Dave Barry

Coming to the GOP convention: Naked women! (We are not making this up)

Dave Barry

As the old saying goes, “You can’t spell ‘fun’ without using some of the letters in ‘Republican.’” So it looks like Cleveland is in for a rollicking good time, because the GOP convention is in town, and the whole gang is here!

OK, not the whole gang. A large sector of the Republican party establishment had to bow out of the convention at the last minute when it remembered that it had a haircut appointment. Currently the highest-ranking elected Republican official here is Arthur A. “Bud” Klampf, deputy vice mayor of Ant Mound, Arkansas, who is scheduled to deliver what has been billed as “a major prime-time address, assuming he can locate his dentures.”

But there will still be plenty of excitement, with the highlight expected to come Tuesday, when the Republican delegates, barring a last-minute commando assault led by George Will in a camouflage bow tie, are expected to nominate Donald J. Trump, who according to recent polls actually has a chance to defeat Hillary Clinton and become president of the United WAIT WHAT ARE YOU SERIOUS??

Oops! I allowed my mask of professional-journalism objectivity to slip there. We professional journalists are freaking out over the fact that no matter how hard we try to explain to the public that Trump is unqualified, a lot of the public keeps right on liking him and his bold vision for America consisting of whatever happens to cross his mind at a given moment. We journalists are like, “What is WRONG with you people? Why aren’t you LISTENING to us?!? We’re PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS WITH VERIFIED TWITTER ACCOUNTS!!!”

Sorry, I had to get that out of my system. Back to my objective report:

Trump has chosen as his running mate Mike “Mike” Pence, who is the governor of Illinois or Indiana or possibly Iowa — it’s definitely a flat state beginning with “I” — which means the Republicans will have a balanced ticket consisting of both a white male billionaire and a white male non-billionaire. Something for everybody!

So this week the eyeballs of the nation will be aimed squarely at Cleveland, which plans to use this opportunity to show the world that it is no longer the dull boring pathetic loser bratwurst-bloated city that for so many decades was the butt of jokes presented by standup comedians using the following template:

STANDUP COMEDIAN: Cleveland!

AUDIENCE: (Laughter.)

Well, the laugh is on you now, Mr. or Ms. Standup Comedian, because this is a new Cleveland, a Cleveland that has shed the polyester leisure suit of the past. Gone are the “bad old days” when the Cuyahoga River caught on fire. Granted, the Cuyahoga still occasionally explodes, and as recently as 2013 it robbed a convenience store. But for the most part it is under control.

And today’s Cleveland is anything but dull. It’s now an exciting world-class city, with many world-class things to see and do and eat, including:

▪ The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

▪ LeBron James.

▪ Lake Erie.

▪ Food.

▪ Lake Erie.

▪ The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The list goes on and on. So there will be plenty for the convention delegates to do here if they are stupid enough to venture outside the security perimeter. This is not recommended, because there are going to be a lot of protesters, who will be performing their traditional role of blocking streets and shouting semi-coherent slogans until everybody agrees with them.

Also apparently there will be naked women. I am not making this up. These women will be part of a “group photographic art installation” created by the well-known international artist Spencer Tunick, who became famous by — Do not try this at home — talking large groups of people into getting naked for free and then taking pictures of them. According to his website, Spencer is seeking 100 women to get naked in Cleveland and point “large mirror discs” at the convention center. The idea, as you have no doubt already surmised, is to “suggest that women are a reflection and embodiment of nature, the sun, the sky and the land.”

Rest assured that, as a trained journalist with a keen professional interest in nature, I will make every effort to cover this important story. I will also, time permitting, try to check in on the Republican convention, which is scheduled to begin Monday with the ceremonial battering of a life-size piñata shaped like Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

No, that’s a joke, I think. But there will be speeches by Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Tiffany Trump and former male underwear model Antonio Sabato Jr. Really. Also I would not be surprised to see random individuals wandering up to the podium in search of Pokémon Go characters.

So it’s going to be an exciting convention, and you can look to me this week for objective, fact-filled reports. You will be seriously disappointed, but you can look.

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