"............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)