nationals, never mind that many of them were legal U.S. Citizens. In the wake of the deportations, unemployment? Stayed astronomically high.
Just in case you thought blaming the Mexicans was a new idea, or something.
His next crackerjack idea was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff act. While Hoover couldn't take credit for the fantastic name, he could take credit for his 1928 campaign where he called for higher tariffs on agricultural imports (thus to make them more expensive, which would in turn make American products more appealing). Congress took him up on the idea, but Congress being Congress, they couldn't get a full bill passed by both houses until 1930. Still, the act did what it was supposed to do, raising prices on foreign goods. Unfortunately, nations around the world had been affected by the Depression by then, and these nations promptly raised their own tariffs, causing U.S. exports to plummet. International trade as a whole decreased sharply, and the Depression grew.

"I should've voted for Al Smith..."
Jesus, those were some terrible ideas. In a related story, Hoover was crushed when he ran for re-election against a man whose message was "look, we're going to actually get you out of this mess, rather than just make things worse." Battle-wise? If things start going poorly for Hoover, you've gotta wonder if he can figure out the right way out of whatever mess he finds himself in.

Also? We feel this should be mentioned-- We said before that Hoover was called in to help organize relief efforts after disastrous flooding in 1927. During that time, however, things went somewhat poorly for the African-Americans who were affected, and yes, we're saying "poorly" even against the handicap of their already living in the Jim Crow south. African-Americans were forced into camps which they were not allowed to leave, unless they were being conscripted at gun point to work as laborers. Money that was supposed to go to black sharecroppers was funneled elsewhere.
Yup, bringing these little guys back.
By this time, Hoover already had his eye on the presidency, and knew that if this got out, his aspirations could be sunk. So, he struck a deal with leaders in the black community: they would keep quiet about the various injustices they were suffering under Hoover's nose, and Hoover would make civil rights a priority of his administration.

Hoover proceeded to win the election in 1929 by courting, essentially, Southern racists. And once he was in office, he proceeded to do less for civil rights than he did to improve the economy. As a result, blacks shifted en masse to the Democratic party, an allegiance that largely remains in place to this day.
In short, Hoover's an asshole. This shouldn't really affect his standing in the Arena, but it's also well worth pointing out that in this whole affair, he managed to piss away a solid support base for his party for generations to come. That's an incredible amount of fail, right there. You can't beat someone in a fight to the death with that much fail dragging you down.

The Fight
Tony: Real contrast in styles this week. On the one side, an Ultimate Smackdown winner who is also a complete moron. On the other, a Stanford-educated engineer with no real combat experience. Step right up, folks! It's the Stoppable Force vs. the Moveable Object!

Okay, enough clap-trap. Down to business. Look Camacho may look like he has the edge here, but his opponent is no fool. All Hoover really has to do, when it comes down to it, is pull the old "look behind you!" trick a few times. Then he wallops Camacho for a bit, Camacho comes back, repeat. If Camacho had the brains to fight this tactic, maybe he wouldn't have trusted the irrigation of his nation's crops to a sports drink. I'm just saying.
Doug: Yes, the whole crop watering thing wasn't Camacho's shining moment. Complex thinking isn't his strong suit. You know what is? Fighting. Winning the Ultimate Smackdown five times probably means he's well beyond falling for that "hey, look behind you." Even if it did work, how exactly is Hoover going to "wallop" someone who is bigger than him and who is used to taking a hit? Wallop seems to be an exaggeration. He may connect, but once Camacho realizes he's been tricked, he's going to come down on Hoover. Hard.

The only way Camacho's mental ineptitude will work in Hoover's favor is that Camacho will have no idea of that nonsense Hoover pulled with African-Americans in the South. Because you know who would get filled to the brim with rage about mistreatment of African-Americans? An African-American with a short fuse. Luckily for Hoover, it's doubtful that the schools of Camacho's time would cover 20th century history with all that much care.
Facts may take a back seat in the future, as this comic predicts.
Tony: I'm guessing that the people of Camacho's time aren't smart enough to even think up the "look behind you" trick, so if Hoover deploys it, he'll have a substantial edge. And you're right-- he won't be able to score a decisive blow all at once, but if he puts enough points into his dodge skill, he'll be able to withstand Camacho's retaliatory blows with ease, then boom: more kidney shots. Those things add up quickly.

The racial point here is an important one, I think, and given that Camacho probably won't know what's up, the edge goes to Hoover. I realize the 1930s were a substantially different time, but you have to be a tremendous asshole to pull what Hoover pulled. Like, "your picture is next to the word 'asshole' in the dictionary"-level asshattery. So when he goes up against an African-American in the Arena, Hoover's gonna think to himself "Oh, I am having none of this." And then, blammo.
Doug: Your argument is based on an assumption that is as huge as it is specious. And here's why.

As people have been getting dumber, so have their forms of entertainment. Wouldn't it make sense that people would still pack arenas to watch people beat the crap out of each other? Yes, of course. It would even make sense to say that to hold the audience's attention, the fighting would have to get meaner and more ridiculous; and in order for a fighter to succeed, he would have to be extremely tough and much better at fighting. In other words, while mankind was getting dumber, fighting techniques would have advanced.

So, while I'd agree that the average person in Camacho's America would fall for "look behind you," I am going to need convincing that an experienced fighter like Camacho would as well.

I'm also going to need convincing as to how organizing a food drive for Belgium would automatically make someone able to take hits from a world-class superfighter from the future. Because that's a bigger stretch than Camacho falling for a lame trick and then losing because of it.
Tony: Now, see, I could totally get up on my high horse and bust out some ten-dollar words about why all that reality TV the kids watch these days portends the end of society. However, no one wants to read that, so I'll just point out that your theory has some holes there, bucko.

Now, you're right in that dumber people = dumber entertainment. That's why we have Jersey Shore now, and Ass later. But we're not talking about entertainment, per se, we're talking about fighting, and there's a bit of a difference. Sure, things like pro wrestling have gotten more outlandish over the years, but the core is still the same. Then, you get your MMA fighting, which is probably more analogous to Ultimate Smackdown Whatever. It actually had to get safer to get a hold in popular culture.Yes, even at a time when America was ostensibly getting dumber, MMA had to get cleaner to take off. Interesting! And that's not even considering boxing, which is a shell of its former self. My point is that you can't graph mass intelligence on the same plot as violent entertainment. Or at least, I won't let you do that without at least one Sociology degree.

Meanwhile, here's the deal about Hoover: he knows how to glad-handle hostile opposition. He knows how to pull off herculean tasks of organization. Think he's gonna lose this fight. If he's gonna let that happen, Hoover will be… *sunglasses* dammed.
YEEEEAAA— Uh-oh! Ehh, I'm sure Superman's got this one.
Doug: Unfortunately, I only have a Sociology minor, so I can tell you about Emile Durkheim and his studies with suicide, which will be of no help — like the rest of my degree — unless you count the anomic or egotistic suicide Hoover will surely consider when he learns he is to face Camacho. (NOTE: This isn't a great example of anomic or egotistic suicide, but what do you expect? I got that degree 10 years ago.)

True, the sports you mention have been Nerfed a bit in the name of safety. For example, 19 people died as a result of playing football in 1905 alone. This year, the only notable death in football I can think of was music's and that was during the Super Bowl halftime show. HEY-O! 
This technical difficulty was a pleasant distraction from the horror caused by The Black Eyed Peas.
However, somewhere between now and Camacho's 25th century, safety seems to have taken a back seat. This is apparent when you gaze at the city skyline and find crumbling buildings tied to each other to prevent complete collapse.
None of this matters, because I can't really see the relation between your point and whether or not professional fighters will start falling for the "look behind you" move.

Hoover's going to try that, but it won't work. And when things don't work, what does Hoover do? He tries them again and again until FDR runs against him and wins — or in this case, Camacho stands above him victorious.

Mister, the Arena sure couldn't use a man like Herbert Hoover again.
Those might have been the days, but maybe it's time to move on.

Comacho vs. Hoover


  1. You guys getting some sort of royalties for this?

  2. Well, shit. There goes my productivity for the afternoon.

  3. I can't help but look at this fight like the 80's nintendo game, punch out!! I feel as if Camacho is Mr. Dream/Mike Tyson: They're at the top, the best fighters, the heavy weight champions. And there's little Mac - roughly one quarter the size. Dream/Tyson can knock you out with one punch, but you quickly see how they have the same 3 or 4 moves. Given enough time, our Little Mac, aka Hoover probably can figure out his pattern and slowly, but surely knock him out (unless there's an obviously unfair referee named Mario present).