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Misadventures in Journalism - A Princess For President
As a journalist working in L.A., you're bound to get your share of interesting/ridiculous phone calls. (One P.R. agent, for example, recently tried to get me to run a picture of Lindsay Lohan on her way to rehab because the actress wore a particular brand of designer hats in the picture that they were trying to promote.)
Few, however, were as strange as the call I got yesterday.
A female with a strange muffled voice asked if I wanted an exclusive interview Wednesday with a Presidential candidate. I thought it odd that Obama, McCain or even Mitt Romney would be the ones asking the press for an interview – so I inquired about who the candidate was.
Her name is a mouthful – Christina Gerasimos Billings-Elias and she lives in West Hollywood.
That was the extent of the information I was given. So I mentioned to the "campaign manager" that I'd check out the website and that she could call me back later on in the afternoon.
After a cursory glance at her website, however, I couldn't tell if this "Christina for President" thing was a semi-elaborate joke or not. Only one picture of the President-to-be is posted on the site, an old timey monochrome portrait of a pale fanged woman that could double as the cover of a bad Anne Rice meets Little House of the Prairie harlequin romance novel. And if ever a website could look like it was built in 1930, this is it – lots of American flags, inappropriately capitalized words like Justice and Honor, and gratuitous mentions of Theodore and Eleanor Roosevelt. FDR and wife allegedly even predicted that one day Christina would become first lady.
Of course, this could all be overlooked if she had some qualifications, right? Well, she admittedly has no experience in politics but since her teens has "corresponded with all heads of Foreign governments, Kings, Queens and Presidents who adore her for Fighting government corruption in America." I'm assuming she's kept in contact with them via Facebook.
But her real claim to the Presidency for "Princess Christina" (she claims a shared ancestry with a British king), is that according to her website, she is The 'Chosen One.' Not just any Chosen One, mind you, but "as proclaimed by The People's King of the Greeks Theodore Michael Gerasimos" (who apparently was the first Greek...um, in Detroit.) While most presidential candidates dodge their blue-blooded heritages to seem down-to-earth populists, Christina embraces her royal claims to the American throne. Christina also notes that her mother wrote/performed such 1940's hits as "Buy a War Bond."
I could really spend all day writing about the ridiculousness of the site, from the biography that focuses on a dog named Sparky, the video consisting of an awkward, rambling speech by one Joseph R. Lara, a lawyer who insists on his possible vice-presidency, or a hand written letter by Christina's mother that warns that Satan wants to destroy the institution of marriage.
Serious or not, I wasn't going to write a news feature on the LA Princess Who Would Be President. At least not with a straight face.
Later in the afternoon, the campaign manager called me back and asked if I wanted the interview. I respectfully declined. She began to get upset, demanding to know why Christina wasn't newsworthy. The nice guy that I am, I patiently asked her if I have could have her contact information just in case I wanted to reach her for a story.
She gave her name reluctantly - it was Christina. In other words she impersonated a nonexistant campaign advisor hoping I'd be impressed and interview her to help gain traction for the 2008 election. Truly amazing.
At any rate, according to CampaignMoney.com, Billings has officially filed with the Democratic party to run for President. She is also hosting a meet and greet event Thursday and Friday evening in West Hollywood.
Come visit and who knows, you might get a seat on her cabinet.