The presidential election is coming down to the “chad.” The chad, election obsessives learned this week, is the tiny tab of paper punched out when you cast your vote. The recounters in Palm Beach are examining ballots to discern whether a partially detached chad signals a clear vote for Gore or Bush. A thousand Palm Beach chad could put Al Gore in the White House.
Chadderbox saw Charlie’s Angels this weekend and was amazed to discover that Hollywood seems to have predicted the chad crisis. At the start of the movie, Dylan, the wild-girl Angel played by Drew Barrymore, finds herself in bed with a goofy boat captain named … Chad. Chad, played by MTV nuisance and Barrymore real-life love Tom Green, refers to himself as “The Chad.” When Dylan rushes off as he’s cooking her breakfast, Chad asks her why she’s leaving: “Is it The Chad?” he whines. Dylan, apparently dismayed at his weirdness, answers: “It’s The Chad.”
But Dylan returns to The Chad at the film’s climax. She and her fellow Angels borrow his boat to rescue Bosley–Charlie’s deputy–from the villain’s fortress. Dylan again abandons Chad without explanation, diving off the side of the boat. As she swims away, he yells after her, “Is it The Chad?” This time she smiles and answers, “It’s not The Chad.”
Chadderbox can only speculate about the eerie chad synergy. On first thought, it appears that Charlie’s Angels is Hollywood’s warning to Al Gore that he shouldn’t to protest too much. The movie suggests that while early on Gore may think that “It’s The Chad,” later on he will come to realize that “It’s not The Chad.” Gore, in other words, will be disappointed because the chad won’t deliver for him.
But there is a more sophisticated reading of the film. It’s obvious that Dylan symbolizes the erratic but decent American people. (Bob Dylan is the most important American artist of the past 50 years; Drew Barrymore is the quintessential wild, sweet American girl.) And Bosley, Charlie’s deputy, clearly stands for Vice President Gore. Gore, after all, is deputy to Bill “Charlie” Clinton, a charismatic, all-powerful figure with a creepy fondness for beautiful women. The Chad stands for the chad.
In Charlie’s Angels, The Chad begins as simply a weirdo–just as the chad, until this week, was an oddity. Dylan/American people wants nothing to do with The Chad. But when everything goes wrong, The Chad reveals himself as a savior. By ferrying the Angels to the fortress, The Chad enables Dylan to rescue Bosley from prison. So, declares Charlie’s Angels, the chad will help the American people to free Al Gore from his unjust imprisonment.
Correction: Sharp-eared reader Cosma Shalizi notes that what Dylan actually tells Chad at the end of the movie is: “The Chad is great,” not “It’s not The Chad.”
This makes Hollywood’s support of Gore baldly obvious. The Chad proves himself by helping Dylan/America rescue Bosley/Gore. This causes Dylan/America to conclude that “The Chad is great.” It couldn’t be clearer: Hollywood expects the chad to rescue Gore, and expects America to feel grateful to the chad for doing it.