• U.S.

Arnold Gets Flunked

2 minute read
Rebecca Winters Keegan

One of the best attack ads of the fall election season was filmed in a dorm room and ends with the allegation that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger eats babies. The ad, starring two California State University at Monterey Bay students, also makes the more accurate points that Schwarzenegger raised community college tuition and cut teacher tax credits. As for baby eating? “Dude, we can’t prove that,” one student says in the skit. “Shut up, it’s an attack ad. I can say whatever I want,” his rage-filled buddy responds.

The ad is part of the Flunk Arnold contest, an initiative launched in September by the California Faculty Association, a union of professors and other employees in the CSU system. The contest invites CSU students to create their own anti-Arnold websites or 30-second videos. The winner in each category will receive a year’s tuition ($2,520), paid for by CFA members’ dues. The video that receives the most votes online will also appear as an ad in California TV markets during Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. CFA student interns, regular users of YouTube and Daily Show fans came up with the Flunk Arnold idea, says the union’s president, John Travis. “We believe our students have an interest in this election and we wanted to tap their creativity,” Travis says.

Contestants have until Oct. 18 to post their videos. A Schwarzenegger campaign spokesman points out that’s only a handful of the 400,000 CSU students. “Most college students understand Gov. Schwarzenegger has done more for them than previous administrations,” he says. Like many campaigns this year, Schwarzenegger’s has also made good use of YouTube, directing reporters to TV news clips catching his Democratic competitor Phil Angelides’ missteps.

But for the two students behind the baby eating ad, Scott Waldvogel, 19, and Brandon Siciarz, 18, the Flunk Arnold contest was a chance to reject the governor’s tuition hikes and have a little fun. “We’re basically attacking attack ads,” says Waldvogel. And that’s a cause most voters can get behind.

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