If youâ€™re a late-thirty-something like me, youâ€™ve spent the last ten years bewildered by â€œemo,â€ a youth movement celebrating histrionic displays of emotion, skinny jeans, and hair that looks like it was put on backwards.
Iâ€™m no emo expert, but Iâ€™m pretty sure 49-year-old Republican governors from South Carolina are not its core demographic.
However, as a great man once said, the arc of history is long â€¦ but it bends towards Dashboard Confessional.
Emoâ€™s moment has arrived.
If Barack Obama is Americaâ€™s first nerd president, surely Mark Sanford is Americaâ€™s first emo governor.
EXHIBIT 1: The scandal. Sanford had an affair with a â€œdear, dear friendâ€ in Argentina with whom he emailed/texted about emotions and relationships. In his own words: â€œWe swapped e-mails, whatever â€¦â€ PURE EMO!
EXHIBIT 2: The press conference. In contrast to most politiciansâ€™ revelations of infidelity — which unfurl with a defensive, android predictability — Sanford explored the deepest emotional caves of his being with a teary-eyed grandeur. That he undertook this psychosexual spelunking on live television is pure emo. I raise my lighter to him.
EXHIBIT 3: His vocabulary. Listen to these lines from his press conference; they could only come from the mouth of a man steeped in the proud institutions and noble traditions of emo:
â€œFrom a heart level, there was something real ….â€
–This is basically the First Law of Emo. Sanford gets it. He lives it.
â€œThe biggest self of self is, indeed, self …â€
–My understanding is that this is what 90% of My Chemical Romance lyrics are like.
â€œThe odyssey that weâ€™re all on in life is with regard to heart â€¦â€
–I guarantee a suburban kid has already thought, â€œHey, that would look pretty good carved into my arm.â€
The emotional high/low/head-exploding-point of the press conference was when Sanford admitted to having spent five days crying in Argentina, which is the most emo thing anyone has ever done in all of history. (By the way, â€œFive Days Cryingâ€ is a great name for an emo band, as is another phrase from Sanfordâ€™s press conference: â€œZone of Protectiveness.â€)
EXHIBIT 4: His emails. Basic human decency prevents me from quoting Sanfordâ€™s private emails; rest assured they are more emo than Robert Smithâ€™s eyeliner.
EXHIBIT 5: His band. During his press conference, Sanford referred to his participation in â€œC Streetâ€ with a â€œspiritual giantâ€ named Cubby Culbertson. I assume C Street is Sanfordâ€™s emo band (he looks like a rhythm guitarist) and that Cubby Culbertson is the bandâ€™s roadie. (The Fifth Law of Rock states that itâ€™s impossible for a â€œgiantâ€ named Cubby to not be a roadie.)
EXHIBIT 6: The subtext. Sanfordâ€™s entire press conference was basically a cover version of this proto-emo classic.
Face it: The man is a living, breathing preview of the Pete Wentz administration.