Satire, Cats Emerge in Pro-Prop C Campaigns

Prop. C supporters are, by far, winning the game of political creativity.

With just three weeks until the 2018 midterms, Proposition C is attracting a rush of creative support in the form of satire and, well, cats.

The latest campaign hosted by The Ruby, a Mission-based collective for Bay Area women and nonbinary creatives, understands that cats tap into a crucial voter base — i.e. everyone — and leverages those furry sacks of attitude into a tool of persuasion. To flood the internet with more cat photos and support for Prop. C, owners can print out a logo designed by Helen Shewolfe Tseng that reads, “My name is _____ and I’m a cat for C!”

In case you haven’t heard, Prop. C is the local ballot measure that would add $300 million a year in revenue to address homelessness, doubling San Francisco’s current budget. It does so by imposing a roughly half percent of a gross receipts tax on businesses over $50 million — about 300 businesses total. A city report found that it is likely to reduce homelessness and the cost of emergency services while boosting health outcomes and lose 0.1% of city jobs over 20 years. 

“#CatsForC is a group of concerned San Franciscans and cats who support Prop. C: Our City, Our Home,” The Ruby campaign reads. “CatsForC believes everyone deserves a home and a bed to sleep in. To make this a reality, we must act meow!”

The campaign officially kicked off on Oct. 7, just days after a satirical tech start-up launched outside of Twitter headquarters that didn’t explicitly support Prop. C but seemed to reinforce its supporter’s arguments. In pitching a pair of tunnel vision glasses created to avoid the “discomfort of the harsh urban reality around you,” mySight calls attention to the ways we’ve ignored suffering around us.

The Awesome Foundation, a group that supplies grants for creative projects, is behind the creation and released a video depicting a man walking in city streets, disgusted — until he puts on ignorance-is-bliss blinders that “lets you see what you want to, and nothing you don’t.

“Whether it was asking for your hard-earned dollar bill, coping with destabilizing addiction or mental illness, or literally dying on the street, your peaceful morning commute was often ruined by these unpleasant encounters,” the faux commercial narrates. “Isn’t there a way to stop these things from ruining your perfect morning? Introducing mySight! A tech-forward solution to a stubborn human problem.”

But original pro-Prop. C satire credit goes to the internet-savvy prankster who bought the domain for, beating the anti-Prop. C campaign run by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. But instead of spouting arguments against the proposition, it satirized the Chamber’s perspective of prioritizing “the interests of the city’s largest corporations over the needs of our residents.”

The Chamber changed its campaign title to No Plan, No Accountability a couple weeks later but still didn’t secure a domain name before the prankster nabbed, which redirects from the initial website. 

Keep those artsy friends around, political and activist types.

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