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There’s a sale on italic letters at The Mallard Group

in Peter/The Bay and the 'Burg by

Imagine, you are a political candidate still searching for a graphic identity…you’ve wavered between Times New Roman or Arial…serif or sans serif…bold or reversed-out. Oh, the decisions a candidate has to make. You never thought it was going to be this difficult when you first decided to run for office, but here you are months into your campaign and all you have is a stupid badge you bought at Office Depot. It doesn’t even have your name spelled right.

Then, like a bolt out of the blue, it hits you. “I am italic lettering! I am forward motion, right? That’s what italics symbolize, don’t they. And who is on the move? I am! I don’t care what color my logo is. I don’t care if my first name is small and my last name is big or if my first name is big and my last name is small. All I know is that…I AM ITALIC LETTERING!”

Almost immediately, you meet with the graphic designer working on your campaign. You tell her what you want to do and she is as happy as a best man at a bachelor party. She gets to work pronto, turning on her computer and launching her desktop. It seems like an eternity before she can open Photoshop, but once she is there, she begins to type in your name. She highlights the letters, then scrolls over to the key to select the italics button. But nothing happens. Your name is still in regular style. There is no forward motion to your name. In fact, your name looks like it is standing still, waiting to get beat by a candidate who has italic lettering.

The graphic designer repeats the same simple steps over and over again, hoping, pleading to push the letters in your name ever so forward. Hopped up on a venti mocha frappachino, she’s banging the mouse, cursing the keyboard, screaming “Just give me italics.”

After hours in front of the screen, your designer gives up. She offers to design your logo in full-color, but you know that costs double when it’s time to buy your yard signs. She offers to put in extra stars above the “i” in your name. You just shake your head. This is hopeless.

But wait, a bulb goes off in your head, why don’t I call my paid political consultant, (her name rhymes with Cary Pepper), the area’s longest serving political guru, and ask for her help. After several calls to her daughter-in-law go unreturned, you finally track down Cary at some church building in Clearwater. She’s meeting with Tom Cruise, so it may take a while. After three hours, Cary finally comes out to discuss your problem. “Italic letters,” she questions. “Who the hell told you to use italic letters? I told you that you needed to be white, with a red background –no questions asked.” You reply, ever so meekly, that if you do use white and red, you will be just one of nine other candidates using these colors and that you won’t stand out. “Well, Calvin Harris uses red and white and you don’t see him complaining,” Cary retorts.

Walking away from the church, you find yourself drawn to an office not far from the courthouse. The gleam of the building has you walking to it without you knowing why. Suddently, you realize you are at the law office of Fred Harmstrong, the lawyer who represents, well, everyone. A wise counselor, he takes you into his office and asks to hear your problem. You explain how you wanted to be italic lettering, but can’t seem to make the switch from regular type to an italic font.

All-knowing, Fred, tells you that there is a very simple solution. All of the italic letters have been bought by one political consulting firm. He goes to his files and pulls out a few pieces of papers, papers that appear to be handouts from various candidates. It doesn’t take you long to figure out why you can’t be italics. One political consulting firm, affectionately known as The Pond, has built a monopoly of italic lettering for its clients…

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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