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Joe the Plumber versus Joe le Taxi

October 29, 2008 |  5:48 pm

John McCain's favorite talking point, Joe the Plumber, will take the next natural step in his career, evolving from contractor to … pop star. Obviously. Despite recent protestations that he doesn't like the limelight, America's newly minted everyman recently signed with a Nashville PR firm to "create new career opportunities, including a shift out of the plumbing trade into stage and studio performances," reports Politico.

While any seasoned Angeleno knows that having an agent just means you have someone who'll call in your restaurant reservations for you, it's only a matter of time before Samuel Wurzelbacher ("Love the name, babe! Change it.") bleaches his teeth, acquires the requisite arm candy (Kellie Pickler? Jessica Simpson?) and starts getting turned away from Foxtail.

What might "Joe the Plumber: The Album" sound like? If the past truly is prologue, as every pundit nowadays is so fond of saying, perhaps the story of another humble working man with dreams of musical greatness might shed light on Joe's future. His name was also Joe, but he drove a taxi and lived in France.

Before she was Johnny Depp's paramour, Vanessa Paradis was a 14-year-old ingénue following the well established path of gap-toothed, wispy-voiced French chanteuses (think: Jane Birkin). Her first single, the soft pop ditty "Joe le Taxi," tells the tale of a Parisian taxi driver who "enjoys drinking rum, has a passion for Latin music and his saxophone, and dreams of going to the Amazon." There's plenty of 1980s saxual harassment and shots of Paradis wearing an oversized, salmon-colored sweatshirt (another sign of those times) shimmying next to a taxi on a soundstage.

Would it be overreaching to say that for 11 glorious weeks in 1987, "Joe le Taxi" gave voice to the frustrated, working class dreams of an entire nation? Probably. But he's got a lot to live up to, that Joe the Plumber.

-- Elina Shatkin