When the race for mayor began many moons ago, John Tecklenburg was the one candidate who was trying his hardest to get his face out there. The problem, however, was that it was the same frikkin’ face each and every time. It didn’t matter what the event was — whether it was a joyous occasion or a more serious-minded affair — Tecklenburg’s team would send out a press release featuring their candidate’s smiling mug. I couldn’t look at him without hearing in my head, “Hidely-ho, neighborino.”

In a way it was endearing. I mean, the dude has a pleasant enough face. Heck, you might even want to call it cute, maybe even cherubic. But it was never exactly one that really rang out, “I’m a serious candidate running for the serious job of mayor of Charleston™, the No. 1 city in the world for tourists from Ohio.” Still, as superficial as that complaint is, well, it’s really just a minor quibble. 

As it turns out, Tecklenburg is a man of substance and ideas. You can just read through our lengthy “After Riley” series and see that he means business. In fact, one of the key components of his platform is that if elected mayor, the first thing he’s going to do is conduct a year-long audit of the city designed to trim the fat in municipal government — or as the men and women who currently work for the City of Charleston understand it, cut jobs.

While that type of GOP talking point might go over like gangbusters at the national and state level, it’s not exactly one that will endear him to city employees or those who depend on them to do things like eat and, I don’t know, stream “Narcos” on Netflix. (Seriously, watch “Narcos.” It’s solid.)

Now, I know that some of you are going to accuse me of being superficial here, and you’re right. I’m not going to argue with you. However, I would like to point out that my superficiality is trumped only Tecklenburg’s superficiality, that is if we’re supposed to judge a candidate by his campaign ad.

In this piece of magical realism, we’re supposed to believe that there is a world in which the name “Tecklenburg” is so alien and unwieldy that no one can pronounce it. Of course, in this bizarro world one would assume that the name “Stavrinakis” just rolls off the tongue as easy as say “Mr. Mxyzptlk,” which in this alternate reality is pronounced “Riley.” 

While T-Burg’s ad is certainly charming, the point here is that the entire premise is silly beyond belief, and no matter what Tickleburg or Tecklenfuzz or Tinkleburg does from here on out, we’re all going to remember that ad. And that ain’t good.


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