Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gidget Goes Washington

"............Hey, what's so tough about running the country?............"

For better or worse - probably worse - we live in a celebrity-conscious country with a particular communal, unhealthy weakness for Movie Stars.

Our obsessions are dictated by a media which force feed us a controlled diet restricted to one personality, usually to the exclusion of others.

Case in Point: Twenty years ago, Tom Cruise was the Chosen One, singled out from among an auspicious group of young actors, many of them much more accomplished than Cruise. Today, it's Shia LaBeouf, whose exact appeal actually confounds me even more than Cruise's.

The process has to be relentless because the public, way too easily distracted, eventually gets bored. But you also run the risk of overkill.

All of this is in preamble to commenting on the state of politics in general and the current election in particular, a situation wherein the power of "personality" has somehow managed to trump important issues.

Less than two weeks ago, opinion-makers were preoccupied with the impossible chic of Barak Obama. Now, we have a popular new flavor - one Sarah Palin - popular at least with the scoop-driven media.

To be perfectly honest, I really have no idea at all what the public actually thinks of Sarah Palin - does anyone? - only what the pervasive, intrusive, repetitive pundits/opportunists at CNN, MSNBC and Fox News have to say.

Right now, she's being marketed to a fare-thee-well - like a movie star. Her party has shrewdly given her an exclusive air, making it about as difficult for the press to get to her as, say, Angelina Jolie. Two weeks ago, very few people even knew who she was; now she's on the cover of Time.

And she already has her own action figure. The machine seems to be moving faster than ususal.

A Star Is Born. Overnight.

The question is, will the public permit itself to be manipulated by the media noisemakers once again, follow suit on cue and obediently, and eagerly, queue up at the box office - er, I mean voting booth?

Only time will tell, but for what it's worth, I purposely avoided using a shot of Palin here because, frankly, she already bores me. Overkill.

(Artwork: Sandra Dee, left, Mary LaRoche and Arthur O'Connell as Sarah and The McCains)

12 comments:

susan h said...

So true. Yet one must give credit to the GOP for understanding that the American public generally chooses form over substance. Personally, I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that McCain was irresponsible in naming her his running mate. God forbid--what if something does happen to him and she's in place???

joe baltake said...

I seriously doubt if McCain actually selected her. I've a hunch that Palin in the result of an extensive, nation-wide search by a very savvy strategist.

Carlye said...

You're right. The public really hasn't weighed in on this, except for a few quick, fleeting man-on-the-street type interviews on the news shows. In fact, the only comments that I've heard from people around me is that she's scary. All we get is the media's hyping of her and only because the media considers her to be good TV.

Claire said...

Loved the piece; just the perfect combination of the state of the union and a reflection your feelings, with just enough wit and sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

This pure sexism!!!

joe baltake said...

Of course it is. So?

Jeff B. said...

I agree. I don't sense that the public is taken with her - not yet. It's the media that's doing cartwheels because she's such a good story. She came on so strong that she's nearly a parody of herself. I really don't know what SNL can do to top what she's already done herself. I mean, mooseburgers! A kid named Willow!

Benjamin Hudson said...

I keep reading that Sarah Palin has "energized" the campaign in general and the Republican party in particularly. It seems to me that the only thing she's energized is the media. I agree. I hear no one but the pundits and commentators talking about her.

j. kaiser said...

Could be a lot worse. Could be Dan Quayle.

Sarah said...

Hi there, came across this blog while googling myself,
and I love that you used a picture of Sandra Dee for me. I just love her movies and after reading more of your blog I would love to invite you, Mr. Baltake, up to Alaska for our next Moose Hunt. We could hunt moose by day and discuss Sandra Dee movies over S'mores at night.

joe baltake said...

Wait. Are the S'mores coming out of my taxes?

sarah said...

If you live in Alaska, yes. Otherwise, no.