Oct 25, 2012

Presidential Politics, Social Media and Mitt Romney's Icy Golf Adventure

Ice Can be Awesome        photo credit: Kyle May via photopin cc
In many social media neighborhoods, tensions are running high this week.

With the US Presidential election down to the wire and polls indicating an ultra-close race, it's becoming increasingly difficult to stay above of the political fray.

Maintaining  a neutral stance can be particularly important for of those of us who use Twitter for business purposes.  However, strive as we may to refrain from commenting on politics, at this very visceral stage, such restraint can be difficult to practice

Live televised events... like golf tournaments, for example... are certainly more compelling when one watches with a group; exchanging ideas and opinions as the action unfolds. Twitter has proven a very effective platform for this kind of collective viewing... to the extent that each of the Presidential debates generated tens of millions of tweets as it aired.    So it should come as no surprise that numerous micro-blogging blunders  occurred when excessive zeal met bombastic bluster and some users seemed to forgot they were tweeting under the identity of their employer.

Thus far I've pretty much managed to keep my own political persuasions off of the social networks, and I fully intend to remain on the sidelines when it comes to online political opinionating.  However... there is a rather whimsical rumor involving one of the Presidential candidates that I'm admittedly curious about.   It has to do with Mitt Romney, a golf course and a big block of ice... and it may or may not include an arrest record.

On Ice   photo credit: ShaolinWorldwide via photopin cc
Typically, the legend has blossomed since it made its way to Twitter recently, however I found mentions of it going back more than a year.

Basically, it's alleged that Mitt Romney was once arrested for the following infraction: sliding down the fairways of a golf course on a big block of ice... covered in a towel?  Um... what?

I tried to imagine the perfectly-coiffed Governor taking a downhill par 5 at breakneck speed on an oversized ice cube ... with only a towel to cover his modesty.  And though the image I conjured up was extremely amusing, it made about as much sense to me as the average Fellini movie.  You see, I'm a born-and-bred New Englander,  I'd never heard of ice blocking.

Ice blocking... for my fellow Northeasterners...and others unfamiliar with the practice... is "a recreational activity in which individuals race to the bottom of a hill sitting on large blocks of ice". So says Wikipedia, before adding that, "in the United States ice blocking is thought to be regional, occurring in the West". 

Disappointingly, I also came to find out that the towel is to cover the ice block, not the person riding it.  That fact took the funniness level down a notch, but left me wondering what the aspiring Commander-in-Chief would have been charged with.  After all, fully clothed, ice blocking would seem to be a fairly benign activity, wouldn't it?

Actually, it was the choice of a golf course as his ice blocking venue that got candidate Romney into trouble.  The activity is quite damaging to turf, and consequently outlawed on most golf courses and in many parks.

Mitt Romney's ice blocking adventure supposedly took place in the mid-sixties, but details are sketchy and records are sealed, making it unlikely we'll hear much else about the story ...and I don't suppose we can count on any billionaire real estate moguls to help us out with a pledge to the Governor's favorite charity.  Oh well.  I had often sensed a bit of an aversion to golf on the Republican candidate's part, now I think I have an idea of where that an aversion might have originated.

In the end, the Romney camp might actually be wise to publicize the ice blocking incident. It seems to have softened the Governor's sometimes sanctimonious image... and earned him a new level of respect with a certain demographic.  Sounds like a political strategy to me.




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