By Karis Hustad, Sophomore, Loyola University Chicago
@MayorEmanuel has arguably been the real star of the Chicago mayoral elections. With a special love for the F-bomb and a habit of wreacking havoc across Chicago, the Twitter account of Rahm Emanuel's fictional alter ego had over 39,000 tweeters following his hilarious post-modern romp through election season.
Obviously, the real Rahm Emanuel (with only 11,000 followers) wasn't thrilled about this account and offered $5,000 to the person behind @MayorEmanuel to reveal his identity and stop tweeting.
But the identity of @MayorEmanuel was kept very carefully hidden. Until now.
Alexis Madrigal, Senior Editor of the Atlantic Monthly, did an in-depth interview and story on the tweeter behind the account and the phenomenon it became. @MayorEmanuel's identity is both surprising and appropriate. (Read More to find out who!)
The man behind @MayorEmanuel? Dan Sinker.
Surprising? Yes. @MayorEmanuel was such a strong voice, many forgot there was a real person behind it. In fact, not only did it add a colorful voice to the debates, it added what some saw as legitimate commentary: sometimes people mistook the account for the actual voice of Emanuel.
Appropriate? Yes. Sinker's journalistic resume proves he was the man to bring forth this new twist on political satire. According to Madrigal's article, Skinner is the founder of the now-discontinued Punk Planet, a magazine devoted to the lifestyle and mindset of punk. Once that endeavor ended, he received a Knight Fellowship in Journalism from Stanford University which he used to study how to deliver news in a largely mobile-device dictated world. After, he became a professor at Columbia College Chicago. Not only was Sinker well versed in writing with an antagonistic edge, he was a brilliant journalist with a background in new media and teaching.
How awesome is that?
As a journalism student in Chicago, this only solidifies the fact that Chicago is the BEST PLACE to study journalism. Where else could you have a professor that is secretly behind a Twitter account that is redefining political commentary, satire and literature, not to mention influencing one of the most important mayoral elections in the country?
Sinker's tweets started as hilarious counter-commentary. In fact, @Mayor Emanuel became so synonymous with the election that it almost became a political commentator of sorts, adding an alternate, profanity-laden perspective to the consistently cool demeanor of the non-virtual Rahm Emanuel. Though this will kill my journalism professors to hear, when I wanted to see how the race was going, I would first check in with @MayorEmanuel. How did I know that Emanuel was likely to be the victor?
February 22nd, @MayorEmanuel: CNN F(***)ING CALLS IT, BITCHES.
By the end of the election, however, it had turned into a post-modern epic ending in @MayorEmanuel's realization that there can only be one Mayor Emanuel and his disappearance into the "time-vortex". The lines between social media, commentary, satire, politics and literature had blurred. When was the last time you read a Twitter feed with a plot and character arc?
Some may call it a perversion of political commentary and a distraction from the real candidate. Others may call it the most innovative political satire to date. And me?
I call it f***ing awesome.
Please read Alexi Madrigal's entire article HERE.
What was your favorite @MayorEmanuel tweet? Do you think this was genius satire or a harmless 140 character romp? Do you totally want Dan Skinner as your journalism professor? Let us know! Comment and we'll comment back.